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Tales of Old Japan

Tales of Old Japan by Lord Redesdale
By: (1837-1916)

Tales of Old Japan by Lord Redesdale is a collection of short stories focusing on Japanese life of the Edo period (1603 - 1868). It contains a number of classic Japanese stories, fairy tales, and other folklore; as well as Japanese sermons and non-fiction pieces on special ceremonies in Japanese life, such as marriage and harakiri, as observed by Lord Redesdale. The best know story of these is "The Forty-seven Ronins" a true account of samurai revenge as it happened at the beginning of 18th century Japan.

Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale (1837 - 1916) was a British diplomat, collector and writer. He worked in Japan as second secretary to the British Legation at the time of the Meiji Restoration. He wrote Tales of Old Japan in 1871.

First Page:



LORD REDESDALE, G.C.V.O., K.C.B. Formerly Second Secretary to the British Legation in Japan

With Illustrations Drawn and Cut on Wood by Japanese Artists




In the Introduction to the story of the Forty seven Rônins, I have said almost as much as is needful by way of preface to my stories.

Those of my readers who are most capable of pointing out the many shortcomings and faults of my work, will also be the most indulgent towards me; for any one who has been in Japan, and studied Japanese, knows the great difficulties by which the learner is beset.

For the illustrations, at least, I feel that I need make no apology. Drawn, in the first instance, by one Ôdaké, an artist in my employ, they were cut on wood by a famous wood engraver at Yedo, and are therefore genuine specimens of Japanese art. Messrs. Dalziel, on examining the wood blocks, pointed out to me, as an interesting fact, that the lines are cut with the grain of the wood, after the manner of Albert Dürer and some of the old German masters, a process which has been abandoned by modern European wood engravers... Continue reading book >>

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