In Japan, summer is often associated with horror and ghost stories, which give people a thrill and may help to endure the heat. The main characters of all those stories are known as yōkai and mononoke, Japanese monsters, spirits, and demons. Their presence in Japanese folklore can be traced back to the first century. According to the tradition, these creatures possess supernatural powers, such as the ability to shapeshift, that they can use to help or more often, to trick humans. Sometimes evilish, definitely bizarre, yōkai and mononoke still have high numbers of fans in and outside Japan.
For all those of you interested in this spooky side of Japan, now there is the perfect place to visit: the Miyoshi Mononoke Museum (aka Yumoto Koichi Memorial Japan Museum), Japan’s first museum dedicated to supernatural creatures, where bakeneko, yūrei, kuchisake onna, and countless others made their debut as main stars this spring in the city of Miyoshi, near Hiroshima.
The Museum is based on a selection of more than 5,000 artefacts donated by Yumoto Koichi. Yumoto, a 68-year old ethnologist, spent his life investigating and studying the legendary creatures haunting Japanese folklore and stories, and gathered an enormous collection of objects representing or celebrating those someway ironic, someway terrifying creatures. He decided to donate part of his collection to the museum, which along with digital installations, now allows visitors to explore the variegated world of the Japanese yōkai culture.