Thursday, November 1, 2012


Yokai are monstrous creatures prevalent in Japanese folklore, mythology, and indigenous animism. They appear in many shaps, forms and identities, typically portrayed as grotesque ghouls. At times, some invisible phenomenon, which could be perhaps a fabrication of the awe-struck mind, encountering Nature. These enigmatic beings are unique and strange iconographic figures that span several epochs of Japanese history. They have been depicted in the picture scrolls as early as 12c. and seem to resurface during important periods in Japan's history.

However for many people, word yokai calls up images of the rampaging creatures in scroll paintings and woodblock prints of the Edo Period, this fantastic realm is not merely a relict of the past. Even now they continue to be extremely popular characters in Japanese pop culture, showing up in literature, manga and animation. My first encounter with yokai was through the collection of Yumoto Koichi, a yokai researcher who over a period of 30 years mount a collection of 3,000 items, which a small portion was presented at Yokohama Triennale last year and ever since have been haunting my imagination.

All the images are coming from the Yokai Manga published by Seigensha. Happy Halloween!

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