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Japan Supernatural

Ghosts, Goblins and Monsters 1700s to now

written by Melanie Eastburn

Art Gallery of NSW | ISBN 9781741741469

Paperback – 312 pages

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Japan supernatural presents wildly imaginative works by Japanese artists past and present – from the pioneering work of the 18th-century painter Toriyama Sekien to contemporary superstar Takashi Murakami.

Japan Supernatural takes readers on a journey of discovery of the astonishing array of yōkai (supernatural beings) and yūrei (ghosts) – from fiendish goblins through to mischievous shapeshifters – that have inhabited Japanese culture for centuries. Once a means to explain the unexplainable, they have been kept alive through folklore, legends and artworks. Over time these creatures and characters have maintained an ongoing presence in Japanese art and society in novels, films, anime, manga and games, ranging from horror to the comical. The tradition is even evident in the practice of avoiding or embracing renting an apartment that is said to be inhabited by ghosts.

Essays by Melanie Eastburn, Chiaki Ajioka, Zack Davisson, Lucie Folan, Michael Dylan Foster, Komatsu Kasuhiko and Hiroko Yoda, and an interview with Takashi Murakami by Justin Paton, will enlighten and fascinate readers alongside the wealth of illustrations from collections around the world including the Gallery’s own rich collection. Images include fantastically detailed ukiyo-e woodblock prints, miniature netsuke, long scrolls, photographs, paintings and installations by some of the greatest Japanese artists of the past, such as Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Kawanabe Kyosai, as well as contemporary artists Mizuki Shigeru, Chiho Aoshima, Miwa Yanagi and Takahashi Murakami, who update the tradition for our times.

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