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The Forgotten Japanese: Encounters with Rural Life and Folklore

Written on December 9, 2010

From the liner notes of this newly translated book on life in rural Japan, written by Miyamoto Tsuneichi and translated by Jeffrey S. Irish:

Described by translator Jeffrey S. Irish as a man of “rare energy and practical insight,” Miyamoto Tsuneichi (1907-1981) was a leading Japanese folklorist of the mid-twentieth centruy.  In his lifetime he walked 100,000 miles along the backroads and throughout the hill and island villages of Japan, conducting interviews, taking photographs, and capturing a vanishing way of life.

Miyamoto’s descriptions of these meetings are presented here–in the villagers’ own words, in narratives, and in vignettes.

The collection is as revealing as it is now poignant.  All of these interviewees have passed on, and likely many of their villages and ways of life have disappeared or been transformed beyond recognition.  Through Miyamoto’s diligence and scholarship, their lives and the values of their culture have been preserved.

A fascinating–and essential–document for those interested in Japanese rural textiles and folk craft.  Available from Stone Bridge Press.

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  1. Comment by Joy:

    I’ve read this book – it is indeed a fantastic record of people and their lives. The author is to be commended for his insight and foresightedness in undertaking this project.

    December 9, 2010 @ 9:57 pm