Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Yanagita Kunio

(1875-1962). Founder of Japanese folklore studies. A scholar and poet who also worked as a journalist and government bureaucrat, Yanagita's extensive research and writing established the framework for other folklore research in Japan. Born in Hyogo Prefecture. Following graduation in law from Tokyo University in 1900, he married into the influential family Yanagita Naohei and took on the Yanagita name. He worked as a journalist for the Asahi Shinbun from 1919 to 1930, after which time he gave full attention to developing the discipline of folklore. If there is a unifying theme to his work, it is the search for the elements of tradition that explain Japan's distinctive national character. Yanagita's selected works are contained in the 36-volume Teihon Yanagita Kunio shō (The Selected Original Works of Yanagita Kunio). (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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