| Akai Ho no Fune is the collection of folk tale style original stories by Kubo Takashi (1906 - 1998). These stories are written in the local dialect of Shikoku, Kubo's home country. They tell of the honest life of people living with the sea.|
"Akai Ho no Fune" is about two generations of fishermen. Kambee senior is the best fisherman of the island who lived about 200 years ago. He is brave and generous. His son, Kambee junior, is also a good fisherman, but he raises a red flag as soon as he senses the sea will be rough and tells other ships to go back to the port. Other people regard Kambee junior as a coward, and call him "Yametoke Kambee" [Kambee telling others to stop fishing]. When the fishermen plan a revolt against the lord and the boss, Kambee visits neighboring villages to gather followers. The revolt succeeds, but the government begins to search for the leader on the ship with a red sail. When a storm comes, Kambee raises the red sail knowing that he is after the officers. In the end he is shot by a gun. Later people say that when a ship with a red sail appears on the sea, a storm or other tragedy will come. In "Kobune no Hata" [Sail of a Small Ship], a ship with a red sail appears again. When fishermen are about to go to protest against a factory whose waste causes a red tide, only a grandson of Ojî [Old One], Sugio, sees a ship with a red sail. Ojî goes to the town, sees the small ships gathered there, and thinks them to be ships with red sails.
The beginning of the 1970s was a time when many folk tale style original stories were written. Akai Ho no Fune was one of the Modern Collection of Folk Tale Style Original Stories series. In a postscript Kubo explained the reason why he wrote this book: he wondered why the stories which take place in seaside villages were few in comparison to those taking place in countryside. Illustrations with a strong touch by Sakurai Makoto add to the taste of folk tales to the stories.
Akai Ho no Fune was highly praised for its originality in choosing the sea as its theme and the combination of folk tale style and the aspect of modern literature. It received the Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize in 1973.