The Fire-Fly’s Lovers: And Other Fairy Tales of Old Japan

by William Elliot Griffis

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William Elliot Griffis (1843-1928) served in the Union Army during the Civil War, then graduated from Rutgers University in 1869. He was a tutor for Taro Kusakabe, which opened up a world of opportunity for him in Japan. In 1870, he was invited to reorganize Japanese schools by Matsujapandaira Yoshinaga. Between 1870-74, Griffis taught science, wrote English language primers, and was an intermediary between the United States and Japan. He returned to the United States to complete his studies at the Union Theological Seminary in 1877, eventually earning a Doctor of Divinity in 1884. While he was active in the parish ministry, in 1903, he decided to resign so that he could focus on writing. He wrote not only on Japan, but also on Europe, particularly the Netherlands. His books included titles on Asiatic History; China, Korea and Japan — and collections of fairy tales, such as Swiss Fairy Tales, Belgian Fairy Tales, Korean Fairy Tales, and of course, the much enjoyed The Fire-Fly’s Lovers and Other Fairy Tales of Old Japan. This edition is dedicated to Francisco Alacantra, a later day emissary of the New World to the land of the rising sun.