The Smithsonian presents Wonder Tales from Japan lecture

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child
The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child

The Smithsonian isn’t just wonderful museums, they also put on some fantastic events and lectures on a wide range of topics, including pop culture. Coming up in April is “Wonder Tales from Japan” an online program meaning anyone can watch.

Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman of the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic will discuss traditional tales from Japan and part of that will include their influence on anime and manga.

For those interested in Japanese storytelling, this could be an entertaining and educational time.

Taking place April 3rd, it’s $20 for members of the Smithsonian and $25 for non-members.

You can read the full description below.

Whether they’re called fairy tales or something else, fantastical stories are found the world over. Like their Western fairy tale counterpart, Japan’s fantastical stories—otogi-banashi—are part of the body of stories folklorists call “wonder tales”: They contain supernatural elements, are set in the land of once upon a time, and feature marvelous situations. Sometimes, otogi-banashi even include the mysterious yokai, ghosts and spirits that take numerous forms that can range from a magical raccoon dog (the tanuki) to an umbrella (a tsukumogami)!

Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman of the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic explore traditional tales from Japan, the yokai that haunt them, and how contemporary Japanese creators adapt the Western fairy tale and combine it with local lore. They look at traditional stories like “Momotaro,” the tale of a peach boy; “Urashima Taro,” the story of a fisherman who gets more than he bargains for; and “The Mirror of Matsuyama,” a relative of “Snow White.” Learn how Japanese wonder tales and fairy tales combine their enchantments in modern genres like anime (animation) and manga (comics).

Cleto and Warman are former instructors of folklore and literature at The Ohio State University and co-founders of the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic.