Have you heard of Yokai? Yokai is a Japanese word to describe monsters and creatures that have been drawn in paintings from 12th Century. Yokai Exhibition “From Everything to Endearing: Yokai in the Arts of Japan” is held in Tokyo and Osaka, and lots of rare art pieces are exhibited. It’s a must-see if you are in Japan around August and September!

What is Yokai?

Cute? An example of Yokai

Cute? An example of Yokai. From Wikipedia

Yokai is a Japanese word to describe a set of monsters, creatures, ghosts, etc. It is said that Yokai is the embodiment of uneasiness and fear felt toward the spirit world, and the sense of affection toward “strangely familiar” that Japanese have felt since the ancient times.

Japanese have been strongly associated with nature and kami (gods). Thus, the creation of Yokai has a strong association with Japanese culture.

Yokai’s connection with Japanese culture

Yokai appeared in Japanese painting as early as 12th Century and continued to appear in Japanese artworks. During the Edo-period, early 17th Century to late 19th Century, Yokai arts spread to Ukiyo-e paintings, which left works by famous artists such as Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, etc.

Yokai Art piece by Katsushika Hokusai

Yokai Art piece by Katsushika Hokusai. From Wikipedia

In the modern times, Yokai is popular to children and adults as cartoon series. The famous manga and anime series “Gegege no Kitarou” started in 1960, is continued to be loved by vast generations. There is even a town dedicated to “Gegege no Kitarou” series! In “Gegege no Kitarou”, standard Yokai are characterized very well.

Kitaro Cafe in Chofu City, Tokyo

Kitaro Cafe in Chofu City, Tokyo. From Flickr

Another one is “Yokai Watch”. Yokai Watch has become very popular among kids in past few years. The cute Yokai characters are creative.

What to see in the Yokai Exhibition

The exhibition shows Yokai artworks and Yurei (ghost) artworks from different periods of times. From over 100 pieces, precious artworks such as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Japan are the must-sees. The National Treasure “Six Realms Pictures” that depicts Buddhist hells. The Important Cultural Property “Tale of the Giant Earth Spider”, “Scroll of Household Objects Transformed”,  and “Night Parade of a Hundred Demons”.

Also pieces by the famous Ukiyo-e artists: “One Hundred Ghost Stories” by Katsushika Hokusai, and “The Ruined Palace at Soma” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

One of the paintings from “One Hundred Ghost Stories” by Katsushika Hokusai

One of the paintings from “One Hundred Ghost Stories” by Katsushika Hokusai. From Wikipedia

A part of “Night Parade of a Hundred Demons”

A part of “Night Parade of a Hundred Demons”. From Wikipedia

Get some cute Yokai gifts!

Another great feature of this exhibition is its gift shop. They have various products with Yokai printed, and there were many cute things! Files, notebooks, stickers, magnets, postcards, etc. Fulfill your shopping spree for cute Yokai products here!

Details of the Yokai Exhibition

Visit fun Yokai Exhibition at Edo-Tokyo Museum!

Visit fun Yokai Exhibition at Edo-Tokyo Museum!

Title:
“From Every to Ending: Yokai in the Arts of Japan”

Admission:
General 1,350yen
Collage Students & Vocational School Students 1,080 yen
High school Students, Junior high school Students, Primary School Students & Over 65 years old 680yen

Website:
http://yo-kai2016.com/english.html

Tokyo Venue

Period:
5th July – 28th August 2016

Venue:
Edo-Tokyo Museum http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/en/
1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0015

Hours:
9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
9, 16 and 23 July: 9:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m
29, 30 July, Fridays and Saturdays in August: 9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m
*Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time

Closed:
Mondays, Tuesday 19 July
*except Monday 18 July and 8, 15 August, Tuesday 19 July

Osaka Venue

Period:
10th September – 6th October 2016

Venue:
Abeno Harukas Art Museum
Abeno Harukas 16F
1 Chome-1-43 Abenosuji, Abeno-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu

Hours:
Tue-Fri / 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Mon, Sat, Sun, and National Holidays / 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
*Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time

Closed:
12 Sep, 11 Oct, 17 Oct