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otogi zoushi@Œä‰¾‘Žq
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Popular stories which flourished from the late Kamakura to the early Edo period. The name derives from an early 18c collection of twenty-three short stories entitled otogi bunko Œä‰¾•¶ŒÉ (The Companion Library) collected and printed by Shibukawa Seiemon aì´‰E‰q–å, a publisher in Osaka. The title was changed to Otogi zoushi (The Companion Book) in a later version published in 1801. Once introduced, the term quickly became generalized to include a whole body of popular stories such as folk-tales, didactic narratives, war stories, etc.
Because these stories were appreciated by people from all levels of society, they were frequently illustrated and made into scroll paintings *emaki ŠGŠª and picture books *nara-ehon “Þ—ÇŠG–{ dating from the Muromachi to the early Edo periods. The stories were also recited by chanters and priests sometimes with the help of illustrations *etoki ŠG‰ð. The illustrations were painted in a naive style using bright colors, usually by anonymous artists. However, official painters produced a limited number of refined illustrations for the families of emperors and shoguns.
Otogi zoushi were the forerunners of Edo period *kana zoushi ‰¼–¼‘Žq (a story book in kana ‰¼–¼ script) and *ukiyo zoushi •‚¢‘Žq (a story book of the floating world). Literary scholars today prefer using the terms Muromachi jidai monogatari Žº’¬Žž‘㕨Œê (Muromachi Period Tales) or Chuusei shousetsu ’†¢¬à (Short Stories of the Middle Ages) to more precisely describe these short stories.
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