@@Bero-Dashi Chomma is a collection of twenty-eight short stories of Saito Ryusuke (1917-85) serialized in the Teachersf Union organ Kyoiku Shinbun [Education Newspaper], except gHachirôh [Hachirô] which first appeared in a newspaper for junior high school students. It is a representative work of original folktale style. In this collection, stories are classified in three ways: gVery Big Stories,h gVery Small Stories,h and gStories Written in the Sky.h It seems that they were originally intended for grownups and teachers. The book received Shogakukan Award for Childrenfs Books and Publications in 1968.
@@The title piece gBero-Dashi Chommah belongs to gVery Big Stories.h Set in the Edo period, it is a story about twelve-year-old Chômatsu and his family. Chômatsufs father requested the shogunate to lighten the burden of land tax. As a punishment, the entire family was sentenced to death by crucifixion. In order to make his three-year-old sister Ume laugh so she will not get frightened, Chômatsu makes a comical face by pulling his eyebrows down and poking out his tongue on the cross. He kept poking out his tongue till he died.
@@gHachirôh which also belongs to gVery Big Storiesh is a story based on the legend of a giant in Hachirôgata lagoon in Akita Prefecture. A very big man Hachirô throws himself into the water to save rice fields from a billow.
@@Saito used dialects and onomatopoeia freely to make the narrative vivid and rich. Simple plot, profound theme, and Takidaira Jirofs powerful and unique illustrations using paper cutouts attracted readers. gHachiroh and other short stories were made into picture book illustrated by Takidaira and produced a folktale picture book boom.
@@gMochi Mochi no Kih [Mochi Mochi Tree] belongs to gVery Small Stories.h Mameta was so timid that he could not go to the toilet alone at night. One night, his grandfather has a stomachache and Mameta runs for the doctor holding back his fear. When he came back he sees fantastic lights on a big horse chestnut in front of their house which he called Mochi Moch tree. This story was also made into a picture book with Takidairafs illustrations, and it has been adopted in third graders textbooks since 1977. It was made into an animation film in 1973 and a kamishibai (picture-story show) in 2001.
@@A Kadokawa Pocket Book edition of Bero-Dashi Chomma was published in 1976. Although there were arguments both for and against the theme of self-sacrifice, it certainly is a distinguished work in the history of childrenfs literature.