Japanese Art of Extraordinary Beings – A Genealogy of Dark Fantasy

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Demon slaying, sorcery, ninjas… This book explains the chaos of Japanese-style dark heroes from the perspective of Japanese art history, in both Japanese and English.

In many of the manga and anime that have been major hits recently, referred to as “dark fantasy,” characters use special abilities, or “supernatural powers,” to carve out their destinies. In Japanese art, figures that could be considered prototypes of these characters with supernatural powers, such as sorcerers and warriors who control magical beasts, have been depicted frequently. This book focuses on “people with supernatural powers” mainly appearing in Edo period ghost stories and legendary novels, and explains the background hidden in the popularity of contemporary anime and manga.

Chapter One: The Lineage of Those with Supernatural Powers
Arhats, hermits, sorcerers, gods of Japanese mythology – A competition / feast of those with supernatural powers

Chapter Two: The Marvel of the Human Body
Transformative, extraordinary agility – Between humans and the non-human

Chapter Three: The Fury of Nature
Fire, water, wind, lightning, light – Catastrophic destructive power

Chapter Four: The Symphony of Beasts
Ferocious beasts, mythical beasts, divine beasts, phantom beasts – Terrifying yet reassuring companions

Chapter Five: Supernatural Powers in Full Bloom
Flight, cloning, curses, enchantment – Embodiments of desire

Chapter Six: Fantastical Combat
Demon slaying, dragon slaying, magical confrontations, grand melee – A surge of life and imagination

Release Date:
February, 2024
Japanese & English

Author profile

Shoko Haruki

She was born in Hokkaido in 1986. After working at the Hokkaido Museum, she has been a curator at the Edo Tokyo Museum since 2017, specializing in Japanese art history.

Shoko Haruki’s books

Additional information

Weight 801 g

Shoko Haruki


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