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Yei Theodora Ozaki

(1871 - 1932)

Yei Theodora Ozaki (1871–1932) was a writer of Japanese descent who played a significant role in popularising Japanese folktales to Western audiences. Born to a Japanese father and an English mother, her bicultural heritage equipped her with unique insights into both societies, making her an ideal intermediary in the realm of cultural exchange between Japan and the West during the early 20th century.

Ozaki spent her early years in Japan but was educated in England. Upon returning to Japan, she embraced her role as a cultural ambassador, teaching English and writing extensively. Her most renowned work is "Japanese Fairy Tales" (1908), a collection that compiled and translated numerous traditional stories, such as "Momotaro," "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow," and "Urashima Taro," into English. These tales, imbued with the morality, spirit, and charm of Japanese folklore, struck a chord with Western readers, offering them a glimpse of Japan's rich narrative traditions.

The legacy of Ozaki's work is reflected in the enduring popularity of these tales, which continue to introduce readers to the mythical creatures, moral lessons, and cultural values that form a vital part of Japanese folklore. Through her translations, Ozaki ensured that these stories were not only preserved but also made accessible and enjoyable for generations beyond Japanese borders.

Short Stories member since August 2019