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In Ghostly Japan (Artwork by David Hochbaum)

2y ago
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'Kaidan Shu - Tales of Mist and Wind' is a cycle of works realized by David Hochbaum in 2011 and based upon Japanese ghostly legends and folklore. http://www.davidhochbaum.com/ A short glossary of the main Japanese ghosts: OBAKE (00:10) and BAKEMONO are a class of yōkai, preternatural creatures in Japanese folklore. Literally, the terms mean a thing that changes, referring to a state of transformation or shapeshifting. These words are often translated as ghost, but primarily they refer to living things or supernatural beings who have taken on a temporary transformation, and these bakemono are distinct from the spirits of the dead. However, as a secondary usage, the term obake can be a synonym for yūrei, the ghost of a deceased human being. Obake derived from household objects are often called tsukumogami. A bakemono usually either disguises itself as a human or appears in a strange or terrifying form such as a hitotsume-kozō, an ōnyūdō, or a noppera-bō. In common usage, any bizarre apparition can be referred to as a bakemono or an obake whether or not it is believed to have some other form, making the terms roughly synonymous with yōkai. KUCHISAKE-ONNA (00:52, 04:42) ("Slit-Mouth Woman"), in Japanese mythology, is a woman who is mutilated by a jealous husband and returns as a malicious spirit. The Kuchisake-onna legend became popular enough to cause some panic in Japan during the 1980s, and there are even reports of schools asking children to go home in groups for safety. YUKI-ONNA (02:34) appears on snowy nights as a tall, beautiful woman with long black hair and blue lips. Her inhumanly pale or even transparent skin makes her blend into the snowy landscape. She sometimes wears a white kimono, but other legends describe her as nude, with only her face and hair standing out against the snow. Despite her inhuman beauty, her eyes can strike terror into mortals. She floats across the snow, leaving no footprints (in fact, some tales say she has no feet, a feature of many Japanese ghosts), and she can transform into a cloud of mist or snow if threatened. ROKUROKUBI (02:42) are yōkai found in Japanese folklore. They look like normal human beings by day, but at night they gain the ability to stretch their necks to great lengths. They can also change their faces to those of terrifying oni to better scare mortals. In their daytime human forms, rokurokubi often live undetected and may even take mortal spouses. Many rokurokubi become so accustomed to such a life that they take great pains to keep their demonic forms secret. They are tricksters by nature, however, and the urge to frighten and spy on human beings is hard to resist. Some rokurokubi thus resort to revealing themselves only to drunkards, fools, the sleeping, or the blind in order to satisfy these urges. Other rokurokubi have no such compunctions and go about frightening mortals with abandon. A few, it is said, are not even aware of their true nature and consider themselves normal humans. This last group stretch their necks out while asleep in an involuntary action; upon waking up in the morning, they find they have weird dreams regarding seeing their surroundings in unnatural angles. YOKAI (03:00) (ghost, phantom, strange apparition) are a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore. The word yōkai is made up of the kanji for "otherworldly" and "weird". Yōkai range eclectically from the malevolent to the mischievous, or occasionally bring good fortune to those who encounter them. Often they possess animal features (such as the Kappa, which is similar to a turtle, or the Tengu which has wings), other times they can appear mostly human, some look like inanimate objects and others have no discernible shape. Yōkai usually have a spiritual supernatural power, withshapeshifting being one of the most common. Yōkai that have the ability to shapeshift are called obake. Japanese folklorists and historians use yōkai as "supernatural or unaccountable phenomena to thei...