Book haul day! After taking it out from my University library a few years ago I finally got my own copy of Pandemonium and Parade by Michael Dylan Foster.
It comes really recommended to those wanting to learn a little more about the sociology behind yokai and how they came to influence popular media. The book is academic in its approach, but don’t let that put you off, it’s still an entertaining read (especially when compared to academic film books I’ve read).
It’s also strangely cheap used on amazon at the moment (affiliate link), which was my primary motivation for finally picking a copy up. Is the book a good introduction to yokai? Eh, not really. In that case check out Matthew Meyer’s
The Night Parade of One Hundred Demonsand it’s follow up. But if you already have a small glossary of the critters in the back of your head and want to know more, this is probably your book.
Japanese word for ghost whale. They’re animated whale skeletons which sale near
the surface of the sea rising as they did in life when they needed to breathe.
They are followed by a host of creepy birds and strange fish and they appear on
rainy nights near coastal villages. In older days, when whales were still in a
great number in the sea of Japan, the presence of this animal was a great news
for the residents of the poor fishing villages. A village could reap huge
amounts of wealth from the meat and oil of a single whale. Many fishermen
claimed that the souls of these whales live as these ghosts to seek revenge
against the humans who took their lives. Those who witnessed this ghostly whale
were infected with a curse, which they brought back to their villages when they
returned home. The curse brought famine, plague and disasters.
Image: Utagawa Toyoharu - Perspective Picture of Whale Hunting in Kumano Bay
Source: Matthew Meyer - The night parade of One Hundred demons