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The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits: An Encyclopedia of Mononoke and Magic (Yokai) Paperback – March 30, 2015
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About the Author
Matthew Meyer is an American illustrator living in rural Japan. He grew up in South Jersey and studied illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. During a summer study abroad program in Japan, he fell in love with traditional Japanese art and culture, which strongly influence his artistic style. In 2007, he moved to Japan, where he has been studying and illustrating Japanese folklore ever since.
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Top customer reviews
Much like his first book, "Night Parade of 100 Demons", Meyer goes into great informative depth on the various creatures of Japanese, and to a greater extent, Asian folklore.
+The artwork is incredible, a lot of it is modern restorations from ukiyo-e artist Toriyama Seiken's series of 18th centuries bestiaries, brought to the modern day through modern art techniques combined with imagery and ukiyo-e stylization that really makes the artwork come alive. Meyer could probably take all of his Yokai drawings, put them all together in a hardback book and sell them as an artbook, it really is that good.
+But thats not all, with each image comes a very detailed and lengthy exploration into the origins, legends, and nature of each Yokai or spirit featured. This is a lifesaver for would-be English Yokai-enthusiasts as most Yokai lore and stories have little to no information in English speaking regions of the world or even on the Web outside of famous Yokai like the Kappa or Oni, but Meyer goes a step further and showcases strange, little known monsters on top of the more famous ones. An example is the Ippon Datara, of which I was only able to get a mere sentence or two surrounding a boar god that turned into one without elaboration into what an Ippon Datara is, Meyer provides a face and very in depth description of a very strange, very unique folkloric critter which I am appalled at the utter lack of information that exists in regards to it in other English speaking portions of the web.
+But he doesn't stop at just Yokai, in this book also contains a lengthy portion describing the Japanese Shinto-Buddhist Afterlife (both Meido and Jigoku) as well as Onmyodo practices and spells and even informative glances into Japanese Religion(s) and how the Sun setting and rising plays a role in that and how Yokai are involved therein. The Onmyodo information alone is something I could not find much else on in the english portion of the internet, making a huge bonus for a potential reader.
+covers the "three great evil Yokai" (Tamamo-no-Mae, Shuten Doji and Sutoku) as well as the "Three Great evil Onryo" and several other individuals of both historical fact and myth and the legends that involve them, making for a good history lesson of Japan on top of of the mythological aspect of it.
+Other myths of Asia are also covered from China, to Okinawa, to even India. Religions too from the Goryo Shinko, Koshin, and even Okinawan Shamanism.
+/-For its price (almost as much as a college textbook) its a tough sell, especially as a paper-back book. However, coming from an artists' perspective, I understand given the amount of drawings and artwork Meyer has done himself in the back. Coming from experience, art isn't quick, easy or cheap. Its a time consuming affair and there are over a hundred images in the book the Meyer drew and painted (digitally) himself. So while the text content is lacking in terms of its price-tag, the art, in my opinion more than makes up for it.
-If you are familiar with his website, Yokai.com or his blog, you will find that a lot of the entries and art in the book already exist online as well as his Yokai-a-day marathon where he uploads one Yokai entry + art per day, each day in the month of October. Furthermore, his exploration into Meido and Jigoku had already been extensively done on his own blog, which he admits there that his book won't cover much more than what he did there. Thus being a potential downside to a potential buyer, however, one misses out on his informative notes and additions he occasionally adds to entries such as explaining what "karts" has to do with a Kasha, which otherwise does not exist on his website. Something to keep in mind before you decide to spend fifty dollars on a paperback book.
All in all, if you are really committed to learning about Yokai and Japanese Folklore/History be you a hobbyist or would be student of Japanese myth, this book is a must-buy and must-own for your digital or even physical collection. The art, the in-depth research and the amount of content is more than enough to justify purchasing it. However if you are not that interested in Japanese folklore, than I honestly, objectively can't justify some regular chap (especially if they don't care for art) spending 55 dollars on a book like this, they are best off going to his Blog or Yokai.com and sating their curiosities that way. However, for me personally, and my own love of Japanese folklore and frustration in trying to find more in depth information, this book has been a lifesaver for me. And I'm sure it will be so to other would-be English researchers of Yokai who can't yet speak or read Japanese. Meyer has truly done a service to the cause of increased knowledge and information about Yokai folklore.
Most recent customer reviews
Recommend for anyone intersted in traditional Japanese folklore or finding out...Read more