Literature

Monomyth: Hero's Journey Project

Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, developed in Hero With A Thousand Faces, describes the common heroic narrative in which a heroic protagonist sets out, has transformative adventures, and returns home. It is a useful formula for comparing literary traditions across time and culture.

Here, ORIAS provides resources to explore and compare three different works through the lens of the Monomyth: Mali's Sunjata, South Asia's Ramayana, and Japan's Yamato.

Yamato

Image of Yamato Takeru from 19th century woodblock print

The tales of Prince Yamato Takeru are told in the Japanese chronicles Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, and others. This image, from a 19th century woodblock print, depicts Yamato as he is about to set off on his adventures.

Migration & Diaspora

Summer Institute for Community College Teachers

May 31 - June 2, 2018

Ramayana Resources

Scene from the epic Ramayana: Kumbhakarna battles the monkeys, 1100-1200 CE, former kingdom of Angkor

Read summaries of the narrative, including one illustrated with art from different regions. See a beautiful digitized version of the tale. Watch a controversial modern film based on the epic.

Yamato Text Excerpts

These passages come from B.H. Chamberlain's 1882 translation of the Kojiki. The full text is available at sacred-texts.com.

Sundiata Plot Summary

This plot summary of the Sundiata epic organizes the tale using the Monomyth structure.


Call to Adventure

Yamato Bibliography of Sources

Literary Histories


Keene, Donald. Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century, New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1993.

Konishi, Jin'ichi. A History of Japanese Literature: Volume One. Trans. Aileen Gatten. Princeton: Princeton University press, 1984. (Chapter One: The Kojiki (33-61)).