Endless battle of the Monkeys and the Crabs

Or: no blood for persimmon juice!

There is an old story in Japanese folklore which is told to teach the following lesson: “If a man thinks only of his own profit, and tries to benefit himself at the expense of others, he will incur the hatred of Heaven.” The story is called Battle of the Monkey and the Crab and there are many versions, which though different in their particulars, share that same nugget of implied wisdom. Just recently I came upon a version of the story which deviates from the norm enough to be not only a broad lesson in human nature but strangely applicable to modern events as well. Creepily applicable you might say. I’ve transcribed it below…



Superb allegory! We all know who this is really about: soccer hooligans.

posted on 06.14 at 08:25 PM.


Those forgetful crabs…. Tsk, tsk. I wonder how the persimmons feel being the lubricant in the machine of war? Sweet to the taste, but deadly to any Crab-society’s metabolism if used long term…

Persimmons are a highly seasonal fruit out here in Japan. Shame that some allegorical details don’t reflect out into the real world.

posted on 06.14 at 10:40 PMMr.Danieru


Eventually, the crabs decided to devote their attention to alternative forms of persimmon fruit while the monkeys learned how to share their jungle with their “brothers of a different mother” to their mutual cultural and economic advancement.

Well, that’s how I’d like to see the story end, anyway.

Sigh. Patience…

posted on 06.14 at 11:27 PMAl.


Allegory don’t got no big boom device in the hands of the crabs which would incinerate all the monkeys and leave the tree and the persimmons intact.  Then all the crabs would have to do is figure out how to climb the tree to get to the persimmons, and since the crabs have been to the moon, surely that would not be any big deal.

All and all a highly unsatisfactory, biased and lacking allegory.

posted on 06.16 at 10:04 PM.


i’m intrigued by the illustrations - are they prints?  what kind, how did you find them, etc?  they are exquisite.  obviously, i’m a more image-oriented person.

posted on 03.19 at 05:22 PM.


The animal world is rough, Al. I’m sure you’d want that to happen, but to be honest, I don’t see the ending that way, it’s just as it was presented, cruel and endless.

posted on 02.25 at 04:43 PMNouveau Riche University

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.
return to the front page