@What the Japanese government wanted for children's literature around 1900 is apparent in this book. In order to create new teaching materials to meet the needs of a government advocating military reinforcement and the expansion of capitalistic economy, the Ministry of Education invited academics to enter a story contest for elementary school textbooks in 1906.
@Fourteen stories were chosen and, after editing, they were put together into this book. There is a multi-colored frontispiece in front of each story and the book is beautifully bound. A popular edition was published in the same year. "Kasaku monogatari" is a term used for the translation of "fiction" in those days.
@Most of the prizewinners were teachers. The stories were didactic, meeting the needs of the times. For example, "Keiba" ["Horse Racing"] is a story of a religious service of horse racing by which the ruling village of neighboring five villages is decided. Each village sends a boy jockey. In the final race, one boy fell from his horse into a pond, and another boy helps him, sacrificing his own victory. From 1910 to 1932 "Keiba" was regularly adopted in elementary textbooks. "Shô Enchô" ["A Little Farmer"] is a story of a boy who decides to devote his life to agriculture in his depopulated village.
@A reprint of the original was published by Holp Shuppan in 1974.