Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yayu knows!

I always enjoy discovering evidence that people of a by-gone age were more sophisticated than they are depicted as in either popularized perception or in their official history. To me there is proof of this in the poem "Hobgoblins" by Japanese poet Yayu. The poem offers a rational explanation to the fear of the supernatural, revealing that there no need to attribute to demons that wish a person harm when it can be explained with some rational thought.

Yayu (1701–1783)

Where Grimms Fairy Tales were cautionary learning stories used to scare children into behaving, being wary of strangers and not making the local government official angry with you, this poem could possibly have been used to teach young people to think.

Image from Little Pictures of Japan



  1. That's sort of a weird translation, isn't it? Scots-Japanese, maybe?

  2. I found a different translation here. It still uses the word "bogie", though. I do enjoy reading haiku in romanji (western alphabet), even though I only vaguely understand it.


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