Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


A construction process over the “Myth”
around the “Tono-Monogatari
- Preliminary consideration for
an evaluation on the folklore-studies -

Yasunari, MUROI

(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Department of Japanese History)

Key words:

Yanagita Kunio, Orikuchi Shinobu, way of reading, folktale, ancient times, Regionalism

A purpose of this article is to clear the formation process of the evaluation of “Tono-Monogatari”, written by folklorist Yanagita Kunio.

Today, this book is placed as “The starting point of the Japanese folklore”, and it is evaluated as one of the literary works. But,that positioning doesn't seem suitable. I assume that he did not intended to study a folklore, nor to write this book as a literature when Yanagita wrote this book .However, people after him tends to think the book is a “myth”.

In this article, I examined the reason why such a “myth” was built. As a result, it became clear that interpretation by Orikuchi Shinobu gave a big influence toward such evaluation. He made a interpretation that the ancient element is included in a folktale written in the book. Afterwards, Orikuchi’s interpretation was connected with “discover-japan”boom, leaving an impression that the book “Tono-Monogatari” wrote a good old ancient element settled.

But, when Yanagita wrote the book, he was the bureaucrat of agriculture-ministry, and was trying to promote the Japanese modernization. The old consciousness and sense of values might to be an obstruction to the modernization. Generally speaking, in a folktale, old consciousness and sense of values are reflected. Therefore, Yanagita have discovered that he should reform a folktale as a bureaucrat . If my opinion is right, we must examine the motive that he started to study folklore once again.