Introduction to the Weird

Michael Dylan Foster

in Pandemonium and Parade

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253612
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942677 | DOI:
Introduction to the Weird

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This chapter introduces the various supernatural creatures in Japanese culture. These creatures are often considered as yôkai, which can be translated as monster, spirit, goblin, ghost, demon, phantom, and a variety of other terms. The chapter first discusses the discourses that provide yôkai with specific meanings during different cultural moments. It then studies the various terms that have been associated with supernatural creatures and strange phenomena, as well as the classification systems designed to order yôkai. This chapter also addresses the questions of belief, clarifies the terms supernatural and mysterious, discusses the research on yôkai, and identifies other kinds of monsters.

Keywords: supernatural creatures; yôkai; Japanese culture; classification systems; belief; supernatural; mysterious; research on yôkai; monsters; meanings

Chapter.  11931 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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