Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Hundred Monsters Game

Mizuki Shigeru's Yokai Hyaku Monogatari (Hundred Monsters) was, like much of his manga work, based on folk stories and traditions involving ghosts, spirits and monsters. Here is a sugoroku ---a paper board-game---depicting less than a hundred weird creatures from Japanese lore. This example may possibly be pre-War as the title across the top reads right to left "Hyaku Monogatari Bakemono." Along with the spider demon, rokuro-kubi and lantern ghost there is also a demon teakettle, a cracked pot and a walking phallus!

Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (百物語怪談会 -- A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales) was a popular game during the Edo period. To play the game, one hundred candles were lit in a room at twilight. The players gathered around taking turns telling kaidan (weird tales). After each tale a single candle was extinguished and the room slowly grew darker and darker. The process was believed to summon a supernatural entity.

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