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Yōkai are mysterious phenomena and bizarre creatures that have inhabited Japan's landscapes, homes, folklore, and imagination for centuries. At times, yōkai refers to the appearance of benign spirits, and other times to evil entities, ranging from shape-shifting animals to vengeful ghosts. They also include tales of transformed humans, gods, demons, goblins, monsters, and unexplainable events.
Many of these supernatural creatures and their activities have been described in folklore, legends, and historical texts, influencing paintings, theater, and even modern pop culture. On loan from Scripps College, this exhibition presents 80 works — featuring not only Edo period woodblock prints but also