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Urashima Tarō Folklore

Guest Author - Joy Alari

Urashima Tarō is a Japanese folklore, dated in the Nara period, about a fisherman who rescued a small turtle, from some children who were torturing, he later set the turtle free.

The next day, Urashima Tarō was stunned to see a huge turtle on his doorsteps, the turtle tells him that the turtle he’d saved, was Otohime the daughter of Ryujin, the Dragon god, the turtle continues saying that, Urashima Tarō’s presence was requested, at the palace under of the sea, as the Dragon god wanted to personally thank him for saving his daughter.

The turtle gives the still stunned Urashima Tarō, some magical gills which enabled him to swim under water, and soon Urashima Tarō was at the bottom of the sea, on a magical visit, to see the Dragon god in his palace.

Urashima Tarō was amazed at all he saw, most especially the Dragon god and Otohime, who was very beautiful, he decided that he to stay a while.

But after a few days had passed, Urashima Tarō felt very home sick and wished to see his aged mother, whom he’d left back home, he later sought permission from the Dragon god and Otohime to leave them.

They both granted it, though Otohime was sad that he wanted to leave her, she understood that he missed his family and gave him a parting gift, which was a magical box called Tamatebako, she warned him that no matter what happened, he must never open the box.

Urashima Tarō in his haste to get home agreed and hurriedly jumped onto the back of the big turtle, which had brought him to the Dragon god’s Palace and it swiftly carried Urashima Tarō back to shore.

But when Urashima Tarō walked on the shore, he felt different, the place looked strange and foreign, he didn’t recognize the people or landmarks, worse both his mother and house had disappeared but as bad as it looked, Urashima Tarō felt deep within him that, he knew he was home.

He decided to ask around and when he did, the people all agreed that they’d heard about a man called Urashima Tarō, but he had mysteriously disappeared three hundred years ago!

The theme for this tale is kindness and also hinges on human’s desire for immortality, the tale of Urashima Tarō somewhat resembles, some other folktales like the Chinese legend Ranka and other tales like Oisin, this tale of Urashima Tarō like other Japanese folktales, has influenced a lot of movies, games and even adverts.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Joy Alari. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Joy Alari. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ching Kin Min for details.

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