Collection: Yei Theodora Ozaki

Yei Theodora Ozaki was born to one of the first Japanese aristocrats to study in England and the daughter of his tutor. While her parents’ marriage didn’t last, it afforded her the privileges of receiving a robust education and living with her father in Japan at sixteen. However, her parents’ experience made her unwilling to marry as her Japanese family wanted.

So, she gained her independence and used her mastery of English to teach. This was when she acquired her infatuation with Japan’s folklore. “The old stories had taken possession of me: they were a wonder, a joy, an exaltation, though I little imagined that I would ever write them down,” she is quoted as saying by her friend, Mary Crawford Fraser, in a biographical sketch from Warriors of Old Japan, and Other Stories.

Ozaki went on to write and publish her translations and adaptations of these in works like The Japanese Fairy Book, Romances of Old Japan, and Buddha’s Crystal and Other Fairy Stories. What motivated her to do it, as also quoted by Mary Crawford Fraser: “When I was last in England and Europe and found by the questions asked me that very mistaken notions about Japan, and especially about its women, existed generally, I determined if possible to write so as to dispel these wrong conceptions.”

Yei Theodora Ozaki