Urashima Taro

Once upon a time, there was a fisher man called Urashima Taro. One day, he sees kids bullying a turtle on the beach. Taro feels sorry for the turtle, and tells kids to leave the turtle alone. After he saves the turtle, it comes to Taro and thanks him for saving. Turtle takes Taro to Ryugujyo (dragon’s castle)in the deep sea. Princess of the castle invites Taro and thanks him for saving the turtle. She throws a party that lasts for 7 days and eventually Taro falls in love with princess and marry. Taro lives with her under the sea for 3 years and decides to leave the castle temporarily to tell his parents about the life of Ryugujyo. When he leaves the castle, princess gives him Tamete bako (a squared shaped box) and tells him not to open the box. He goes back to the beach and visits his parent’s house but there was nothing where his house was supposed to be. Urashima Taro asks strangers where his parents are and the stranger tells him that they died almost 300 years ago. Taro sees his parents’ grave stone and finally realizes that the time spent in Ryugujyo was much slower. He gets depressed and feels hopeless because there is no one he knows. Depressed Taro opens Tamatebako to see if there are any clues. Once he opens the box, smoke comes out from the box and turns him to an old guy. Taro sees his old face through the reflection of sea and dies from shock.


This story is very difficult to interpret because it seems there is no meaning in the story. Taro who did right things by helping the bullied turtle eventually die from shock. However, there are alternate endings in some regions. Alternate endings such as Taro becomes a crane after opening tamatebako, or Taro tries to marry with another woman and dies after he opens Tamatebako haunted by Dragon princess. It could be interpreted that  Taro finally becomes a part of god after opening the box.