Mimei Ogawa

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Mimei Ogawa (小川 未明, Ogawa Mimei, born Ogawa Kensaku in 1882 in Joetsu, Niigata, died 1961 in Tokyo) was an author of short stories, children's stories, and fairy tales.


Ogawa studied at the Faculty of English Literature at Waseda University, where he graduated in 1905. That same year, Ogawa published his first literary work. Waseda University was at that time the center of the Japanese Naturalism movement. In 1910 Ogawa published his first fairy tale.


Ogawa is known in Japan as the founder of modern children's literature.[1] Ogawa has been called Japan's Hans Christian Andersen.[by whom?] Ogawa often chose everyday scenarios for his children's stories. Two of his most famous stories are The Mermaid and the Red Candles and The Cow Woman. The Cow Woman, published in 1919, described a mother whose soul could not rest after her death, because her son was left in wretched poverty. The mother appears to her son in different apparitions to help lead him down the right path.

Ogawa's stories often incorporate religious and philosophical symbolism and the cycle of life. The death of creatures is not final, but is instead just the opportunity to appear in a different form, such as in The Cow Woman.


  1. ^ Karatani, Kōjin (1993). Origins of Modern Japanese Literature. Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822313236.

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