BOOK GIVEAWAY: Once Upon a Time in Japan

24 Oct

IMG_7164My friends at Tuttle Publishing sent me another book to read and review: “Once Upon a Time in Japan” by NHK. The book comes with an audio CD. We recently went on a little road trip and listened to the stories on the CD. My 5-year old and 7-year old listened very attentively and were completely immersed in the stories. I enjoyed the stories as well! I thought I knew most Japanese folktales but there were a few stories I had never heard before. The book is a nice quality hardcover and the illustrations are very nice (there are 60 full-page color illustrations!). The book will be published November 3, 2015.


Here is the book description from Amazon:

Bringing Japanese folk stories to the English-speaking world, this book presents eight stories from the popular NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s popular radio series Once Upon a Time in Japan. Each story is brilliantly illustrated by a talented Japanese artist. The tales recounted here are among Japan’s oldest and most beloved stories. Entertaining and filled with subtle folk wisdom, these retold stories have been shared countless times in Japanese homes and schools for generations. Like good stories from every time and place, they never grow old. Kids (and their parents!) will enjoy hearing these stories read aloud on the accompanying CD.

The fairytales and classic stories in this collection include:

  • The Wife Who Never Eats—the story of a man who learns the hard way the evils of stinginess.
  • The Mill of the Sea—the story of how a greedy man was responsible for the saltiness of sea water.
  • The Monkey and the Crab—the crabs teach a tricky monkey a lesson in fairness and honesty.
  • The Magical Hood—an act of kindness reaps great rewards.
  • Sleepyhead Taro and the Children—a story about what can be accomplished at the right time, and with the right help and the right spirit.
  • The Fox and the Otter—how a fox pays the price of deceit and selfishness.
  • The Gratitude of the Crane—a story about the rewards of kindness and the danger of curiosity.
  • The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter—a girl who starts life very tiny turns out to be big in many ways.


Would you like to win a copy of Once Upon a Time in Japan? Then simply comment on this blog post telling me what your favorite Japanese story is. Or if you don’t know any, just comment what your favorite thing about Japan is! One comment per person. One winner will be chosen at random on Friday October 30, 2015 and receive a free copy of this book! This giveaway is open worldwide. If you don’t win the giveaway or just can’t wait to check out this book, you can preorder the book through Amazon (at a great deal) HERE!


Reclaimedmama is the winner of this giveaway! Congrats! I will be emailing you shortly.


*Sometimes it may take awhile for your comment to appear.

33 Responses to “BOOK GIVEAWAY: Once Upon a Time in Japan”

  1. harayda October 24, 2015 at 10:18 PM #

    Red demon blue demon it is sad but shows what a true friend is

    • Hiragana Mama October 24, 2015 at 10:19 PM #

      I’ve never heard of that one, I’ll have to look it up!

  2. jcasey1015 October 24, 2015 at 10:25 PM #

    I’m not sure I could ever just pick one favorite thing about Japan! We lived there for 5 years and are hoping to go back soon because we loved so much about living there! What an awesome book! Thanks for the giveaway chance!

  3. Samantha October 24, 2015 at 10:39 PM #

    There are too many favourite things about Japan to mention, but I do like the mixture of old traditions, and how they survive in today’s modern world. This book would be a good way to understand some of the old stories.

  4. Carol October 24, 2015 at 10:43 PM #

    I would have to say Momotaro. I first saw Isamu Noguchi’s Momotaro sculpture at Storm King sculpture park in New York. I became very curious about the folktale the sculpture was based on. Momotaro has been my favorite ever since.

  5. kanaharding October 24, 2015 at 11:16 PM #

    Good question… mine is probably 竹取物語 – The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter. The ending is literally out of this world. Do you remember the cartoon series on NHK in the 80s, 日本昔話? That was one of my favorite shows growing up. 🙂 I wish they would release it in English one day…

  6. Tonya Morgan October 24, 2015 at 11:16 PM #

    We were not told any Japanese tales growing up. So I am just beginning to learn some of these things. My mother is from Okinawa, so things are a bit different. My favorite thing about Japan besides the amazing beaches of Okinawa was the soba

  7. Genesis October 24, 2015 at 11:39 PM #

    My daughter likes したきりすずめ、さるかに, etc. And one of the things i love of Japan is their respect, honesty, safety, clean and organized and so many more…i hope can move there in a future, i want something better for her(we are in Mex) /(*´︶`*)╯

  8. Lisa October 25, 2015 at 1:33 AM #

    I love the Rabbit in the Moon story. My Japanese professor told it to the class in college.

  9. Lainie October 25, 2015 at 3:51 AM #

    My favourite thing about Japan (because I’ve never heard any stories.) Is the language, the writing and Kanji. I find it all mesmerising. I could listen to people speaking Japanese all day. I’m learning Japanese so that I can listen to the movies I watch, whilst Ironing clothes etc,and not burn my hands whilst trying to read subtitles 🙂 xxx

  10. Jo Kondo October 25, 2015 at 5:25 AM #

    My favourite is called the ‘Princess Weaver’!

  11. eclecticlamb October 25, 2015 at 6:29 AM #

    Momotaro is the first that comes to mind but I love Japanese fairy tales .

  12. nestwithmama October 25, 2015 at 6:52 AM #

    My kids loved the tale of the bamboo cutter!

  13. Amanda Miller October 25, 2015 at 8:06 AM #

    I teach Primary Japanese in Sydney, Australia. My students and I love the story of “Momotaro!” As an added bonus they also can easily remember names of fruit too (momo=fruit) in our new Japanese Fruits unit! I also love the story behind Tanabata-I’m an old romantic! My students would love to win this book to add to our few and limited Japanese books! Thank you!

  14. Kelly Canaan October 25, 2015 at 10:03 AM #

    Momotarou – I used to live in Okayama and actually visited the cave/site in Shikoku where Momotarou supposedly fought the demons!

  15. Cody October 25, 2015 at 12:36 PM #

    I’m not yet familiar with folk stories from Japan, but I am always impressed with how integrated such traditions and stories are in contemporary Japanese culture. I am not aware of many developed countries that are so culturally aware.

  16. Lisa October 25, 2015 at 1:17 PM #

    My girls (5 and 8) enjoy the Japanese classics like Momotaro, Kintaro, and Urashimataro….but I would love to introduce the other, less known stories to them….!

  17. Fabian October 25, 2015 at 2:53 PM #

    I could not pick one favourite story, but I especially like all the very intelligent and well-thought sayings that Japanese has… and I always have to think of 習うより慣れる. I think it perfectly describes how to learn Japanese, even if some things are not really possible to grasp with logic. Yet, it’s a beautiful language. Hmm, however my favourite “thing” about Japan is definitely my girlfriend O:-)

    Aaaand… I’m highly interested in that book, because I think it’s a language level which I will still understand and which allows me to learn while having fun with these stories – just perfect.


  18. Melania Crow October 25, 2015 at 3:37 PM #

    We don’t have just one story but we do love many of the Studio Ghibli movies. The stories have so much depth and the animation is beautiful.

  19. Noémie October 25, 2015 at 4:29 PM #

    Thank you for your blog, always interesting for bilingual families.
    My favorite tale is Kaguyahime.

  20. Shana Mattson October 25, 2015 at 5:21 PM #

    This question is really making me dig through my memories! I had a picture book of Urashima Taro that I really loved as a child, so that would be my pick. Hanasaka Jiisan would be high up there too.

  21. Shanna Soares October 25, 2015 at 8:04 PM #

    I am not familiar with Japanese folklore, but I would love to read these to my boys (who are a quarter Japanese) and allow them to learn things their grandmother learned!

  22. Kyla Rollins October 25, 2015 at 8:07 PM #

    I don’t know any Japanese stories yet, but would love to read some. Visiting Japan was one of the best experiences of my life! I don’t think I could choose one thing. The beaches and mountains are breathtaking, the people are so polite, the food is amazing, and the culture was so neat to see and learn about. Hoping we can go back many more times! Paul would probably tell you his favorite thing about Japan is the food! He has dreams about being in Japan and eating his favorite things there!

  23. Emily Keller October 25, 2015 at 8:44 PM #

    I want to take my kids there when I visit my sister in Hong Kong!

  24. vkrn October 25, 2015 at 11:50 PM #

    My favorite thing about Japan: The food!

  25. Ashley October 26, 2015 at 12:02 AM #

    I don’t have a favorite yet…but we do have a different book of traditional Japanese stories (not the same ones as those in this one though). But it’s cute to see that my daughter at four recognizes characters from these stories depicted in other things!

  26. Deandria October 26, 2015 at 1:29 AM #

    My girls love the story of Kaguyahime and the Tanabata story best

  27. Fiona Macleod-Green October 26, 2015 at 5:09 PM #

    I’ve been reading Irish, Scottish and Japanese folktales with my 5 year old. We look for the similarities and compare the differences. Lots of fun, lots of learning.

  28. Edmond October 26, 2015 at 6:32 PM #


    I’m new to Japanese so I don’t know a Japanese Tale yet u__u , I started study japanese like 2 months ago by myself. I love a lot of things about Japan, but one of the things that I really LOVE of Japan is their Calligraphy (their written system it’s so beautiful), and the art it’s another one. Greetings from Mexico. n__n



  29. Gary October 27, 2015 at 6:35 PM #

    If you ask my 2-year old, her favorite is ももたろう。However, since I’ve read that over and over I think my favorite is either かちかち山 or つるのおんあえし

  30. reclaimedmama October 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM #

    I think the culture is beautiful! It is so rich and deep.

  31. Amber Sato October 28, 2015 at 9:58 PM #

    Hello there, I do not have a favorite Japanese story (I’m not so knowledgeable in this area). Hence this would be good for my 22 months old baby who is half-Japanese (and myself :))! What I like about Japan is the culture, food and how everything is always so well-planned.

  32. Suraj Tripathi October 29, 2015 at 7:11 PM #

    The Fox and Otter

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