Japan Supernatural: Ghost, Goblins, and Monsters, 1700 to Now

Type: Books

Melanie Eastburn

Paperback, 312 pages

From the pioneering work of eighteenth-century painter Toriyama Sekien to contemporary superstar Takashi Murakami, Japan Supernatural presents wildly imaginative works by Japanese artists past and present and takes readers on a journey of discovery through the astonishing array of yōkai culture and yūrei (ghosts)―phenomenal beings from fiendish goblins to mischievous shapeshifters―that have inhabited Japanese culture for centuries. Once a means of explaining the unexplainable, they have been kept alive in stories and artworks. Evolving into a form of entertainment ranging from horror to the comical, they have maintained an ongoing presence in Japanese novels, films, anime, manga, and games.


Drawn from around the world, the artworks illustrated in Japan Supernatural date from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century and include fantastically detailed ukiyo-e woodblock prints, miniature netsuke, wall-sized 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, are featured alongside contemporary artists such as Chiho Aoshima, Miwa Yanagi, and Takahashi Murakami, who update the tradition for the present.