AbstractFairytales are universal expressions that have been used in the nation-building process in both Norway and Japan. I have posed these questions; in what sense are they universal, and how have they been used. My hypothesis is that fairytales contain universal elements connected to the universality of myth, at the same time as they are marked by time, place and customs in the area they are found. I have three Japanese fairytales that I have compared with three Norwegian fairytales with the same AT-number. The fairytales are:AT 302:Momotaro, the Peach Boy and The ogre’s (devil’s) heart in the egg AT 425: Issun Boshi, One-Inch Boy and East of the sun West of the moon. AT 475: Urashima Taro and Friends in life and death.I have analyzed the fairytales in pairs as shown above. I have used Vladimir Propp’s 31 functions to break the tales into components and then I have used different key words to reveal different layers in the stories. Through structure and action, I have looked at the first layer in the fairytales that is connected to the similarities and the universality. The next layer is in between similarities and differences, and I have used the key word symbol images. The last layer is connected to differences and cultural references and the key words here are characters and their attributes. I have used the comparison to shed light on the similarities and differences, and then I have looked at how the Japanese fairytales have been used in the nation-building process in Japan in the Meiji-period through the key words identity and moral.The analysis shows that there are many similarities between the Norwegian and Japanese fairytales. These similarities are connected to the fairytales as a universal genre; they are connected to myths and a certain kind of moral that is visible through the abstract style of the fairytale. The symbols highlights some of the aspects with connections to the past, that were valuable in the nationbuilding process, as well as showing a link between the fairytale landscape and the landscape of dreams. The cultural references are the most important part of the fairytales in connection to the nation-building process: the cultural characteristics together with the moral in the stories, were among the elements which were used to create national identity in Norway and Japan.