What does the supernatural represent in Japan? Why do we still have mythical ‘others’ in a period dominated by advanced technology? Japanese popular culture in the Heisei period (1989-2019) is characterised by colourful, diverse forms of supernatural protagonists, much like the other yōkai -ridden periods Heian (794-1185) and Edo (1603-1868). The prevalence of, and interest in the supernatural may suggest a specific psyche and social ecology in these periods. Focussing on issues of precarious Japanese identities, I discuss the characterisation and transition of the supernatural from the Heian to Heisei using novels, manga and anime, such as the Tale of Genji and Inuyasha.
23 Nov 2019
Phenomenal beings: spirits in Japanese art and culture