The Buddhist Tales of India, China, and Japan: Chinese Section contains translations of one hundred and seventy-four stories in the section of China from Konjaku mogatarish?, the largest story collection in Japan, dating from the early twelfth century. The original work contains more than one thousand tales of India, China, and Japan. The fantastic assortment of characters in the work reminds one of Hore de Balzac's The Human Comedy whose nearly two thousand characters include all types and classes of people. The characters in the Konjaku may exceed this number since they include t only human beings, but also animals, plants, ghosts, spirits and demons, t to mention celestial beings such as Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other deities which are certainly absent from The Human Comedy.
Yoshiko Kurata Dykstra was born in Nishinomiya near Nara and Kyoto. After graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University, Mrs. Dykstra received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California where she taught for several years. She also taught at the Kansai Gadai University in Osaka, Japan before she was invited as a Numata Chair professor at the University of Hawai?i, M?noa in 2006. She is currently retired in Honolulu. Her major fields include Buddhist narratives and comparative folk literature.