|Genre||Children's picture book|
|Publisher||Holt, Rinehart and Winston|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|LC Class||PZ8.1.M8346 Ti|
Tikki Tikki Tembo is a 1968 picture book written by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent.The book tells the story of a Chinese boy with a long name who falls into a well. It is an origin myth story about why Chinese names are so short today.
Tikki Tikki Tembo is set in ancient China and invents an ancient Chinese custom whereby parents honor their first-born sons with long, elaborate names that everyone is obliged to say completely –no nicknames, no shortening of any kind –while second-born sons are typically given short, unimportant names. A boy named Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo ("The Most Wonderful Thing in the Whole Wide World") and his little brother Chang ("Little or Nothing") are playing very close to a well at their house that their mother has warned them to avoid. Chang falls in the well and his older brother runs to their mother and tells her Chang has fallen down the well. Their mother tells him to get the Old Man with the Ladder. He goes and tells the Old Man. Chang is rescued and then recovers quickly. Some time later, the boys are again playing near the well. This time, the older brother falls in. Chang runs to their mother and tries to tell her that "Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well." At first, she cannot hear him so he says it again. However, because Chang is out of breath from running, he sputters and then mispronounces the name. His mother insists that he repeat the name—but with respect. He tries repeatedly until finally, his mother tells Chang to get the Old Man with the Ladder. Chang goes to the Old Man with the Ladder. Initially, the old man does not respond because he is asleep. When Chang tries to wake him up, the Old Man with the Ladder—annoyed—tries to fall back asleep. After Chang breathlessly repeats his brother's predicament, the Old Man goes with Chang to save his brother from the well. They get Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo from the well, but because of the long time he was in the well, it takes longer for him to recover. The end of the story says that this is why the Chinese have short names.
The book received accolades upon publication. The Kirkus Review found the illustrations to be "a skillful counterpoint of diminutive detail and spacious landscape and a fine setting for a sprightly folktale."The book won a 1968 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award in the Picture Book category.
In 1997, The New York Times selected it as one of the 59 children's books of the previous 50 years.In a 1999–2000 National Education Association online survey of children, the book was one of the "Kids' Top 100 Books". Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association listed the book as one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". In a 2008 online poll of "Top 100 Picture Books" by School Library Journal , the book ranked 35th; in a similar 2012 poll, the book ranked 89th. According to the publisher, over one million copies of the book had been sold by 2013.
The 2009 audio book version of the story received a Parents' Choice Foundation rating of "Approved".
Cultural activists and chinese citizens criticized the book for "reinforc[ing] the stereotype that Asian names sound like nonsense syllables",especially as the name of the title character is nothing like actual Chinese.
The publisher states that the author "first heard the story ... as a child" and that the book is "her own" retelling of it.There are previous stories also set in China. However, the story is thought to have originated in Japan rather than China.
Similar tales have been introduced to the United States several times.
In 1900, a poem "Teki-teki-no. A little Jap tragedy" by Jerome Davis Greene appeared on The Century Magazine .A child
drowns in the well. No sibling is mentioned in this version.Jerome Davis Greene was an American born in Yokohama, Japan. He moved to the United States and later became a businessman and organizer of Japanese studies.
Japanese Novelist Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto introduced a tale called "The long-life name" in a 1918 issue of the children's magazine Everyland. It tells that a child was given a long name, in a wish to live for long. But the child
drowns in the well. Sugimoto notes that she learned this tale during her childhood from her nurse.
In 1924, the National Association of Junior Chautauquas published a book that contained a story by an anonymous author entitled "Tiki-Tiki-Tembo"; the story concerned a boy "in old Japan" named:
and his neglected sibling "Choi". After falling into the well, the title character "never grew up to be a fine Japanese man." [ sic ] Japan, boys are given tiny short names such as 'Su', 'Foy', 'Wang', or 'Sing' ". There are some non-Japanese elements in this version. A book published in 1968 (the same year as Tikki Tikki Tembo) reprinted the 1924 version of the story.It concludes that "And now in old
An early instance of Chinese settingis a 1941 audio recording titled "Long-Name-No-Can-Say", adapted and narrated by Paul Wing. 1941 was in a time of strong anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States.
Another recording titled "Sticky Sticky Stembo" was written by Selma R. Rich in 1953.
There was a wave of publications through 1959 to 1961: a song by the Brothers Four, Shari Lewis's recording, a reissue of Paul Wing's recording, a book by Bryna Untermeyer, and possibly a narration on TV.
The Brothers Four's song "Sama Kama Wacky Brown" (lyrics by Ed Warren),from their eponymous first album in 1960, sings about
who "fell into the deep, dark well" and drowned.The song is sometimes called "Eddie Brown".
Lamb Chop's puppeteer Shari Lewisreleased a story record "Tiki Tiki Timbo" around 1959. In the song, the older brother's name is
and his younger brother is "Choi". Tiki Tiki Timbo drowns in the well.
The 1960 reissue of Paul Wing's "Long-Name-No-Can-Say" narrationis an omnibus with another fairytale that also has 7 supportive characters: Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
A story published in 1961, called "The Little Boy With the Long Name", featured an older brother named
named so in a belief that long name causes longevity. The story ends with the boy's death by drowning.The editor of this version is Bryna Ivens Untermeyer.
1967–1969 saw another wave: an LP record containing the 1961 Untermeyer's "Sticky Sticky Stumbo" version,Mosel's book, a reprint of the 1924 anonymous version, and Monty Python's TV show (1969 in UK, around 1974 in the US ).
Japanese folklore studies classify Tikki Tikki Tembo-like tales as tale type NMS 638 The Child with a Long Name. : 737
A typical specimen in Japanese folklore (reported in 1932):
Opinions vary regarding the similarity between NMS 638 The Child with a Long Name in Japan and folklore in other cultures. Keigo Seki assigns no equivalent Aarne–Thompson index (AT index), a comprehensive code system of European folktales.Koji Inada (folklorist) considers it partially similar to AT 1562A Barn is Burning. Inada finds no equivalent type indice in Korean folklore studies or in Chinese folklore studies. Folklorist D. L. Ashliman does not assign any AT index either, but remarks that the pattern in Tikki Tikki Tembo follows AT2021A The Death of the Little Hen .
A precursor, fables and jokes about people with long names, appeared at least by the 15th century. A manuscript written around 1490 has a fable about a nun who made up a "long" dharma name: "Ashakumyōkan", for herself. The manuscript is based on an earlier book of Buddhist fables. The nun's invention is a combination of Buddhist saints, deities and concepts. The moral is that such naming is a sign of greed, which is against Buddhist teachings.
An early full-formed version of The Child with a Long Name is the story published in 1703, "Yoku kara shizumu fuchi" ('Sunk down the waters for greed'), in a printed book of jokes created by rakugo comedian Yonezawa Hikohachi.
The punchline is a Japanese pun involving the word sambyaku.
A printed book of horror stories published in 1805 contains "Isshini imyōo tsukete kōkai seshi hanashi" ('A tale of a man who named his son with a strange name, and regretted it').
The story gives no explanation of the origin or meanings of "Tekitekini[...]". The book was written by a storywriter and storyteller with pen name Tozuisha.
Other early records of this name include an 1893 book of fairy tales, where the child's name is Nīteki surionbō[...], and a lullaby Tekiteki onbō[...] in an 1898 catalog of folk songs. Polymath Minakata Kumagusu reported in 1913 a tongue twister Chiki chiki onbō[...] he learned 30 years ago, although this was played as a tongue twister, not a tale.
" Jugemu " is a very popular version in Japan today as of 2005 [update] . It is a rakugo comedy, and a 1912 document suggests that it may have existed since the mid-19th century. Extant records of the name "Jugemu" date back to 1884, and the full story from 1912. A typical version in 2022 goes:
"Jugemu" differs from typical The Child with a Long Name-type tales in that Jugemu himself does not suffer at all.
According to a memoire published in 1927, there was another rakugo performed around the 1880s.
The punchline is a black humor relating Buddhist chants to Japanese funerals.
Systematic collection of Japanese folklore began in the 1910s.A summary compilation published in 1958 lists 66 samples of The Child with a Long Name-type folktales in Japan.
Examples of the short-named child's name are Chiyori (1914, folklore) and Chon (1921, children's literature).
Remarks like "That's why now people won't use too long names." can be seen in Japanese versions, such as a fairytale in an 1896 children's magazine.
Scholastic records released an LP record of the story in 1968.Weston Woods Studios produced a filmstrip and cassette tape version in 1970, which was later distributed on VHS and DVD.
Translations of the book include:
A 1965 pop rock song "(You Got) The Gamma Goochee" by Gamma Goochee Himself(John Mangiagli) chants
of "Long-Name-No-Can-Say". The song was covered by The Kingsmen (1965) : 23 such as The Persian Market (spelled "The Gamma Goochie"), and Joe Walsh (1991).which ranked #98 in Cashbox (magazine) singles. It was covered by other musicians too,
British comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus aired a sketch "Johann Gambolputty":
The episode was first aired in 1969 in the UK,and around 1974 in the U.S.
Japanese folktales are an important cultural aspect of Japan. In commonplace usage, they signify a certain set of well-known classic tales, with a vague distinction of whether they fit the rigorous definition of "folktale" or not among various types of folklore. The admixed impostors are literate written pieces, dating back to the Muromachi period or even earlier times in the Middle Ages. These would not normally qualify for the English description "folktales".
Kunio Yanagita was a Japanese author, scholar, and folklorist. He began his career as a bureaucrat, but developed an interest in rural Japan and its folk traditions. This led to a change in his career. His pursuit of this led to his eventual establishment of Japanese native folkloristics, or minzokugaku, as an academic field in Japan. As a result, he is often considered to be the father of modern Japanese folklore studies.
Jugemu (寿限無/じゅげむ) is a famous rakugo story, a form of Japanese spoken entertainment. It has a simple story, with the most humorous part being the repetition of a ridiculously long name. It is often used in training for rakugo entertainers.
Issun-bōshi is the subject of a fairy tale from Japan. This story can be found in the old Japanese illustrated book Otogizōshi. Similar central figures and themes are known elsewhere in the world, as in the tradition of Tom Thumb in English folklore.
Momotarō is a popular hero of Japanese folklore. His name is often translated as Peach Boy, but is directly translated as Peach + Tarō, a common Japanese given name. Momotarō is also the title of various books, films and other works that portray the tale of this hero.
Shinigami are kami that invite humans toward death in certain aspects of Japanese religion and culture. Shinigami have been described as monsters, helpers, and creatures of darkness. Shinigami are used for tales and religions in Japanese culture.
Bunbuku Chagama, literally "Bunbuku tea-kettle" is a Japanese folktale or fairy tale about a tanuki, that uses its shapeshifting powers to reward its rescuer for his kindness.
Zashiki-warashi, sometimes also called zashiki bokko, are spirit-like beings told about mostly in the Iwate Prefecture. They are said to be yokai that live in parlors or storage rooms, and that perform pranks, and that people who see one would be visited with good fortune. There are also legends of how they would bring fortune to families. They are also known from Kunio Yanagita's Tōno Monogatari, Ishigami Mondō, and stories about them appear in the 17th and 18th chapters of the Tōno Monogatari and the 87th chapter titled "Zashiki-warashi" of the Tōno Monogatari Shūi. In the 17th chapter, it is written "families with whom this spirit dwells become prosperous". In recent years, television programs and magazines have reported about various Iwate Prefecture ryokan where it is said to be possible to see a zashiki-warashi.
The bakeneko is a type of Japanese yōkai, or supernatural entity; more specifically, it is a kaibyō, or supernatural cat. It is often confused with the nekomata, another cat-like yōkai. The distinction between them is often ambiguous, but the largest difference is that the nekomata has two tails, while the bakeneko has only one.
Blair Lent, who sometimes wrote as Ernest Small, was an American illustrator and writer of children's books, perhaps best known for those with Chinese themes such as Tikki Tikki Tembo (1968). He won the 1973 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel. Lent used a wide range of techniques in his illustrations, including acrylic painting, cardboard cutouts, colored pencil and ink and wash.
Seiko Hashimoto is a Japanese politician, former speed skater and track cyclist. She has the most Olympic appearances of any Japanese athlete except Noriaki Kasai, representing her native country in four consecutive Winter Olympics from 1984 to 1994 and in three consecutive Summer Olympics from 1988 to 1996, making her a seven time Olympian. On top of her Olympic career, she is the mother of six children while working in politics and other leadership positions. She is currently a member of the House of Councillors from the Liberal Democratic Party, and serves as the President of the Japan Skating Federation.
Keigo Seki was a Japanese folklorist. He joined a group under Yanagita Kunio, but often came to different conclusions regarding the same folktales. Along with collecting and compiling folktales, Seki also arranged them into a series of categories.
Shippeitaro or Shippei Taro (German spelling: Schippeitaro; Japanese: しっぺい太郎 or 竹篦太郎 is the name of a helper dog in the Japanese fairy tale by the same name.
Mocomichi Hayami is a Japanese actor, chef, TV presenter, entrepreneur, and model.
Arlene Tichy Mosel was an American children's librarian who wrote the text for two award-winning children's picture books illustrated by Blair Lent Tikki Tikki Tembo won the annual Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Lent won the annual Caldecott Medal for The Funny Little Woman.
Utsuro-bune, also Utsuro-fune, and Urobune, was an unknown object that was allegedly washed ashore in 1803 in Hitachi province on the eastern coast of Japan. Utsuro means "hollow" and -bune means "boat". Accounts of the incident appear in four texts: Oushuku Zakki (1815), Toen Shōsetsu (1825), Hyōryū Kishū (1835) and Ume-no-chiri (1844).
Matsura Sayohime or Matsura no Sayohime or Matsuura Sayohime was a legendary heroine in Japanese mythology, the wife of the historical Ōtomo no Satehiko. She is referred to as Lady Otohi or Otohihime in an alternate ancient source.
Kibi dango is Japanese dumpling made from the meal or flour of the kibi grain. The treat was used by folktale-hero Momotarō to recruit his three beastly retainers, in the commonly known version of the tale.
"Kobutori Jiisan" translated directly as "Lump-Taken Old Man" is a Japanese Folktale about an old man who had his lump taken or removed by demons after joining a party of demons (oni) celebrating and dancing in the night.
Urikohime, Uriko-hime or Uriko Hime is a Japanese folktale about a girl that is born out of a melon, adopted by a family and replaced by a creature named Amanojaku.
This name [Tikki Tikki Tembo...] does not sound like Chinese, ancient or modern. As portrayed in illustrations, the buildings, the dress, and hairdo of the lady, and the clogs worn by children are in the Japanese rather than Chinese style.
Primary Performers:Paul Wing (speaker); Other Information:Release Date: 10/17/1941
Sticky Sticky Stembo; w m Selma R. Rich; (C) Sage Music, Inc.; 9Feb53; EU303370
Tiki Tiki Tembo; dramatized and narrated by Shirley Brown on TV. (C) Shirley B. Brown; 23Aug60(inner cover)
Sama Kama Wacky Brown; w Ed Warren, m George Goehring; (C) Joy Music, Inc.; 25Sep59; KU592340
Side 1: [...] The little boy with the long name (Bryna Ivens Untermeyer)
Episode 6 (Original air date: 23 Nov. 1969) Johann Gambolputty … of Ulm
(p.iv) This book has been produced from camera-ready copy provided by Asian Folklore Studies, Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan.
ATU 1562A "The Barn is Burning"
(You've got the) "Gamma Goochie"; w & m John Mangiagli
98 (You Got) THE GAMMA GOOCHEE Kingsmen – Wand 1107
The cicadelic 60's "never existed" (vol. 4) The gamma goochie (The Persian Market)