Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Kusazoshi

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic. This year, my second year with A to Z, I’ll cover writing genres.

Today’s genre:



Kusazoshi: various genres of popular woodblock-printed illustrated literature during the Japanese Edo Period (1600-1868) and early Meiji period. Many picture books named  “Kusazoshi” were published for children. As time passed, they expanded to boys and girls and finally adults but some might consider them ribald books.


  1. Base your story on Japanese folk tales.
  2. Include text and pictures, with pictures predominating.
  3. Usually, co-write this book with a novelist writing the story and an illustrator drawing the pictures.
  4. There are often monsters in these stories, with the purpose of surprising people.
  5. Focus on common topics (such as husband and wife quarreling, revenge), made interesting by the words and pictures.

I had a lot of difficulty with this genre. I don’t believe anyone writes it anymore, it being more of an ancient genre (1600-1800s). I would have skipped it but it is interesting historically–and how many K genres are there?

Here’s an example:

Popular Books

  • Ninso Tenohira Roya San Mitoshi Sajiki, written and illustrated by Santo Kyoden
  • Oni Kojima Homare no Adauchi, written by Shikitei Sanba and illustrated by Utagawa Toyokuni
  • Keisei Suikoden, written by Kyokutei Bakin and illustrated by Utagawa Kuniyasu

Click for complete list of  2018 A to Z genres

More K Genres:


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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


56 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Kusazoshi

  1. Hi Jacqui – I wonder if Hokusai got some of his ideas for his art from this movement – I’m not going to investigate. I saw the Hokusai exhibition before I left England … it was amazing – but packed to the brim with people!! I didn’t write about it .. .because … a long story – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh! You’ve reminded me of a book that was given to me by my Grandmother about a set of Japanese twins. I’m sure it was one she used in her one-room schoolhouse teaching days and I dearly loved it as a child. I’m pretty sure half the reason I loved it so much was those pictures like the ones you have in this post. Now I’m going to have to search for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes. Last year’s K–Kitchen Sink–was fun. It made a lot of sense. I have another oddball one lined up for next year. It helps to find the genre in the original language rather than English. German has my K words than we do!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t mind dating myself by saying I remember the Kitchen Sink style of theater you aptly describe, but don’t remember hearing the name. Back then it enthralled me initially – I thought it was humor. Soon enough it seemed more like whining and I returned to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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