Many years ago, in the time they call kodai, in a province of the north there was a powerful prince called Koshaku who had a beautiful daughter Yukishiroi, which means ‘white as snow.’ His young second wife Akujo was jealous of Yukishiroi.

Koshaku was growing old, and Akujo feared that when he died Yukishiroi would marry one of many powerful warrior suitors and she would be displaced.

Now, Akujo had a secret lover, a councillor called Yashinteki which means ‘ambitious’, and they planned to get rid of Yukishiroi and he would take the province over when Koshaku died.

One autumn day, Yukishiroi was in her zen garden, amid the rocks, when she was seized by two soldiers, blindfolded and bound. She was carried into the countryside and dropped into a deep mineshaft.

What they did not know was that the miners had stretched a net across the shaft to protect them from falling rocks and Yukishiroi’s fall was arrested.

Suddenly Yukishiroi was aware of high-pitched voices and her blindfold was removed. Ladders were hooked into place and one of the voices asked, ‘Can you climb up the ladder? I will go first to make sure it is safe.’

She climbed the ladder and stepped into the autumn sunlight. She realised that six more people had followed her and that they were very short and fearsomely ugly.

One, who appeared to be the leader said, ‘Who are you in your fine clothes?’

She replied, ‘I am Princess Yukishiroi, and who might my rescuers be?’

The leader bowed so low that his nose touched his boot.’ Denka-san, we are but humble Waku miners. I am Isha.’ He touched the other six in turn, who bowed equally low. ‘This is Tanki, Tanoshi-ge, Nemuidesu, Hanikamu, Kushami, and Baka. May I ask what brings you here?’

Yukishiroi recounted her kidnapping.

‘Denka-san, allow us to take you home. We have but a humble coal cart and you are so white.’

‘I will be very pleased to ride in your cart,’ smiled Yukishiroi.

Yashinteki committed harikari and Koshaku divorced and banished Akujo to a distant province forever.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
9 months ago

Oh a different take and culture of Snow White- very interesting. I tried to research the names but had no luck. Where did you find this version?

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
9 months ago

What a unique and brilliant story of a Japanese version of Snow white. Skillfully done, Allan. 

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Allan Neil
9 months ago

You’re welcome, Allan. So proud of your very brilliant imagination and ideas. Well done.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
9 months ago

I really like how you have narrated this story, Allen. A new twist on an old fairy tale with such magical character names. And a happy ending (except for Yashinteki and Akujo), what more could we ask? Lovely!

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
9 months ago

I loved your revisiting of the Snowhite story. No poisoned apple here but powerful none the less!

Bella Minyo
Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
9 months ago

As a student learning the Japanese language, my heart was filled with joy reading your story and all the names! It makes me so excited to see stories influenced and other renditions from Japan. It was a truly wonderful short story to read, Allan!

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