The cover of Ukrainian folktale Kotyhoroshko in Japanese. 

Culture of Ukraine

Editor’s Note

The Embassy of Ukraine in Japan together with Ukrainian and Japanese artists and translators prepared a publication of the Ukrainian folk tale Kotyhoroshko in Japanese.

Kotyhoroshko, a boy born from peas who has extraordinary strength, goes to free his brothers and sister from Snake’s custody. Cossacks-kharakternyks (warriours with a superpower) Vernyhora, Vernydub, and Krutyvus help in his quest.


Kotyhoroshko uprooting an oak.

The project was implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan Serhiy Korsunsky notes:

“The Japanese are a nation that reads a lot, which is why we wanted to implement one of our cultural projects in the field of literature. The folk epic is a great opportunity to get to know each other and strengthen the positive image of Ukraine in Japan, as well as to tell the Japanese young generation about our culture and traditions. I hope that we will soon be able to see this publication on the shelves of children’s libraries in Japan. “


Krutyvus, one of Cossack from the Kotyhoroshko Ukrainian folk fairy tale had his power in his mustache.

Kotyhoroshko saves his syster and brothers ~

Kotyhoroshko saves his syster and brothers

The translation of the fairy tale was prepared by Ukrainian linguist Ivan Dziub. Professor of Kobe University Gakuin Yoshihiko Okabe and a lecturer at Lviv Polytechnic University Nadiya Horal helped to edit the translation and adapt it for Japanese readers. Ukrainian artist Zoia Skoropadenko painted illustrations for this edition. She has been working closely with Japanese partners for many years.

Violetta Udovik, project coordinator of the translation of Kotyhoroshko in Japanese. ~

Violetta Udovik, project coordinator of the translation of Kotyhoroshko in Japanese.

So, by joint efforts, we were able to prepare a very interesting and useful work, which embodies the Ukrainian-Japanese friendship. In my opinion, Kotyhoroshko could compete in popularity with another very popular in Japan Ukrainian folk tale translated to Japanese — The Glove, because it is a kind of analog of the Japanese national hero Momotaro,” says project coordinator Violetta Udovik.

Momotaro similar to Kotyhoroshko

Momotaro coming out of a peach. A similar to Kotyhoroshko Japanese fairy tale. Source: wikipedia

The book will be distributed to all libraries in Japan.

The PDF version of the book is already available here, on the web page of Zoia Skoropadenko.

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