The Book of Yōkai provides a historical framework and various classifications of these intriguing creatures, spirits, and demons, such as the fierce oni, the aforementioned water-loving kappa, or the famed shape-shifting kitsune foxes that prowl about the countryside.
Appealingly illustrated in black and white, The Book of Yōkai is an interesting cultural text highly recommended to Japanophiles or aficionados of the otherworldly—or to anyone who believes that the yōkai are clearly here to stay.
Foster has studied extensively in Japan and is currently an associate professor of East Asian languages and cultures at Indiana University. He offers an appropriate academic devotion to his subject, along with the more personal element of someone who has a keen understanding of Japanese culture.
Japanese yōkai. Kappa, best described as water goblins, can be rather nasty in their quest to drag humans and animals into the nearest river or pond. At other times, they can benevolently allow just the right amount of rain for a good harvest. In Foster’s case, the refrigerator kappa’s belonging to the mysterious yōkai realm has resulted in years of research and this engagingly narrated work, The Book of Yōkai.