| @@Bero-Dashi Chomma is a collection of twenty-eight short stories of Saito Ryusuke (1917-85) serialized in the Teachersf Union organ Kyoiku Shinbun [Education Newspaper], except gHachirôh [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 Childrenfs Books and Publications in 1968.|
@@The title piece gBero-Dashi Chommah belongs to gVery Big Stories.h Set in the Edo period, it is a story about twelve-year-old Chômatsu and his family. Chômatsufs 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.
@@gHachirôh which also belongs to gVery Big Storiesh 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 Jirofs powerful and unique illustrations using paper cutouts attracted readers. gHachiroh and other short stories were made into picture book illustrated by Takidaira and produced a folktale picture book boom.
@@gMochi Mochi no Kih [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 Takidairafs 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 childrenfs literature.