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| An anthology of eighteen stories for children by Ogawa Mimei including
his most famous story of "Akai Rôsoku to Ningyo."
Ogawa began to write stories for children actively along with the flourishing of a new children's literature promoted by the foundation of the magazine Akai Tori [Red Bird] in 1918. It was also a period when he wrote novels appealing to a socialistic ideology. He entered his name as one of the founders of Japan Socialist League in 1920. Akai Rôsoku to Ningyo was published under such a situation.
The introduction is crucial for comprehending Ogawa's views on modern fairy tales. He is clearly conscious that modern fairy tales should be artistic. The title piece represents his view most clearly. It first appeared serially in a newspaper whose publication was later suspended, so the bound publication of Akai Rôsoku to Ningyo was the first occasion for the people to read the story in the complete form. In the story, the wrath of a mermaid destroys human society. In the early 1960's there was the movement of criticism against stories for children of the first half of the twentieth century, and Ogawa's fantastic story was severely criticized as unreasonable and lacking in imagination compared to Andersen's The Little Mermaid. However, it was reevaluated from the late 1960's to 1970's, and is still being read today.
Many of the stories collected in this book originally appeared in newspapers and magazines for adults which is why the binding is made with mature readers in mind. This illustrates Ogawa's view that the stories are aimed also at adults who have a child's innocent mind, a view prevailing at that time.
A reprint of the original was published by the Museum of Modern Japanese Literature in 1970.