Reading Japan

"The Fugu Returns the Favor" by Tamaru Masatomo

"The Fugu Returns the Favor" author Tamaru Masatomo is recognized as a leading short story author of his generation. The story boldly reframes the famous Japanese folktale "The Crane Returns the Favor" with a young man living in contemporary Japan as the protagonist. In "The Crane Returns the Favor," a crane rescued by a hunter becomes a human to repay the favor. But the story ends sadly with the crane's departure after the hunter breaks the taboo against seeing her true form. This version features a fugu, which is a pufferfish. How is the fugu going to return the favor? What ending awaits the protagonist who rescued the fish? Enjoy the pop narrative tone that deftly reboots the folktale and the ending featuring contemporary choices made by the young couple.

Tamaru Masatomo, "The Fugu Returns the Favor"
(from Ocean-Colored Bottle, Shuppan Geijutsusha)