Urashima Tarō

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Portrait of Urashima Tarō by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

The name Urashima Tarō first appears in the 15th century (the Muromachi period), in a genre of illustrated popular fiction known as otogizōshi; however, the story itself is much older, dating back to the 8th century (the Nara Period). Older sources such as Nihon Shoki, Man'yōshū Plantilla:Cite book</ref> and Tango no Kuni Fudoki (丹後国風土記) refer to Urashima Tarō as Urashimako. The change from Urashimako to Urashima Tarō reflects a shift in Japanese naming customs; while the suffix -ko ("child") was originally used in both male and female names, in medieval times it was largely restricted to female names, and replaced by -tarō ("great youth") in male names. The story bears a striking similarity to folktales from other cultures, including the Irish legend of Oisín and the earlier Chinese legend of Ranka.

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