The Man Who Sang to Ghosts: A Japanese Legend, Retold from the Story of Hoichi and Based on The Tale of the Heike

by Aaron Shepard


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A young, blind bard counts himself lucky when invited to live with the monks at a prominent Buddhist temple -- and more lucky still when asked to perform his epic verses at the court of a high-ranking lord. But why is his noble audience so violently moved by his tales of long-dead heroes?
 
For ages 10 and up. Not illustrated!
 
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Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of "The Baker's Dozen," "The Sea King's Daughter," "Lady White Snake," and many more children's books. His stories have appeared often in Cricket magazine, while his Web site is known internationally as a prime resource for folktales, storytelling, and reader's theater. Once a professional storyteller, Aaron specializes in lively retellings of folktales and other traditional literature, which have won him honors from the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the Bank Street College of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the American Folklore Society.
 
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SAMPLE
 
Hearing something, Hoichi stopped his playing and listened. Through the night came footsteps, measured by a steady CLANK, CLANK -- the sound of armor.
 
A samurai coming to the temple, thought Hoichi. What could he want at this hour?
 
The footsteps moved through the back gate of the temple and across the garden. CLANK, CLANK. They were coming straight toward him! As the young man's heart beat faster, the footsteps halted before the veranda.
 
"Hoichi!"
 
"Sir!" replied the young man. Then he added, "Please, sir, I am blind. I cannot see who you are."
 
"You have nothing to fear," said the voice. "My master, a lord of high rank, is lodging nearby. He came to visit Dan-no-ura, the scene of the famous battle. Now he hears of your talent in reciting the tale of the Heike. He wishes you to come at once to perform for himself and his attendants."
 
"I am most honored," said Hoichi.
 
The young man slung his biwa on his back and slipped into his straw sandals. Then his arm was clasped in a grip of iron, and he was led rapidly away.
 




















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Kobayashi's film, Kwaidan, endeavors to capture this feeling of ygenThe tea ceremony, Sumo, haiku, kabuki Theater, sword dueling, and Zen archery were elevated to art forms in this period, at least partially in an attempt to give the now subjugated samurai something to do* * * That night, a little before midnight, Hoichi stepped from his room and sat on the verandaThe fourth, "Dan-no-Ura," is essential reading before watching "Mimi Nashi Hoichi" in KwaidanThese lists should be discussed in a whole-class setting in order to set the standards for the student projectsWhat has aroused them so? he wonderedIs this a feature of the samurai class alone, or the Japanese people in general? Asking these questions will lead to the exploration of other texts and may even lead to the discovery of contradictory practices and beliefs, which students will have to resolve for themselves 5d8a9798ff

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