Long ago there was an old couple who had reached old age with no children. They prayed every day and every night to have a family, and at last they were blessed with a little boy. Little boy. A very, very little boy, only the size of your finger. His parents' joy was unlimited, however, and they called their treasure Issun-Boshi, Inch Boy.Issun-Boshi ate and ate and ate like any baby, any toddler, any child, but he did not grow. As he grew older he grew strong and agile, but he did not grow any taller. One day, while looking at the river that flowed past their village, Issun-Boshi asked his father, "Where does this river go?" "The river goes to great Kyoto, Issun-Boshi. It must be a wonderful place, but I have never seen it, I will," Issun-Boshi decided. "I will see it. Help me get ready, Father." His parents knew he was old enough to go on his own, so his father fashioned for him a sword (it was a needle) and his mother gave him a boat (it was a rice bowl) and an oar (it was a chopstick) and they waved farewell to their brave son. "Be safe!" The voyage took many days, and was fraught with peril. Large fish tried to eat him, and often the rice bowl crashed into rocks and nearly tipped over. Whirlpools spun it around and around and hungry herons peered in at Issun-Boshi with bright bead eyes. But undaunted Issun-Boshi paddled and steered with his chopstick, and at last came to great Kyoto.With great excitement; Issun-Boshi tied his sword at his side, and strode to the door of the finest, largest house he could see. He pounded as large as he could, and gave a shout. "Hello! Hello! I'm looking for work!" The guard at the door looked around with a puzzled frown, but saw nothing until Issun-Boshi yelled, "Down here!" "Ah!" The guard bent over and picked up Issun-Boshi for a clearer look. "Well, someone as brave as you can work for me, young man. You may join the guard of my master's daughter. "This suited Issun-Boshi very well and he joined the household guard. One day, he went with the lord's daughter to the temple. As they walked the path two goblins leaped out, their red eyes gleaming. They were about to kidnap the young lady, when Issun-Boshi leaped upon the first one with a cry of anger. "You will not take her!" he cried, stabbing the goblin on the shin with his needle sword. "What's this?" The goblin picked him up by his coat, and thinking that Issun-Boshi looked just the right size for a snack, swallowed him whole. But Issun-Boshi continued stabbing and jabbing at the goblin from inside, and within moments the goblin was howling with pain. "Ow! Ow no!" And he choked up Issun-Boshi and spit him on the ground. Without skipping a beat, Issun-Boshi then attacked the second goblin, scrambling up his legs and onto his head, where he poked the goblin in the eye. Both goblins took to their heels and ran away, screaming in pain. The young lady and Issun-Boshi stood laughing on the path, and then she noticed something gleaming behind a rock. "Look, a magic hammer!" she exclaimed, bending over to pick it up. "One of the goblins must have dropped it. It will grant you any wish you ask. "Issun-Boshi looked at the hammer, and he looked at the beautiful young lady, and he said, "I would like to be bigger. "So she waved the hammer, and chanted, "Grow, Issun-Boshi, Grow!" Before her eyes he grew into a tall (and of course, handsome) young man, as fine as any samurai. And they were married, as you can imagine, and Issun-Boshi remained just as brave as he had been when he was one inch high.
In this myth a childless older couple wishes for a child. They prey and eventually have a son. The son was tiny and they named him Issun-Boshi, or one-inch son. His parents love the child dearly. He goes on a trip to find his place in the world. He is given a sewing needle as a sword, a soup bowl for a boat and chopsticks for oars. He sails downriver to a city where he looks for a job. Issun-Boshi started working as the guard to the Masters daughter. One day on their travels they are suddenly attacked by two goblins. Issun-Boshi stabbed the first goblin in the shin with his needle sword. The goblin picked him up and ate him. Issun-Boshi stabbed the goblin from inside his body until he spat him up. He then attacked the second goblin by poking him in the eye. Both goblins ran away screaming in pain. One of the goblins dropped a magic hammer that would grant him a wish. He asked to be bigger and he grew into a tall, handsome young man as fine as a samurai. He married the Master’s daughter and he was as brave as he had been when he was one inch high the rest of his life.
In this myth a childless older couple wishes for a child. She prays and eventually has a son. The son was tiny and they named him Issun-Boshi. The child is loved by his parents and one day he realizes he will never grow up. He goes on a trip to find his place in the world. He is given a sewing needle as a sword, a soup bowl for a boat and chopsticks for oars. He sails downriver to a city where he looks for a job. Issun-Boshi started working as the guard to the Masters daughter. One day on their travels they are suddenly attacked by two goblins. Issun-Boshi stabbed the first goblin in the shin with his needle sword. The goblin picked him up and ate him. Issun-Boshi stabbed the goblin from inside his body until he spat him up. He then attacked the second goblin by poking him in the eye. Both goblins ran away screaming in pain. One of the goblins dropped a magic hammer that would grant him a wish. He asked to be bigger and he grew into a tall, handsome young man as fine as a samurai. They were married and he was as brave as he had been when he was one inch high.
Cast main characters
Issun-Boshi — A very brave small child who does not need to be tall to be a warrior.
Mother- A loving parent to Issun-Boshi.
Father- A loving parent who helps Issun-Boshi prepare for a journey.
Guard- Gave Issun-Bosgi a job protecting an important mans daughter.
Goblin 1- Attacked Issun-Boshi and tried to eat him.
Goblin 2- Issun-Boshi stabbed him in the eye with a needle.
Master’s Daughter- Was protected from goblins by Issun-Boshi and eventually married him.
Three significant symbols
Needle Sword- Many Fairy tales in Japan had swords in them. Swords were not only meant for protection but also symbolized the potential for greatness. Young men who possessed swords were meant for great things.
Rice Bowl Boat- Boat’s in Japanese fairy tales often signified a journey from youth to adulthood.
Hammer- In Issun-boshi, the magic mallet is a well-known cultural specific symbol, or object, that carries special meaning in a Japanese fairy tale. In some legends, a mallet or hammer is considered a good luck omen and can grant wishes when struck on the ground.
Issun Boshi has three common themes that appear in almost every Japanese folk tale. The first theme is that those who pray often are blessed with a child. The second theme is that these children are amazing and accomplish great feats. The third theme is that said child grows up to bring great pride to their parents.
The moral of Issun Boshi is that bravery does not come with physical size. Issun-Boshi is very brave and heroic throughout the myth.
Values and behaviors of your culture one can infer from the story
*If you are good people and pray hard you will get your desire.
*Parents must love their children no matter how they physically appear.
*Children must leave the home of their parents and go out on their own to find their way in the world.
*Parents should equip their children for what they need to go out the world.
*Everyone deserves a chance no matter his or her size.
*If you are brave and think quickly the smallest man can defeat a giant.
*If you act bravely the gods will reward you with a prize.