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Book/Printed Material Isoho Monogatari.

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About this Item


  • Isoho Monogatari.


  • Isoho monogatari is a Japanese translation of Aesop's Fables that was published in 1659. Aesop's Fables are thought to have been introduced to Japan by a Jesuit missionary. In 1593 a one-volume version, in romanized Japanese, was published by the Jesuit college established in the Amakusa Islands, off Kyushu. The edition presented here is of three fascicles, or volumes, bound together in one book. It is a kanazoshi (a genre of novels and essays written in a simple kana-based syllabic script primarily used in the 17th century) version of Aesop's Fables that has different content than the 1593 version. The kanazoshi Isoho monogatari were either kokatsujiban (old movable-type editions) or woodblock-print versions containing illustrations. This document is the latter. Of the total of 94 stories, those up to the tenth story of the second volume are stories from the life of Isoho (known to the Latin West as Aesop), while the remaining 64 stories are fables by Isoho. There are five illustrations in each volume (15 overall). Some of the illustrations contain pictures from two stories. There are 24 illustrated stories. According to the document, Isoho was from Hirijiya (Phrygia, in present-day Turkey; very little is known about Aesop but it is thought that he lived circa 620-560 BC), but most of the characters and customs have been replaced by Japanese equivalents. The document is therefore interesting as a record of the process of the adoption of Aesop's Fables in Japan. During the Sakoku period of national isolation, from the 1630s to the mid-19th century, Aesop's Fables was the one of the few classical works to survive after Westerners were expelled from Japan.


  • Aesop Creator.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : Ito San'emon, 1659.


  • -  Japan
  • -  Greece
  • -  1659
  • -  Aesop's fables
  • -  Fables, Greek


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 3 volumes (bound in 1 book) : illustrated ; 26.7 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: National Diet Library.
  • -  Content in Japanese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666549

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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

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Cite This Item

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

Chicago citation style:

Aesop Creator. Isoho Monogatari. [place of publication not identified: Ito San'emon, 1659] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Aesop Creator. (1659) Isoho Monogatari. [place of publication not identified: Ito San'emon] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Aesop Creator. Isoho Monogatari. [place of publication not identified: Ito San'emon, 1659] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.