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    Japan’s island of monsters.

    In Japanese folklore the word ‘Yōkai’ refers to supernatural spirits, monsters and demons. Charles Fréger, a French portrait photographer, captures the Yōkai spirits, traditions, and folk characters in his work Yokainoshima - the island of monsters.
    Japan’s island of monsters.

    Shot across a series of locations in Japan’s many islands over the course of two years, Fréger’s island of monsters is part invention and part exploration of the Japanese folklore and culture, and the many spirits that transcend these tales in their elaborate outfits. Certain characters and spirits dictated their location with traditions, for example some cannot leave the temples. Others were captured with the insular aspect of Japan in mind; with the sea as a backdrop, sometimes with the characters in the sea.

    The complex costumes are vibrant and theatrical, capturing the viewers imagination as each image unveils a different tradition, a different character from a variety of calendars and festivals that are connected but carry different meanings.

    Charles Fréger’s stunning photographs have been published by Thames & Hudson in Yokainoshima: Island of Monsters. The collection is beautifully complemented by essays by Toshiharu Ito and Akihito Hatanka, specialists in Japanese folklore and anthropology. The book also includes an illustrated compendium of Yōkai costumes that are explained by Japanese poet Ryogo Sekiguchi.