Natural History of the Weird: <i>Encyclopedias, Spooky Stories, and the Bestiaries of Toriyama Sekien</i>

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:
Natural History of the Weird: Encyclopedias, Spooky Stories, and the Bestiaries of Toriyama Sekien

Show Summary Details


This chapter studies how the earliest illustrated encyclopedias in Japan presented and classified mysterious creatures. It introduces artist Toriyama Sekien, who combined the seriousness of academic encyclopedias with the playfulness of popular comic verse and storytelling in order to document visually the creatures of the invisible world. It shows how Sekien's four yôkai catalogs influenced how people conceived of yôkai. It notes that Sekien's bestiaries contributed to the creation of a clear Japanese otherworldly landscape.

Keywords: illustrated encyclopedias; Toriyama Sekien; academic encyclopedias; comic verse; storytelling; invisible world; yôkai catalogs; otherworldly landscape

Chapter.  15794 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.