Presentation Title

Yokai in the Modern Era

Presenter Information

Crystal BrooksFollow

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

Japan, Yokai, Supernatural, Religion, Culture

Biography

Crystal Brooks is a Double Major in Japanese and Photography. She is deeply interested in mythology and religion.

Major

Double Major: Japanese & Photography

Advisor for this project

Rivas Zelideth

Start Date

22-4-2021 3:30 PM

Abstract

In the 1980s, while the US was having a ‘Satanic Panic’, attacking any form of media that featured remotely ‘dark’ imagery such as Dungeons and Dragons, in Japan there was a ‘Yokai Boom’. These ‘ghostly’ or ‘dark’ creatures became increasingly popular in 80s media as more yokai were being invented as translations of fears of urban life; such as Inmenken, (the human-faced dog) and Toire-no-Hanako-san (Hanako of the Toilet). While American-Christian views tend towards being ‘black and white’ due to its monotheistic nature, Japan’s Shinto religion often employs a more nuanced approach to their entities due to its polytheistic nature. By further contrasting their between the two cultures, delving into yokais’ historical significance, their role in the modern world and their international influence we can understand the integral place these creatures have in Japanese culture. This is important because yokai are not just a thing of the past, they are currently being reinvented in the modern era. In understanding this we then can understand Japan more deeply.

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Apr 22nd, 3:30 PM

Yokai in the Modern Era

In the 1980s, while the US was having a ‘Satanic Panic’, attacking any form of media that featured remotely ‘dark’ imagery such as Dungeons and Dragons, in Japan there was a ‘Yokai Boom’. These ‘ghostly’ or ‘dark’ creatures became increasingly popular in 80s media as more yokai were being invented as translations of fears of urban life; such as Inmenken, (the human-faced dog) and Toire-no-Hanako-san (Hanako of the Toilet). While American-Christian views tend towards being ‘black and white’ due to its monotheistic nature, Japan’s Shinto religion often employs a more nuanced approach to their entities due to its polytheistic nature. By further contrasting their between the two cultures, delving into yokais’ historical significance, their role in the modern world and their international influence we can understand the integral place these creatures have in Japanese culture. This is important because yokai are not just a thing of the past, they are currently being reinvented in the modern era. In understanding this we then can understand Japan more deeply.