Japanese Folktale Review- Iwana-The Mountain Trout Story

Sunday, July 19, 2020


Japanese Folktale Review- Iwana-The Mountain Trout Story
In this article I'll give my opinion on the Japanese Folktale called Iwana-The Mountain Trout Story.

If you want to read the original story, please check this:
  Iwana - The Mountain Trout Story >>

Summary of Iwana - The Mountain Trout Story

Summary of Iwana - The Mountain Trout Story
This story starts off with four anglers. These anglers were fishers, and they were sick and tired of working so hard to catch fish. So, one fine day, one of the anglers came up with an idea, an evil idea. He thought what if they poured poison into the river. If they did, then they could catch a lot more fish.
So, he suggested it to the other anglers, and they also thought it was a good idea. They agreed that they would try the angler's poison plan. That night by the river side, they mixed nuts and leaves. This is a powerful poison for fish. They decided to take a break because making poison is a lot of work. So, they ate sweet dumplings while resting.
While eating, a monk approached the group. He asked them if they were going to be dumping poison into the river. Of course, they answered honestly, and they said yes. The monk pleaded with them not to because the poison would also kill the larvae. He asked them to please not do such a cruel thing.
The anglers gave the monk sweet dumplings to eat and told him to calm down. However, it did not calm him down, and the monk persisted in asking them not to poison the river. Finally, one of the anglers gave in, and promised the monk that they would not poison the river.
The monk was so very pleased. He left happily. However, there was one issue, the anglers still intend to dump poison in the river. And the next day, they did just that. They still went ahead and poisoned the river. After they poisoned the river, many Iwana trout floated to the top, belly first. The anglers were so happy, and they rejoiced. They caught the fish. They then moved upstream to catch more trout.
They went upstream and poured the rest of the remaining poison in the river. This time, a HUGE Iwana trout floated to the top, belly first. The anglers were so surprised because the trout was bigger than any human. They again caught the trout while rejoicing.
That night, they decided to celebrate and eat the HUGE trout. One of the anglers cut into the trout, AND... sweet dumplings came pouring out of the belly. The EXACT SAME dumplings from the night before. The anglers realized the trout was the monk from the night before!
The trout suddenly opened its eyes and spotted the angler that made a promise the night before. The angler suddenly fell and stopped moving. The other anglers were so scared that they ran and fled. It is said that after some time, the river was able to recover and go back to its clean state. The end.

My Thoughts

My Thoughts
This is yet another folktale that I enjoyed. Okay, I'm on a good steak. This folktale has a good message. This came out way before global warming too. I think this folktale pertains to now, and the climate we are in. The climate we are in sucks. We've poisoned our oceans and rivers. We've poisoned our planet and now it's slowly dying.
It's unfortunate but true. And we see here, in this folktale, that the poisoning of our bodies of water have been happening for some time now. Killing that many fish at once has caused us a lot of trouble. Fish are becoming endangered. There's no way fish can reproduce as quickly as how fast we're catching them. It's something to think about for sure.


I think the takeaway on this story is to be considerate of other creatures. And to be considerate of what impression you're leaving on the world. And of course, DON'T BREAK YOUR PROMISES.
The angler straight up made a promise and lied right to the monk. If you are a human, and you don't at least have your word or honor, then what do you have? The anglers were just too greedy. There is no way that they needed to kill all of the trout that they did.
They also didn't take into consideration the other creatures that they would be sacrificing. It's a very sad story. But in the end, they paid for their mistake. Basically, don't be greedy or lazy or dishonest. Try to be considerate of ALL creatures.
Please try to read using Kanji, Hiragana, Romaji, and English! See you soon!