Japan Supernatural takes readers on a journey of discovery of the astonishing array of yokai culture and yurei (ghosts) – phenomenal beings from fiendish goblins through to mischievous shapeshifters – that have inhabited Japanese culture for centuries. Once serving the purpose of explaining the unexplainable, they have been kept alive through folklore and legend in stories and artworks. While over time these creatures and characters have moved from being believed in to a form of entertainment ranging from horror to the comical they have maintained an ongoing presence in Japanese art and society in novels, films, anime, manga and games.
Drawn from around the world as well as the Gallery’s own collection, works date from the 1700s to 2019 and include fantastically detailed ukiyo-e woodblock prints, miniature netsuke (toggles), metres-long scrolls and large-scale contemporary photographs, paintings and installations. Some of the greatest Japanese artists of the past, including Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Kawanabe Kyosai, sit alongside contemporary artists Chiho Aoshima, Miwa Yanagi and Takahashi Murakami who update the tradition for our times.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Michael Brand • Preface: Listening today to a warning from the invisible world, Kataoka Mami • Japan supernatural: untangling realms beyond, Melanie Eastburn • From the past into the future: the enduring legacy of y-kai, Komatsu Kazuhiko • Y-kai, the fantastic beasts of Japan, Michael Dylan Foster • The persistence of y-rei, Zack Davisson • Strange seduction: Edo and Meiji supernatural art, Lucie Folan • Spirited objects: anthropomorphism in Japanese art, Chiaki Ajioka • What are our monsters today? A conversation with Takashi Murakami, Justin Paton • A who’s who of the supernatural world, Hiroko Yoda