The Goblin of Adachigahara (1908) translated by Yei Theodora Ozaki

This story is taken from a collection of Japanese fairy tales translated by Yei Theodora Ozaki and published in America in 1908. In the book’s introduction, Ozaki writes:

“These stories are not literal translations, and though the Japanese story and all quaint Japanese expressions have been faithfully preserved, they have been told more with the view to interest young readers of the West than the technical student of folk-lore.”

Here is the opening paragraph of the story:

Long, long ago there was a large plain called Adachigahara, in the province of Mutsu in Japan. This place was said to be haunted by a cannibal goblin who took the form of an old woman. From time to time many travelers disappeared and were never heard of more, and the old women round the charcoal braziers in the evenings, and the girls washing the household rice at the wells in the mornings, whispered dreadful stories of how the missing folk had been lured to the goblin’s cottage and devoured, for the goblin lived only on human flesh. No one dared to venture near the haunted spot after sunset, and all those who could, avoided it in the daytime, and travelers were warned of the dreaded place.

The Goblin of Adachigahara

Source: Ozaki, Y.T. (1908). Japanese Fairy Tales. New York: A.L.Burt Company.

I was introduced to this story via the first collected volume of Usagi Yojimbo comics titled The Ronin and published by Fantagraphics back in 1987. “The Goblin of Adachigahara” was Stan Sakai’s first published Usagi Yojimbo story. It is a slightly different version of the original fairy tale, but still a great little story involving a disgraced traitorous samurai lord and his hideous fate.

“…every night the samurai lord left to wander into the mountains, becoming less and less human each time he returned, until one night he never returned at all.”

usagi yojimbo – the goblin of adachigahara

Stan Sakai recently published an updated version of the story in full colour. You can find this in issue #6 of IDW’s current Usagi Yojimbo run.

I am planning to do a LIVE reading of the original Japanese tale on my YouTube Channel later tonight. It will be Halloween Night in Japan but early Halloween morning in America. It would be great if you would join me for some of it. Here is the LINK to my channel: WAKIZASHI’S TEAHOUSE.

My attempt at a LIVE reading of two traditional Japanese Fairy Tales

And here is a LINK to the original translated story: THE GOBLIN OF ADACHIGAHARA.

As always, thanks so much for reading and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

-Wakizashi, *wondering if my autumn hayfever symptoms will subside for tonight’s planned LIVE Reading…*


10 thoughts on “The Goblin of Adachigahara (1908) translated by Yei Theodora Ozaki

  1. I did a quick search through my ebook collection and was very surprised to find I have this anthology. Looks like the story is fairly short, I’ll have to give it a read. I remember being fascinated by Usagi Yojimbo when I lived in Germany and a neighbor would share it with me, though I never collected it, myself. I love when we learn about older works from newer ones, especially from different media, like comics. I hope the live reading went well and that the hay fever symptoms gave you a short vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is a short story and is definitely worth a read. I have learned a lot about Japanese history and culture from reading Usagi Yojimbo. I think that is fantastic. It’s an entertaining and exciting comic book that has actually educated me.


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