The Straw Sandal

or The Scroll of the Hundred Crabs (Mukashi-banashi Inazuma-byōshi)

Carmen Blacker’s spirited translation of Santo Kyoden’s Mukashi-banashi inazuma byooshi (from which the title ‘The Straw Sandal’ is taken), considered by Aston to be his masterpiece, reveals a multi-layered and fascinating tale of revenge – Japanese-style, thereby providing a classic example of this popular genre within Japanese literature. Aston makes the point that the plot of this late-eighteenth-century novel, developed over twenty chapters or episodes, is so complicated that ‘it is impossible to give an adequate summary…’ But he goes on to promise several murders, a harakiri and other suicides, terrific combats, hairbreadth escapes, strange meetings and surprising recognitions. In addition, there are scenes of witchcraft and enchantment with dreams, magic terrors and ghosts who rove by night. The Straw Sandal, which contains most of the original black and white woodblock prints together with textual notes added by the translator, will surely be widely welcomed both in the world of literature as well as that of Japanese Studies.
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Biographical Note

Carmen Blacker is widely known for her work on Fukuzawa Yukichi ( The Japanese Enlightenment, 1964), shamanistic practices in Japan ( The Catalpa Bow, 1975, republished in paperback 1999), and folklore and divinations ( Ancient Cosmologies, 1975, and Divination and Oracles 1981 – both with Michael Loewe). In 1996, she published (with Edward Shils) Cambridge Women, and in 2000, her Collected Writings.

Table of contents

Preface; Introductions; Dramatis Personae; List of Illustrations; 1 The Straw Sandal of Spite; 2 The Candle before the Wind; 3 'Secret Contrivances and Plots' 4 The Hovel of Strange Stratagems; 5 The Gratitude of the Smallpox Kami; 6 The Karmic Snake; 7 The Curse of the Poisonous Rats; 8 A Swift Horse on a Dark Night; 9 The Peril of the Wayside Temple; 10 The Vision of Fallen Leaves; 11 The Biwa with the Broken String; 12 The Drums of Hell; 13 The Turmoil at the Temple; 14 The Saviour from the Enemy House; 15 The Luck of the Solitary Goose; 16 The Strange Power of the Old Master; 17 The Snowy Valley and the Bear that Got Away; 18 The Quarrel in the Pleasure Quarter; 19 The Lightning Sword; 20 The Reward of Virtue; Appendix: A Lost Fragment

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