Just received my review copy of Kaibyo: The Supernatural Cats of Japan by Zack Davisson. It’s a follow up of sorts to his previous book on Japanese folklore, Yurei: The Japanese Ghost.
While understandably less of a creepy read than Yurei, there’s a great variety of analysis and feline fiction to to dig your claws in to.
Switching from analysis, to history, to stories, all accompanied by a wealth of illustrations the book keeps you well invested.
In the West we’re often tangentially aware of Japanese folklore through its proliferation in modern media, but Davisson doesn’t take this for granted.
If a painting is referenced in the text, it’s there in the book. If a chapter is about Bakeneko 化け猫 for example, the chapter will end with a story about said Kaibyo (Supernatural Cat). I also appreciate each chapter having a mini Kanji breakdown for each of the Kaibyo 怪猫 discussed. It’s the little things that make it such a page turner.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the book so far are the newly translated tales from centuries past detailing the actions of these yokai. Many of them wouldn’t necessarily stand up for a modern audience if published alone, but with the accompanying text stating the historical and mythological significance of some of these stories, everything ties together so nicely.
I’ll have a full review soon on horrorjapan.com! if you’re interested in the book it’s available now http://amzn.to/2zVv6Cz [Affiliate Link]