Originating from Japan’s ancient past, ‘Yōkai’ is an umbrella term for supernatural beings and paranormal phenomena. They can come in many forms - from ghosts to phantoms, demons or even household items. They derive from Japanese folklore and were often used to explain the unexplainable; things that go ‘bump’ in the night.
The name Yōkai derives from the kanji characters that translate to mean “bewitching” and “suspicious” and were originally beings that incited fear. But as Japan has a long-standing animistic culture, they believed that spirits inhabit everything - even feelings. Whilst the majority of Yōkai were bad spirits, some also brought good fortune.
It wasn’t until Japan’s Edo period that these uncanny creatures began to be regarded as harmless (sometimes even humorous), after they were reclaimed and illustrated by ukiyo-e artists. Hokusai, Kuniyoshi, Yoshitoshi and Kunisada were some of the leading artists in the genre, providing fantastical visual forms for these otherworldly beings.
Our selection holds some of the most celebrated prints from these very artists. Bring a touch of mystery into your floating world collection with a Yōkai piece. Each is available as a fine poster print, canvas wrap, or framed and ready-to-hang.