Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Bakeneko are forked tailed cat demons, not to be trusted. There are different myths concerning when and why a cat’s tail splits into two and he becomes a bakeneko, including that it happens when he reaches a certain age (although what the age is specifically tends to vary with each telling); or that it is the vengeful spirit of an ill-treated cat returned to avenge itself on his tormentors. Some people say it splits when a domestic cat reaches 8 pounds or it if has eaten in the same house for 13 years – but in all the stories once a feline’s tail divides into two the cat becomes a bakeneko and has supernatural powers. Bakeneko have been credited with shapeshifting and it’s believed that Bakeneko can breathe life back into the newly dead so all cats are kept away from fresh corpses as a precaution. (It’s also been said that it can reanimates a corpse by jumping over it’s head). Bakeneko then use these zombie bodies to revenge themselves on people they felt have wronged them. To prevent their pets from turning into demons Japanese people would cut the tails off their cats and as a consequence, there is a huge number of bobtail or stumpy tailed cats here in Japan, both feral and domesticated. Bakeneko (all cats really) enjoy licking lamp oil – it’s convenient fat and protein for them. With the lamp right there playing with shadows and the inevitable distortion a shoji screen would add to the image of a cat on a table licking lamp oil, it’s easy to see why people began to speculate about cats as yokai. Some believe bakeneko can grow large enough to just snatch people up through open windows. They’ve been known to kill a person and assume his/her identity. In more than one story e Bakeneko kills a person in it’s household and hides the body in the floorboards (or sometimes just the bones – all gnawed clean) assumes the dead person’s appearance and place in the family appearing at meal times to gorge. Bakeneko are considered malevolent creatures and are usually depicted as quite ferocious and evil.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Size: 7" x 9.5" - Published: 2012 - Pages: 120 - Price: $120 -Binding: Softcover
This book is a must have. It touches on just about every integral Japanese motif, penned in Ichibays infallible hand. Hailing from Luke Atkinson's Checker Demon Press, I cannot say enough good things about this book, and more importantly, Ichibay himself was central in it's creation. Smallish so it is perfect for travelers, cover to cover black and grey sketches, this book will improve your reference library tenfold. Get one.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Size: 9" x 11.5" - Pages: 160 - Published: 1988 - Price: $280 - Hardcover w/case - Used in good condition
This book is really cool. It is a collection of Japanese Tako (Kite) Illustrations which mirror Japanese tattoo motif beautifully. Cover to cover full page, full color handpainted images boasting some amazing warriors, koi, tigers, cranes, Yokai and monsters, Daruma and other deities, Noh characters like Hyottoko....it's a really cool book. More imagery that text (what text there is, is in Japanese) this is a brilliant referece book for anyone wishing to veer a little to the left of the woodblock artists that pop up so frequently in wabori. This book offers a different perspective on classic motifs. It is quite rare and if I do not have one in stock I will notify you via email and add your name to the wait list...
This issue of Geijutsu Shincho RULES!! Such a great magazine. This one covers a recent exhibition on antique Japanese Ghost painting as well as an article on Okiku, one of my favorite ghost stories. So so so many great ghost, yurei and obake in here, including some I've never seen before. This issue sold out almost immediately and it is worth every penny!
Size: 29cm x 22cm - Pages: 144 - Published 2000 - Price: $70 - Binding: Softcover - used
This book is cover to cover photos stills from famous Japanese ghost stories. From Oiwa to The Peony Lantern this book boasts heaps of good reference. All black and white pics, but amazing costumes, facial expressions, hair and make up. The antagonists in this volume are perfect if you are wanting to stray from the well used Kyosai and Yoshitoshi imagery, and come up with some of your own. This book is out of print and I have 2 copies in stock at the moment, but am on the hunt for more. If it is not available when you order it I will let you know via email and your name will be added to the wait list. xo Gomineko