Top of page

Manuscript/Mixed Material Hōmyō dōji ほうみやう童子

[ Volume 1 ]

More Resources

[ Volume 2 ]
[ Volume 3 ]

About this Item


  • Hōmyō dōji

Other Title

  • ほうみやう童子


  • This early-18th century work by an unknown artist is a typical example of Nara-ehon, the illustrated manuscripts or hand-printed scrolls and books produced in Japan from the Muromachi (1333-1573) through the mid-Edo (1615-1868) periods. The Hōmyō dōji is originally an East Indian story with roots in Buddhism. Like many such stories, it begins with the characteristic phrase, "Once upon a time in the land of the Buddha..." It goes on to tell the story of a child who was chosen to become a sacrifice for a giant snake. The child's father decides to seek a surrogate for his child. A boy named Hōmyō dōji, who could not bear his mother's sorrow after her husband's death, sells himself to the man when his mother is not at home. Hōmyō dōji becomes the sacrifice and, while he is reciting a sutra near a grotto, a Bodhisattva suddenly appears and transforms the snake into a boy. When the emperor hears of this story, he calls for the dōji (boy) to be brought to him, and abdicates the throne to the dōji. The dōji then searches for his mother, with whom he lives happily ever after. The work is bound in three volumes, and contains many colorful illustrations. World Digital Library.


  • Japanese Rare Book Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • [17--?]


  • -  Asakawa collection?
  • -  Exact size of the book: 29.8 x 22.3 cm.
  • -  Ms. (shahon), the copier and the date not known.
  • -  On double leaves, oriental style (fukurotoji).
  • -  Original covers (retained) have floral designs and clouds (or mists) painted in gold on bluish-black background, with title piece in red; also lined with gold paper.
  • -  Title from title piece.
  • -  With no borders, text chiefly in 10 vertical lines, on some paper with design patterns in blue and gold.
  • -  Report of the Librarian of Congress ... 1933: p. 133-134 (Hōmyō d̄oshi; Nara ehon in 3 v.; by unknown artist; "judging from the style of handwriting and the illustration" early 18th cent. work; [comments by Shio Sakanishi]).
  • -  S. Honda's Pre-Meiji works in the Library of Congress, Japanese literature, ... a bibliography: p. 24 (Hōmyō dōji; Kanbun nenkan [1661-72] shahon).
  • -  Zaigai Nihon emaki no kenkyū / Tsuji Eiko, 1999: p. 5 (Hōmyō dōji; Edo chūki shahon, Nara-ehon).
  • -  Also available in digital form.
  • -  奈良繪本 style, with 18 colored illustrations.
  • -  Kokubungaku Kenkyū Shiryōokan, database kotenseki (ほうみやう童子, 3-satsu, 30 x 24 cm., 奈良絵本, 江戶初期写).
  • -  Nihon koten bungaku daijiten, v. 5, p. 440 (法妙童子 Hōmyō dōji, 御伽草子; in many versions, including 奈良絵本).


  • 3 v. : col. ill. ; 30 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • PL793 .H58 1700

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2005552386

Rights Advisory

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. For information on contacting WDL partner organizations, see this archived list of partners

The Library asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here.

Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For additional information and contact information for many of the partner organizations, see this archived capture of the World Digital Library site from 2021.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Japanese Rare Book Collection. Hōmyō Dōji. [17--?, 1700] Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Japanese Rare Book Collection. (1700) Hōmyō Dōji. [17--?] [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Japanese Rare Book Collection. Hōmyō Dōji. [17--?, 1700] Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.