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Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore

by Michael Dylan Foster and Shinonome Kijin University of California Press
Pub Date:
01/2015
ISBN:
9780520271029
Format:
Pbk 336 pages
Price:
AU$48.99 NZ$52.17
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Monsters, ghosts, fantastic beings, and supernatural phenomena of all sorts haunt the folklore and popular culture of Japan. Broadly labeled yokai, these creatures come in infinite shapes and sizes, from tengu mountain goblins and kappa water spirits to shape-shifting foxes and long-tongued ceiling-lickers. Currently popular in anime, manga, film, and computer games, many yokai originated in local legends, folktales, and regional ghost stories. Drawing on years of research in Japan, Michael Dylan Foster unpacks the history and cultural context of yokai, tracing their roots, interpreting their meanings, and introducing people who have hunted them through the ages. In this delightful and accessible narrative, readers will explore the roles played by these mysterious beings within Japanese culture and will also learn of their abundance and variety through detailed entries, some with original illustrations, on more than fifty individual creatures. The Book of Yokai provides a lively excursion into Japanese folklore and its ever-expanding influence within global popular culture. It invites readers to examine how people create, transmit, and collect folklore, and how they make sense of the mysteries in the world around them. By exploring yokai as a concept, we can better understand broader processes of tradition, innovation, storytelling, and individual and communal creativity.

List of Illustrations
Water Goblin Tales: Preface and Acknowledgments
Names, Dates, Places

Part I. Yokai Culture
1. Introducing Yokai
Yokai, Folklore, and This Book
The Language of Yokai
Event Becomes Object

2. Shape-Shifting History
Heroes of Myth and Legend
Weird Tales and Weird Tastes
Modern Disciplines
Postwar Animation and the Yokai Boom

3. Yokai Practice/Yokai Theory
Yokai Culture Network
Zone of Uncertainty

Part II. Yokai Codex
4. The Order of Yokai
5. Wilds
6. Water
7. Countryside
8. Village and City
9. Home

Epilogue: Monsterful

Notes
Bibliography
Alphabetized List of Yokai in the Codex
Index

"The Book of Yokai is a fascinating and enormously informative study... Foster's narrative is smooth and often humorous. The book is easy to read, and at the same time immensely informative on the complicated and varied ways yokai have existed throughout Japanese history."
Michael Dylan Foster is Associate Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. He is the author of Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai and numerous articles on Japanese folklore, literature, and media.

Shinonome Kijin is an artist and scholar of yokai. He lives and works in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.