The Bewitched Doctor, a Children’s Tale adapted from Japanese Rakugo by Feng Zikai
96 , 2016-03 , 東京大学東洋文化研究所
Feng Zikai’s "The Bewitched Doctor" (Boshi jian gui, 1947) is a tale adapted from a classical Japanese rakugo story "Tsukiya Kobei". Feng always aspired to works that had a good influence upon the reader, rather than those which were "interesting but lacked meaning", and frequently hid a moral in them. In order to adapt a funny story from Edo period Japan as a tale for postwar Chinese children, and to hide a moral in them, he spent a lot of effort on the setting, the personality and occupations of the characters, and the ending. What then was the moral Feng wanted to impart to readers of "The Bewitched Doctor"? It was that it was foolish to be influenced by superstition and unscientific thinking, as well as by the values of a former age and commonly accepted social ideas. While "The Bewitched Doctor" is an adaptation of the rakugo story "Tsukiya Kobei", it was also influenced by Lu Xun’s novella "New Year Sacrifice" (Zhufu, 1924) . Dr. Lin and his second wi fe, the main characters of the tale, are intellectuals with a modern education, but they are bound by the values of a former age and commonly accepted social ideas as they are tormented by the ghost of the first wife, an apparition that is born of their own minds. In that they are victims of old fashioned values and superstitions, they share a similarity with Xiang Lin Sao, the hapless widow in "New Year Sacrifice". In "The Bewitched Doctor", Feng writes of the dangers of a person, though an intellectual of the new age, abandoning the ability to think and becoming a victim just like Xiang Lin Sao. He advocates, especially to the children of the new age, the importance of thinking logically for themselves and not being swayed by accepted ideas and long-held beliefs.