Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide

Are you an intrepid ghost hunter with no fear? Do you take intense umbrage when a ghost doesn’t say “o-jama-shimasu" on entering your abode? In fact, are you completely childish and insane with an infinite variety of complexes just ready to unleash on the unsuspecting world? Well, whatever you answered or didn’t answer, I know a book that's just your ticket. Recently reissued in an expanded edition by Tuttle, Yokai Attack will is the perfect midnight read. 

This book is all about that bizarre and seemingly endless pantheon of creatures called Japanese monsters. Well, they all have their own name as well. The book profiles a selection of the more common and also unusual occurrences of folklore monster in brilliantly evocative and occasionally extremely cute illustrations by Ge Ge Ge No Kitaro artist Tatsuya Morino. The 42 monsters dealt with in this lovingly crafted book are either lovingly benign or bone-crushingly scary. 

Our personal favorites include the Aka-name, the creature who comes when you neglect your bathing area’s cleanliness. Although, he is a pussycat compared to the subtly freakish Nurikabe, who will block you in with an invisible wall that holds you in for ages then, just as you’re about die of frustration, disappears as quickly as it came. Then again, if you met the Nure Onna you’d be so freaked out that if you don’t die from her fangs not so subtle bite you’d be in an asylum watching Doraemon reruns for the rest of your life. There are many more, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. 

You could go to Wikipedia and check out the rather comprehensive list of Yokai there, but I’d recommend this delightful book, that, if nothing else, will help while away the hours waiting for your visa to come through. (Or just while away the hours enjoying your citizenship of wherever you are!) If you happen to be in Japan at this moment get down to your nearest bookshop catering to the non-Japanese as soon as you damn well can to purchase Yokai Attack! Especially if you’re a Japan newbie, as you never know when a yokai will come your way for a quick sake and a scare. In any case, it’s best to be prepared. But, if you’re outside the big J right now, check your nearest alternative book store and it may just be there…

Excuse me whilst I go and put some bowls of sand in each corner of the room….

Words by Sebastian Gahan.
Published by Tuttle Books. 


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