Momotaro and the Island of Ogres by Stephanie Wada

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One of Japan's best-loved children's stories brought to life by the extraordinary imagery of an early nineteenth-century handscroll.

The amazing adventures of Momotaro, a boy found inside a peach and raised by an elderly couple, is one of Japan's most popular folktales. An exquisite handscroll painted by Kano Naganobu (1775-1828) contains one of the finest illustrated versions of the tale known today. The illustrations are reproduced in their entirety as the story follows Momotaro's journey to the terrifying Island of Ogres. After befriending a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, Momotaro crosses the sea with his new companions and lays siege to the demons' fearsome mountain fortress. The battle is a fierce one, but Momotaro and his friends prevail; they recover the demon's ill-gotten treasure and restore it to its rightful owners.

One of the first Japanese folktales to have been translated into English, the story of Momotaro is a delightful and lively voyage of the imagination that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. A lengthy postscript to the tale looks at the tradition of illustrated folk stories in Japan, with examples of Momotaro pictures and related imagery in various forms of art, including painting and woodblock printing. The career of the artist, Kano Naganobu, and the artistic climate in which he worked are also reviewed.

About Stephanie Wada

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Stephanie Wada is Associate Curator at the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, one of the most extensive private collections of Japanese art outside of Japan. She has taught courses in Asian art at Temple University, Parsons School of Design, Columbia University, and the City College of New York. She lives in New York City.
Published May 17, 2005 by George Braziller Inc.. 47 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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An exquisite scroll, painted in the early 18th century and now in the Spencer Collection of the New York Public Library, illustrates the story of Momotaro, the Peach Boy, retold equally exquisitely by a curator of Japanese art.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Momotaro and the Island of Ogres

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