@@Nihon Minwa Sen was published as the 179th volume of Iwanami Shônen Bunko [Iwanami Childrenfs Library] which began publishing in 1950. At the outset, Iwanami Shônen Bunko mainly consisted of translations of famous selections of foreign childrenfs literature. This volume is notable as one of the first Japanese folktales included in the Bunko.
@@Thirteen tales are retold by Kinoshita Junji (1914- ) who was active in creating folktale drama such as Yûzuru [The Twilight Heron]. The opening tale, gTsubu Musukoh [Shellfish Son], follows a typical pattern of old tales: a childless couple receive a shellfish which grows up to marry a millionairefs daughter, and they all live happily ever after. Familiar Japanese tales such as gDaiku to Onirokuh [Carpenter and Ogre Oniroku], gKobutorih [Old Men with Bumps] gUrikohimeko to Amanjakuh [Princess Uriko (Gourd) and Imp], and gKikimimi Zukinh [Magic Listening Cap] are selected.
@@As Kinoshita says in the postscript, narrative style is an important element in folktales. When gKanimukasi: Sarukanih [Battle of the Monkey and the Crab], a tale included in Nihon Minwa Sen, was made into a picture book illustrated by Shimizu Kon and published by Iwanami Shoten a year later, the tone of the original text was so rhythmical that it scarcely needed modification. The tales in the book are narrated vividly and fluently. The selection and contents of the tales reflects Kinoshitafs former statement that folktales represent strong desires of people and peasants, and that folktales are subject to change with the times.