Changing of Japanese “Yokai” Image from Ancient Period to Present

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Benjang Jaisai

Abstract

Yokai are Japanese spirits that have a long history dated back to the eighth century, and the researcher is interested in the changes of the ‘images’ based on the perceptions of their concrete manifestations to study the transformation and the associated factors from different forms of evidence such as records, legends, paintings, books and others. It is found that Yokai in the ancient time were perceived as menacing and related to gods. When the influence of Buddhism arrived in Japan, Yokai were concretely portrayed in paintings in the infernal settings, hence the terrifying image as seen in paintings of Oni and Tengu. Later, from the Kamakura period to the Edo period, Yokai made appearance in entertainment media such as painting scrolls, novels and toys. Due to the development of Nishiki-e woodblock printing and characterisation, Yokai as a fictional character were colourful, likeable, comical, and commodified. The most efficient factor is the development of woodblock printing which helped increasing various of printing and Yokai gained the most popularity. Then, in the Meiji period, Yokai, still popular in commercial products for children, became a topic of interest among modern scholars. After World War II until the present, Yokai are no longer a belief and the variety of their images, both likeable and fearful, is manifested in the forms of fictional characters and products.  

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How to Cite
Jaisai, B. (2022). Changing of Japanese “Yokai” Image from Ancient Period to Present. Journal of Human Sciences, 23(1), 63–85. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/JHUMANS/article/view/251487
Section
Research Articles

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