Tales of Moonlight and Rain

Akinari Ueda. Edited and translated by Anthony Chambers

Columbia University Press

Tales of Moonlight and Rain

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Pub Date: December 2008

ISBN: 9780231139137

248 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $26.00£20.95

Pub Date: November 2006

ISBN: 9780231139120

248 Pages

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List Price: $60.00£49.95

Pub Date: December 2008

ISBN: 9780231511247

248 Pages

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Tales of Moonlight and Rain

Akinari Ueda. Edited and translated by Anthony Chambers

Columbia University Press

First published in 1776, the nine gothic tales in this collection are Japan's finest and most celebrated examples of the literature of the occult. They subtly merge the world of reason with the realm of the uncanny and exemplify the period's fascination with the strange and the grotesque. They were also the inspiration for Mizoguchi Kenji's brilliant 1953 film Ugetsu.

The title Ugetsu monogatari (literally "rain-moon tales") alludes to the belief that mysterious beings appear on cloudy, rainy nights and in mornings with a lingering moon. In "Shiramine," the vengeful ghost of the former emperor Sutoku reassumes the role of king; in "The Chrysanthemum Vow," a faithful revenant fulfills a promise; "The Kibitsu Cauldron" tells a tale of spirit possession; and in "The Carp of My Dreams," a man straddles the boundaries between human and animal and between the waking world and the world of dreams. The remaining stories feature demons, fiends, goblins, strange dreams, and other manifestations beyond all logic and common sense.

The eerie beauty of this masterpiece owes to Akinari's masterful combination of words and phrases from Japanese classics with creatures from Chinese and Japanese fiction and lore. Along with The Tale of Genji and The Tales of the Heike, Tales of Moonlight and Rain has become a timeless work of great significance. This new translation, by a noted translator and scholar, skillfully maintains the allure and complexity of Akinari's original prose.
Chambers's edition of Tales of Moonlight and Rain is well worthwhile... Highly Recommended. The Complete Review
A shining new version of a living Japanese classic. Japan Times
Japan scholars and people who just like weird, spooky stuff should enjoy this new edition of Akinari's classic. Brad Quinn, Daily Yomiuri
Chambers's new translation is a lucid addition to the handful of previous versions. James Lasdun's, The Guardian
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Tales of Moonlight and Rain
Preface
Book One
Shiramine
The Chrysanthemum Vow
Book Two
The Reed-Choked House
The Carp of My Dreams
Book Three
The Owl of the Three Jewels
The Kibitsu Caldron
Book Four
A Serpent's Lust
Book Five
The Blue Hood
On Poverty and Wealth
Bibliography
Web Features

About the Author

Ueda Akinari (1734-1809), one of the great writers of Japanese fiction, was also a scholar, poet, physician, and tea master. Anthony H. Chambers is professor of Japanese literature and literary translation at Arizona State University. He has translated many works of Japanese literature, both classical and modern, and is the author of The Secret Window: Ideal Worlds in Tanizaki's Fiction.