Elizabeth Lee

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-2-2013

Major Department or Program

Asian Studies


Yukiko Shigeto


The mountain crone, or yamamba , is a well - known monster in Japanese folktales. An eerie old woman living in the mountains, she chases down humans and gobbles them up. The yamamba has haunted the Japanese imagination and appears in both pre - modern and modern stories. Ohba Minako (1930 - 2 007), one of Japan’s most well - respected woman writers, brings back the yamamba as a devoted wife in her short story, “The Smile of a Mountain Witch” (1976). Previous analy s es of Ohba’s protagonist tend to either reduce her identity to a neat explanation o r tritely comment on her complexity. My study, however, explores the ways in which Ohba rewrites the yamamba myth on both the narrative and narratological levels. She not only revises the characters within the tales but the entire structure and tradition o f yamamba mythology. This thesis draw s mainly from Alicia Ostriker’s concept of “revisionist mythmaking” and Kathy Mezei’s interpretation of feminist narratology.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Protagonists (Persons) in literature -- Analysis, Alicia Ostriker -- Revisionist mythmaking, Kathy Mezei (1947- ) -- Feminist narratology, Yama-uba (Legendary character) --Yamauba -- Yamamba -- Yamanba, Minako Oba -- Novels -- Selections -- The Smile of a Mountain Witch, Minako Oba -- Criticism and interpretation, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2013 -- Asian Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Terms of Use

If you have questions about permitted uses of this content, please contact the ARMINDA administrator



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).