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Mizuki Shigeru : Obakemono Maestro


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Mizuki Shigeru (b. 1924) is a household name in Japan predominantly due to his long-running and widely popular animation series Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro which followed the humanitarian and educational adventures of Kitaro, a young boy born and raised amidst a community of obakemono (monsters). Over the years Mizuki has distinguished himself as perhaps the foremost authority on traditional Japanese monsters, ghouls and ghosts and has published countless books filled with his entertaining and good-natured drawings.

My order of several of his latest publications just came in and I hope to soon pass along some of what they contain.


Here are the books I was talking about:

Tsukimono Hyakkai - vol 1 [Study of Possessing Spirits - Vol 1]

This is just a classic example of my oft repeated assertion that Japan is SERIOUSLY FREAKY regarding the amount of (real) traditional superstition is has floating around its cultural core. I mean, just try looking for a humorous cartoon edition of by a Western author of an encyclopedia of spirits traditionally believed to latch onto unsuspecting folk. I lived in Japan a while and fairly absorbed its almost whimsical view of the supernatural, but I have now been back (in the US) long enough to get a little wide-eyed when translating some of these titles. To Japanese audiences, these titles are wholly innocuous and well-received but they still tend to jar me back into recognizing a considerable cultural divide regarding the supernatural.

In any event, this is a wonderfully (color) illustrated collection of 63 historical (and geographically located) tales of ghosts and goblins. Each illustration is accompanied by the (often impressive) history of the "yokai" and the historical literature, eras and locations it/they are (traditionally) said to have been seen.

As you can see, its all in Japanese and so it will take me a while (and effort) to translate this into something palpable for you.


Tsukimono Hyakkai - vol 2 [Study of Possessing Spirits - Vol 2]

See above, then apply to volume 2.


Yokai Dai Hyakki [Encyclopedia of Ghosts/Monsters]

Yokai Dai Zukai [Illustrated Guide to Ghosts/Monsters]

For more background on Mizuki, check out this interview he gave to The Japan Times


2 Comments


Hi, I would like to purchase copies of the Yoaki Dai Hyakki and the two other realted Yokai books by Mizuki Shigeru. I contacted Kinokuniya in Japan and asked about these books. hat other sources can you suggest? Thanks, Brad Blakely, sculptor


Can you tell me what is the name of the holiday in old Japan when household objects come to life to
haunt housewives who do not keep a tidy house? Hokusai illustrated these bakemono goblins. The
most famous of these is the washtub that grows arms and brandishes a scrub brush ,chasing the
housewife around the house. I have seen old netsuke of this subject and other household obake.
thanks, Bradford Blakely, WOODSTONEANDBONE.com

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