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Truth in Stories

When you were young, like when you were five or six years old, you heard many stories. Maybe you read about Momotaro, Kintaro, Urashima Taro, and Kaguyahime. I think you have read or know about many different kinds of famous Japanese folk stories. In my culture too, I read many old stories like Cinderella, The three pigs, Red Riding Hood, and many many more. The truth is, I really like these stories and I am glad I can share them with my kids now.

There is something important in many of these old stories. Some people think that they are too simple, or that these old stories are only for kids. I don’t agree. When we read these old stories we can see different kinds of people. We can see different kinds of human feelings and we can see different kinds of human needs. We understand more deeply human psychology with these stories. In some stories we see how to be a good person, and we learn what are the important qualities for people. In some stories we see some terrible people, and we learn what kinds of things we must not be. But in many characters we see a lot of unusual and unexpected things too. Humans and characters in stories can be mysterious.

Telling stories is not only for kids. We tell stories many times. We see the same ideas and themes of old children stories in great literature too. We read the stories in Shakespeare’s dramas. We read about the characters in the Heike Monogatari. We learn a lot about the human mind and we learn about how people think. We learn about human themes. We learn about love, revenge, destiny, mercy, kindness, and compassion. We learn about human trouble and how experience can give us deep wisdom. We learn that we are part of a large beautiful world that is always changing.

Stories are important to teach us about human feeling. Stories are also important to teach us how to express our ideas and thinking. Stories teach us how to understand our own human heart.

Today we have a lot of computers, cell phones, and instant communication. Sometimes the technology is wonderful and a good tool to do work quickly. But sometimes the technology makes things look very simple, and there is not much feeling to the text or email messages we get. Reading and writing become too simple, and there are pictures inside the messages to express human feeling. But that messaging device is not as good as an old story. It is too simple. It is too cold. It does not have a deeper tone, and there is no human feeling in it. Cell phone messages are like instant ramen. It is maybe okay to eat, but it is not so delicious. An original story is much better, and much more like a healthy beautiful dinner. Original stories have all the flavors, and make you feel deeply satisfied when you finish.

I hope that you will always continue to read great books and great literature. It is important for you to know the old stories and to be able to understand them deeply. Literature is the gift we have from the past, and it is a great teacher for us to move to the future. With old stories we learn about the human heart, and we learn about other people too.

There is deep truth in the old stories. Read them with your own eyes. Discover the truth with your own heart.