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Propp and the Japanese folklore: applying morphological parsing to answer questions concerning the specifics of the Japanese fairy tale


Petkova, G (2009). Propp and the Japanese folklore: applying morphological parsing to answer questions concerning the specifics of the Japanese fairy tale. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 63(3.2009):597-618.

Abstract

The morphology of the fairy tale marks the dawn of structural analysis of folktales. Although it has been vastly applied in recent years to written genres, we shall go back to the origins and discuss universal and specific traits of the Japanese fairy tale via morphological parsing. The objective of this essay is to examine if, and to what extent, Propp’s morphology can be applied to Japanese fairy tales and thus find out whether there is a solution for some dilemmas in the Japanese folktale research environment. For this purpose, a group of tales on the marriage between a man and a supernatural/animal bride, considered by many Japanese and non-Japanese folklorists as representative of the Japanese fairy tale heritage, are examined. The tale of the Crane-wife serves as a model case study, which is parsed to morphologically support two of the most popular theories about the Japanese tale, namely the theory about the circular plot development by Toshio Ozawa and the result of nothingness by Hayao Kawai. The study provides a possible explanation for the difficulties in perception of Japanese fairy tales abroad. In the broader sense, the results of the study suggest that, on a morphological level, the Japanese fairy tale possesses universal features.

The morphology of the fairy tale marks the dawn of structural analysis of folktales. Although it has been vastly applied in recent years to written genres, we shall go back to the origins and discuss universal and specific traits of the Japanese fairy tale via morphological parsing. The objective of this essay is to examine if, and to what extent, Propp’s morphology can be applied to Japanese fairy tales and thus find out whether there is a solution for some dilemmas in the Japanese folktale research environment. For this purpose, a group of tales on the marriage between a man and a supernatural/animal bride, considered by many Japanese and non-Japanese folklorists as representative of the Japanese fairy tale heritage, are examined. The tale of the Crane-wife serves as a model case study, which is parsed to morphologically support two of the most popular theories about the Japanese tale, namely the theory about the circular plot development by Toshio Ozawa and the result of nothingness by Hayao Kawai. The study provides a possible explanation for the difficulties in perception of Japanese fairy tales abroad. In the broader sense, the results of the study suggest that, on a morphological level, the Japanese fairy tale possesses universal features.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 63 (2009) > 3
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:09 Nov 2009 10:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:32
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717
Related URLs:http://www.sagw.ch/de/asiengesellschaft/publikationen/Asiatische-Studien.html (Publisher)
http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?vID=86850&vLang=D&vHR=1&vUR=4&vUUR=11 (Publisher)
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-23802

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