Japanese Folktale Review- Japanese River Otter

Sunday, July 19, 2020


Japanese River Otter
In this article I'll give my opinion on the Japanese Folktale called Japanese River Otter.

If you want to read the original story, please check this:
  Japanese River Otter >>

Summary of Japanese River Otter

This story starts off with a lot of otters living in the Nakagawa River in Tochigi Prefecture. There was an old man who lived near this river. The old man made a living by catching crab and fish at this river. The old man would go to the river damn near every day to catch his fish and crab.
However, whenever the old man went to fish, he ALWAYS encountered the same problem. The otters were always bothering him. They always approached him and spoke to him saying the same thing. They would always say, "Hey old man, give us some crab!"
The otters were so very loud and disruptive, that whenever they came around, they scared the fish off. For this reason, the poor old man could never first well. The old man was so sweet and gentle that he didn't even get mad. Whenever the otters approached him, he did what was asked of him and he always have them the crab.
One day while fishing, an otter approached the old man. The otter wasn't as happy and energetic as the otters usually were. Then, the old man noticed that the otter had a fishhook in his mouth. The old man felt so bad for the thing. So, he took the hook out and disinfected the otter's wound. The otter thanked him dearly and went about his way in the river.
The next day, the man went fishing as usual. But on this particular day, the old man could catch A LOT of fish. The fish just seemed to be jumping right into his net. When the old man looked upstream, he saw the otter that he helped from the previous day. The otter was directing the fish into his net.
When the old man looked downstream, the otter's friends were also directing the fish into the net. The old man caught so many fish! Since that faithful day, the otters would always help the old man to catch his fish. The mean became an incredibly famous fisherman. Unfortunately, when the Edo period started, the number of ships increased, and the number of fish decreased. Thus, making fishermen obsolete and otters became an endangered species. The end.

My Thoughts

black woman
I really quite liked this folktale. Like the one before, I think it really speaks to the climate that we are currently in. That climate is GLOBAL WARMING. This is yet another folktale that shows what happens when we don't respect our oceans and rivers.
Due to the poisons coming from so many boats, it had left a lot of sea and freshwater creatures endangered. We have polluted our bodies of waters so badly that some wildlife cannot survive any longer. I didn't like the ending because it was just too real. However, I do think the story is funny and again, it shows that you should be kind to all creatures.


be kind
I think the takeaway on this story is again to be considerate of other creatures. The old man was kind to these creatures, even when they were being obnoxious LOL. In the end, they ended up being great friends and cohabitated together nicely. The old man helped the otters, and the otters helped the old man. Synchronism at its finest.
I do hope that you enjoyed this folktale. Even though the ending was quite serious, it's a story that I think we can all benefit from.
Please try to read using Kanji, Hiragana, Romaji, and English! See you soon!