The Yokai are the ghosts and demons of Japan. There are tons of Yokai who come in all shapes and sizes and are seen, or not seen, like ghosts, ogres, demons and monsters. Yokai are supernatural and have always been present in Japanese history, influencing modern culture and even entertainment today.
The images of Yokai were initially wood carvings, and these may well be the images that you are familiar with. Artists, after reading Japanese folklore, imagined what Yokai would look like, and sculpted or carved them. Since then, these supernatural images have become oddly fashionable. Everybody likes to have a Yokai with them, in their home, in their car, on their walls, outside in their gardens or guarding their houses. You will even find Yokai on women’s garments, on fabric and as toys too.
So what is it about Yokai that appeals to the Japanese? People who have studied Japanese folklore think it is the way Yokai have brought Japanese people together. People name the Yokai (in their own way) and draw them in their own way. Yokai have given the Japanese people something to talk about, be creative about, to joke about and to debate about.
We all know that comics in Japan are big business, Japanese being amongst some of the most creative and hip people there are. Yokai, while dating back centuries, are a big part of Japanese pop culture. Even some of the Pokémon characters have connections to Yokai.
Yokai are loved by the young, the old and by all genders.