Hiraku’s Adventures: Swan Tales

My name’s Hiraku, and I’m the mascot for the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, or JCMU for short. You can learn more about me on my bio page here.

This is my third blog, and I’m still having fun writing them! You can read my previous blogs here.

Hey everyone, it’s Hiraku! I’m back this week to share some more about Japanese culture!

When I was just a little cygnet, my mom and dad used to tell me folktales about swans from around the world. Today I’d like to share one from Japan! It’s called The Feathery Robe, and it goes like this:

There was once a fisherman who lived on the coast of Suruga. While he was working one day, he saw a pure white robe lying on the ground before him. It was made completely out of swan feathers, and had two wings instead of sleeves! He decided to take it home with him and keep it safe.

Before he could get very far, however, a beautiful maiden appeared! She was crying so hard that the fisherman could barely understand her, but she managed to explain that she was a goddess, the robe was hers, and that she couldn’t return to heaven without it. Well, the fisherman didn’t want to give up his prize, so he told the goddess that she’d have to have to show him the heavenly dance that goddesses are known or in order to prove it.

The goddess didn’t like being doubted, and got pretty mad. The fisherman was afraid of getting hurt, and he did want to see the dance, so he handed over the robe. As soon as the goddess put it on, she began to fly into the air, singing and dancing and getting further and further away. It was so amazing and beautiful that the fisherman was totally stunned. When he came to his senses, the goddess and the robe were gone, and he only had this story to show for it.

Do you think that goddess could be an ancestor of mine? I’m not very good at dancing… or at singing… But I’ll go out to karaoke any time!

Me, trying to dance. How do I hold a fan?

There are tons of folktales about swans from all over the world, because we like to migrate from place to place! Also because we’re really cool. Swans are usually seen as shape-shifters, with magical or heavenly powers, and often take human form when they visit earth. I’m always going to be a borb, though, and that’s fine by me.

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