In the Deep, Dark Woods: Little Red Riding Hood and intersemiotic translations and adaptations in contemporary Japanese art and fiction


  • Jaiden Dembo Simon Fraser University


topic 2, japanese, fairy tale, little red riding hood


Little Red Riding Hood is one of the most prolific fairy tales across the globe, having been translated and adapted hundreds of times over and across cultures. Charles Perrault and the brothers Grimm’s versions work as foundational texts for which translators base their interpretations off of. Taking “Little Red Riding Hood” far East to Japan this paper examines the extremes of how contemporary artists have translated and altered a familiar tale and brought gender, sex and sexuality, and feminism into question. Kōnoeike Tomoko’s visual art Knifer Life and Ōkamizukin (Wolf Hood), and Yamada Izumi’s short story “In the Belly of the Wolf” are intersemiotic translations and adaptations that build on the original darkness of the European version with their own darkness. By analyzing these works through structuralist narratology and assessing how far and in what manner they diverge from the source text, we can explore the conflicting binary of female empowerment and objectification, the question of intended audience, and whether these translations are considered feminist (or what).