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Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai

by Michael Dylan Foster University of California Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 312 pages
AU$62.99 NZ$64.35
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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Water sprites, mountain goblins, shape-shifting animals, and the monsters known as yôkai have long haunted the Japanese cultural landscape. This history of the strange and mysterious in Japan seeks out these creatures in folklore, encyclopedias, literature, art, science, games, manga, magazines, and movies, exploring their meanings in the Japanese cultural imagination and offering an abundance of valuable and, until now, understudied material. Michael Dylan Foster tracks yôkai over three centuries, from their appearance in seventeenth-century natural histories to their starring role in twentieth-century popular media. Focusing on the intertwining of belief and commodification, fear and pleasure, horror and humor, he illuminates different conceptions of the 'natural' and the 'ordinary' and sheds light on broader social and historical paradigmsand ultimately on the construction of Japan as a nation.

List of Illustrations
Note on Japanese Names and Terms

1. Introduction to theWeird
2. Natural History of theWeird: Encyclopedias, Spooky Stories, and the Bestiaries of Toriyama Sekien
3. Science of theWeird: Inoue EnryO, Kokkuri, and Human Electricity
4. Museum of theWeird: Modernity, Minzokugaku, and the Discovery of YOkai
5. Media of theWeird: Mizuki Shigeru and Kuchi-sake-onna
6. YOkai Culture: Past, Present, Future


Michael Dylan Foster is Assistant Professor of Folklore and East Asian Cultures at Indiana University.