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Clever use of first person gives classic tales an intriguing twist

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"Ogres are so big, there's no way I can defeat them," mutters Momotaro (Peach Boy), getting cold feet.

But observing the dauntlessness of his attendants--Dog, Monkey and Pheasant--he overcomes the jitters and raises the sword.

In the illustrated storybook "Momotaro ga Kataru Momotaro" (Momotaro recounts his own story), this popular hero of classic Japanese folklore emerges as a timid young man, and the effect is refreshingly charming.

The book is the first in the series of "Ichinin-sho Dowa" (Children's stories in the first-person singular), in which well-known classic tales are told by the protagonists themselves.

In "Cinderella," the heroine comes across as rather calculating, and the hero of........

© The Asahi Shimbun