A Japanese Fairy … flop

Tonight’s reading with Kalista included “A Japanese Fairy Tale” – a relic purchased for 50 cents at a book sale at the Kinston, N.C., public library. I now see why it was available.

Quandary: no one can figure out why the pretty Japanese girl and the ugly, wart-faced Japanese guy with hair like a mane are so happily married.

Answer: The girl – Kyoko – is a princess whose father employed the ugly guy – Munakata – to tutor, which eventually leads to romance after the ugly guy spouts off some tale about discovering before he was born his wife would be hideous; he asks God to make him ugly instead so she can be beautiful. 

First of all, what a sly devil Munakata must be. Not only does this wart-faced lion king find a noble explanation for his hideousness, he gets the hottest girl in Japan. Kudos to Munakata for that.

Beyond this clever marketing scheme, though, I can’t really come up with anything wonderful about the book. It’s actually full of lies. For instance, Munakata says every child starts in Heaven and slips down to Earth. Bull crap. Munakata says children are told who their mate is going to be before this voyage down the twisty slide. Bull crap. Also in this particular section of the book, Munakata says there’s a “slight depression” above our upper lip because an angel pressed a finger to it to seal the secret of our mate’s name and erase our memory of it. This, also, is bull crap.

And don’t even get me started on the grade of crap it is that God is Japanese. Everyone knows God looks like a George Bush-Dale Earnhardt mix.

I kept thinking this “fairy tale” would have a point of inspiration to it. The foreshadowing was a bit obvious in that Kyoko was going to end up with Munakata; Ray Charles could have seen that. But I was hoping she ended up with him because she saw how beautiful he was inside and chose to overlook the warts and overgrowth of facial hair. That was the message I wanted for Kalista.

We didn’t get that, though. Instead we got the notion that girls without warts don’t have warts because some nasty guy has them. That’s great for little egos. We also got the idea that sleeping with the teacher is okay – especially if he tells a story to encourage it. What a scrumptious morsel of information that is.

Do people in Japan actually share this fairy tale with their children? If so, we should have outlawed it in the Japanese Instrument of Surrender that ended World War II, according to Wikipedia.

The overall tone of the book – in particular the portions rich with Munakata’s dialogue – made me sound like a Japanese person, which I did not like. “My despair turned to anger and I boldly demanded to see the woman who would one day become by wife. ‘It is forbidden!’ came the firm and immediate reply. But so persistent was I that finally the angels agreed.”

Come on, you guys. Does that sound even remotely American? “But so persistent was I … ” Ridiculous. Makes me want to eat my cat.

In all, I give “A Japanese Fairy Tale” five stars … out of 1,365,823. It was arrogant, misleading and – like all things not American – blatantly anti-American. It was unrealistic, pretentious and nonsensical at times. I didn’t like it one bit.


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