The Book of Yokai

Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore

The Book of Yokai

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 on global popular culture. It also 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.

Japanese Legends and Folklore

Samurai Tales, Ghost Stories, Legends, Fairy Tales, Myths and Historical Accounts

Japanese Legends and Folklore

Japanese Legends and Folklore invites English speakers into the intriguing world of Japanese folktales, ghost stories and historical eyewitness accounts. With a fascinating selection of stories about Japanese culture and history, A.B. Mitford—who lived and worked in Japan as a British diplomat—presents a broad cross section of tales from many Japanese sources. Discover more about practically every aspect of Japanese life—from myths and legends to society and religion. This book features 30 fascinating Japanese stories, including: The Forty-Seven Ronin—the famous, epic tale of a loyal band of Samurai warriors who pay the ultimate price for avenging the honor of their fallen master. The Tongue-Cut Sparrow—a good-hearted old man is richly rewarded when he begs forgiveness from a sparrow who is injured by his spiteful, greedy wife. The Adventures of Little Peach Boy—a tale familiar to generations of Japanese children, a small boy born from a peach is adopted by a kindly childless couple. Japanese Sermons—a selection of sermons written by a priest belonging to the Shingaku sect, which combines Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian teachings. An Account of Hara-Kiri—Mitford's dramatic first person account of a ritual Samurai suicide, the first time it had been reported in English. Thirty-one reproductions of woodblock prints bring the classic tales and essays to life. These influential stories helped shape the West's understanding of Japanese culture. A new foreword by Professor Michael Dylan Foster sheds light on the book's importance as a groundbreaking work of Japanese folklore, literature and history.

Pandemonium and Parade

Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai

Pandemonium and Parade

Monsters known as yōkai 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 imagination over three centuries.

The Folkloresque

Reframing Folklore in a Popular Culture World

The Folkloresque

This volume introduces a new concept to explore the dynamic relationship between folklore and popular culture: the “folkloresque.” With “folkloresque,” Foster and Tolbert name the product created when popular culture appropriates or reinvents folkloric themes, characters, and images. Such manufactured tropes are traditionally considered outside the purview of academic folklore study, but the folkloresque offers a frame for understanding them that is grounded in the discourse and theory of the discipline. Fantasy fiction, comic books, anime, video games, literature, professional storytelling and comedy, and even popular science writing all commonly incorporate elements from tradition or draw on basic folklore genres to inform their structure. Through three primary modes—integration, portrayal, and parody—the collection offers a set of heuristic tools for analysis of how folklore is increasingly used in these commercial and mass-market contexts. The Folkloresque challenges disciplinary and genre boundaries; suggests productive new approaches for interpreting folklore, popular culture, literature, film, and contemporary media; and encourages a rethinking of traditional works and older interpretive paradigms. Contributors: Trevor J. Blank, Chad Buterbaugh, Bill Ellis, Timothy H. Evans, Michael Dylan Foster, Carlea Holl-Jensen, Greg Kelley, Paul Manning, Daniel Peretti, Gregory Schrempp, Jeffrey A. Tolbert

Encyclopedia of Beasts and Monsters in Myth, Legend and Folklore

Encyclopedia of Beasts and Monsters in Myth, Legend and Folklore

“Here there be dragons”—this notation was often made on ancient maps to indicate the edges of the known world and what lay beyond. Heroes who ventured there were only as great as the beasts they encountered. This encyclopedia contains more than 2,200 monsters of myth and folklore, who both made life difficult for humans and fought by their side. Entries describe the appearance, behavior, and cultural origin of mythic creatures well-known and obscure, collected from traditions around the world.

Seven Demon Stories from Medieval Japan

Seven Demon Stories from Medieval Japan

In Japanese culture, oni are ubiquitous supernatural creatures who play important roles in literature, lore, and folk belief. Characteristically ambiguous, they have been great and small, mischievous and dangerous, and ugly and beautiful over their long history. Here, author Noriko Reider presents seven oni stories from medieval Japan in full and translated for an English-speaking audience. Reider, concordant with many scholars of Japanese cultural studies, argues that to study oni is to study humanity. These tales are from an era in which many new oni stories appeared for the purpose of both entertainment and moral/religious edification and for which oni were particularly important, as they were perceived to be living entities. They reflect not only the worldview of medieval Japan but also themes that inform twenty-first-century Japanese pop and vernacular culture, including literature, manga, film, and anime. With each translation, Reider includes an introductory essay exploring the historical and cultural importance of the characters and oni manifestations within this period. Offering new insights into and interpretations of not only the stories therein but also the entire genre of Japanese ghost stories, Seven Demon Stories is a valuable companion to Reider’s 2010 volume Japanese Demon Lore. It will be of significant value to folklore scholars as well as students of Japanese culture.

UNESCO on the Ground

Local Perspectives on Intangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO on the Ground

For nearly 70 years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has played a crucial role in developing policies and recommendations for dealing with intangible cultural heritage. What has been the effect of such sweeping global policies on those actually affected by them? How connected is UNESCO with what is happening every day, on the ground, in local communities? Drawing upon six communities ranging across three continents—from India, South Korea, Malawi, Japan, Macedonia and China—and focusing on festival, ritual, and dance, this volume illuminates the complexities and challenges faced by those who find themselves drawn, in different ways, into UNESCO’s orbit. Some struggle to incorporate UNESCO recognition into their own local understanding of tradition; others cope with the fallout of a failed intangible cultural heritage nomination. By exploring locally, by looking outward from the inside, the essays show how a normative policy such as UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage policy can take on specific associations and inflections. A number of the key questions and themes emerge across the case studies and three accompanying commentaries: issues of terminology; power struggles between local, national and international stakeholders; the value of international recognition; and what forces shape selection processes. With examples from around the world, and a balance of local experiences with broader perspectives, this volume provides a unique comparative approach to timely questions of tradition and change in a rapidly globalizing world.

Haunted Japan

Exploring the World of Japanese Yokai, Ghosts and the Paranormal

Haunted Japan

A delightfully creepy telling of Japanese ghost stories. Japanese folklore is abundant with tales of ghostly creatures and the supernatural. In Haunted Japan, author Catrien Ross reveals the legends that have been passed down for generations and continue to terrify us today. To research this book on the country's ghosts, demons and paranormal phenomena, Ross collected accounts from across Japan including: Sacred Mount Osore, a Japanese gateway to the land of the dead, where people gather to contact those who have passed on The Tokyo grave of the samurai Taira no Masakado, where passersby regularly witnessed his ghost until prayers finally laid him to rest The mummified remains of the monk Tetsumonkai at the Churenji Temple on Mount Yudono—a place where bizarre happenings are common The ruins of Hachioji Castle in Tokyo, which was abandoned for many years because of its many hauntings The result is an unparalleled insight into the dark corners of the Japanese psyche—a world filled with horrifying creatures including Oni (demons with fierce and ghastly appearances), Yurei (Japanese ghosts who inhabit the world of the living), and Yokai (supernatural monsters). The book also includes several traditional Japanese legends, concluding with two of the most famous ghost stories—that of the wronged wife Oiwa and the tale of the Peony Lantern. This book is richly illustrated with 32 pages of full-color prints of frightening ghosts and legendary creatures from Japan's shadowy past. Haunted Japan is the ideal book for anyone interested in exploring the darker side of Japanese history.

Monumenta Nipponica

Monumenta Nipponica

Includes section "Reviews".