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 paradigms—and 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.
“The book has an extensive set of notes that explore in detail various aspects of the main discussion, a thorough bibliography, and a good index.”—James H. Grayson Folklore
"At once playful and profound, scholarly and scintillating, Pandemonium and Parade
not only records but also enacts the uncanny presence of yokai in Japanese history. Seen through the lens of yokai, this book richly considers how the passing of time evokes both awe and anxiety."—Anne Allison, author of Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination
Chicago Folklore Prize, American Folklore Society