Japanese Folk Tales:
The Island of the Blessed

Anime writers often get their ideas from Japanese folk tales. In the anime section I talk about how in Japan eating mermaid flesh makes you immortal. This story will give you a little more background. By the way, Wasobioye, a popular character in Japanese folk tales, is called the Japanese Gulliver.

Once upon a time, Wasobioye set off in a small boat. It was the eighth day of the eighth month, a propitious time in Japan. He encountered a great storm that tore the sail and destroyed the mast. Unable to control the boat he drifted about for three months before he landed on a mysterious island. There he found fruit to eat and a well with drinkable water. When he explored the island he met Jofuku, a Chinese sage.

Jofuku told him that this island was called the Island of the Blessed. Everyone here lived forever and spent all their time in the pursuit of pleasure. Unfortunately, forever is a long time and constant pleasure leads to eternal boredom. No one would eat mermaid flesh because it is well known that mermaid flesh extends life. The people of the island always wished each other a speedy death. If someone was sick he was congratulated. When he recovered he was sympathized with.

Wasobioye lived on the island for 25 years. Tired of the monotonous life, he ate poisonous fish and plants but couldn't die. One day he learned that he would die if he left the island. There were many other lands he wanted to explore so he now ate mermaid flesh to prolong his life.

Wasobioye visited many other countries after this including the Land of Plenty and the Land of the Giants.



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