Nankichi Niimi & Kenji Miyazawa are undoubtedly two of Japan's most highly regarded writers of fantasy fiction. Book 4 of Tales From A Japanese Dreamland contains four stories by Nankichi Niimi and one story by Kenji Miyazawa. This wonderful collection contains the following stories.
Gon the Fox
Gon is a cheeky fox that loves to play pranks on people, but one day he plays a prank that has unexpected consequences, so he decides to make amends.
Niimi wrote this story when he was only seventeen years of age, and now more than seventy years after his death it remains one of the best known and loved Japanese stories of all time.
A Story With A Message
Gon is a very lonely fox who yearns for friendship. He makes mischief because he feels left out. But everyone is capable of recognizing when they have done something wrong and turning over a new leaf, and Gon is very brave for doing so. This story emphasizes how important it is that we give mischief-makers like Gon a second chance, before it is too late.
Other stories included in this book include:
The Story of the Giant
All of the town's people are terrified of the giant because he is enormous and he is the son of that horrible old witch. But is it possible that they may have misjudged him?
Minosuke was born a poor orphan, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work he manages to carve out a business of his own and starts to rise up in the world. One day a competitor arrives that threatens to take it all away from him. A fascinating insight into the period of transition in Japan, from a country in darkness to one bathed in light.
When the Thieves Came to Hananoki Village
What could be a better hunting ground for a thief than a village where people don't even bother with proper locks? The only trouble is that these thieves have no idea what they are doing, and it is up to the boss to train them. But just when the boss appears to have made a wonderful score, the story takes an unexpected turn.
This is often referred to as one of Kenji's most famous poems, however it is actually a beautiful Buddhist prayer with universal appeal across all cultures of the world. Although he wrote this prayer while lying helpless on his deathbed, it expresses Kenji's wish to help others without concern for his own ego, and its significance has increased greatly in modern consumer-driven Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake as people pause to think about what is truly important in life.
Kenju's Forest Playground
Kenju is different from other kids his age, and he gets teased a lot. But Kenju can see things all around that others can't. One day, completely out-of-the-blue, he decides to plant seven hundred cedar trees, and those trees become something that no one ever imagined. This is a story about a boy who has an intellectual disability but still has something invaluable to offer the world if only they would bother to take notice.