This little tale, involving eighty-one princes and a hare, can be found in the oldest surviving chronicle of Japan, the Kojiki, which dates from the early-8th century. Collected and edited by the Japanese nobleman Ō no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Genmei, the Kojiki is a collection of myths that tell the origin of the four main islands of Japan.
This particular story – illustrated here and retold in English – involves a mistreated hare, a bridge of crocodiles, eighty mean brothers, one good brother, and a beautiful princess. In Japanese folklore, the hare is believed to be able to live up to a thousand years, with its fur turning white at the age of 500 years.
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