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See more. Michael Dylan Foster.

Mythology & Folklore > Mythology

Monsters, ghosts, fantastic beings, and supernatural phenomena of all sorts haunt the folklore and popular culture of Japan. Broadly labeled yokai, these creatures come in infinite shapes and sizes, from tengu mountain goblins and kappa water spirits to shape-shifting foxes and long-tongued ceiling-lickers. Currently popular in anime, manga, film, and computer games, many yokai originated in local legends, folktales, and regional ghost stories. Drawing on years of research in Japan, Michael Dylan Foster unpacks the history and cultural context of yokai, tracing their roots, interpreting their meanings, and introducing people who have hunted them through the ages.

In this delightful and accessible narrative, readers will explore the roles played by these mysterious beings within Japanese culture and will also learn of their abundance and variety through detailed entries, some with original illustrations, on more than fifty individual creatures. The Book of Yokai provides a lively excursion into Japanese folklore and its ever-expanding influence on global popular culture.

It also invites readers to examine how people create, transmit, and collect folklore, and how they make sense of the mysteries in the world around them. By exploring yokai as a concept, we can better understand broader processes of tradition, innovation, storytelling, and individual and communal creativity. Handbook of Japanese Mythology. Michael Ashkenazi.

Handbook of Japanese Mythology makes it easy to travel this vast yet little-known mythological landscape. The book reveals the origins of Japan's myths in the very different realms of Buddhism, Shinto, and folklore, and explores related mythologies of the Ainu and Okinawan cultures and recent myths arising from Japan's encounters with modernization. It then offers vivid retellings of the central Shinto and Buddhist myths, plus descriptions of major historical figures, icons, rituals, and events.

Basil Hall Chamberlain. The Aino people of Japan are very little known and where treated as savages when discovered by western travellers. Their religion was rich and cultured and this book opens the eyes of the reader to a culture that so few people know of. Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive.

We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork. Tsuneichi Miyamoto. Tsuneichi Miyamoto — , a leading Japanese folklore scholar and rural advocate, walked , kilometers to conduct interviews and capture a dying way of life. This collection of photos, vignettes, and life stories from pre- and postwar rural Japan is the first English translation of his modern Japanese classic.

From blowfish to landslides, Miyamoto's stories come to life in Jeffrey Irish's fluid translation. The Dragon in China and Japan. De Visser. He is best remembered today for having given us a cornerstone examination of the legends of fantastic flying reptiles known as dragons. The Dragon in China and Japan contains "the most interesting quotations concerning the dragon in China, systematically arranged, selected from the enormous number of passages on this fantastic animal in Chinese literature, from the remotest eras down to modern times," notes cryptozoologist Loren Coleman in his new introduction.

Coleman also praises the book's use of primary source material. Scholarly, level-headed examinations of living, breathing reports of serpentine flying beasts, water-borne megafauna, and shadowy entities must be balanced with investigations of the legends and folktales of these dragons from Asian texts," such as de Visser's here. This new edition, a replica of the first edition complete with extensive notes in the original Asian alphabet, is part of Cosimo's Loren Coleman Presents series.

Similar ebooks. The Persian Mystics: Jami. Frederick Hadland Davis. Jami , a scholar and mystic, is considered by many to be one of the greatest Persian poets of the 15th century. This volume, edited by F. Finally, a frightened daughter discloses it:. Spinning textiles Spinning is the twisting together of drawn-out strands of fibers to form yarn , is a major part of the textile industry. The yarn is used to create textiles, which are used to make clothing and many other products. There are several industrial processes available to spin yarn, as well as hand-spinning techniques where the fiber is drawn out and wound onto a bobbin ; the yarn issuing from the drafting rollers passes through a thread-guide, round a traveller, free to rotate around a ring, onto a tube or bobbin, carried on a spindle, the axis of which passes through a center of the ring.

The spindle is driven and the traveller is dragged around a ring by the loop of yarn passing round it. If the drafting rollers were stationary, the angular velocity of the traveller would be the same as that of the spindle and each revolution of the spindle would cause one turn of twist to be inserted in the loop of yarn betweem the roller nip and the traveller. In spinning, however the yarn is continually issuing from the rollers of the drafting system and, under these cirmunstances, the angular velocity of the traveller is less than that of the spindle by an amount, just sufficientto allow the yarn to be wound onto the bobbin at the same rate as that at which it issues from the drafting rollers.

Each revolution of the traveller now inserts one turn of twist into the loop of yarn between the roller nip and the traveller but, in equilibrium, the number of turns of twist in the loop of yarn remains constant as twisted yarn is passing through the traveller at a corresponding rate. Artificial fibres are made by extruding a polymer through a spinneret into a medium where it hardens. Wet spinning uses a coagulating medium.

In dry spinning, the polymer is contained in a solvent. In melt spinning the extruded polymer sets. All these fibres will be of great length kilometers long. Natural fibres are from minerals, or plants; these vegetable fibres can come from the stem or the leaf.

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Without exception, many processes are needed before a clean staple is obtained. With the exception of silk, each of these fibres is short, being only centimetres in length, each has a rough surface that enables it to bond with similar staples. Artificial fibres can be processed as long fibres or batched and cut so they can be processed like a natural fibre. Ring spinning is one of the most common spinning methods in the world.

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Other systems include air-jet and open-end spinning, a technique where the staple fiber is blown by air into a rotor and attaches to the tail of formed yarn, continually being drawn out of the chamber. Other methods of break spinning use electrostatic forces; the processes to make short-staple yarn are blending, carding , pin-drafting, spinning, and—if desired—plying and dyeing. In long staple spinning, the process may start with stretch-break of tow, a continuous "rope" of synthetic fiber. In open-end and air-jet spinning, the roving operation is eliminated; the spinning frame winds yarn around a bobbin.

After this step the yarn is wound to a cone for knitting or weaving. In a spinning mule , the roving is pulled off bobbins and sequentially fed through rollers operating at several different speeds, thinning the roving at a consistent rate; the yarn is twisted through the spinning of the bobbin as the carriage moves out, is rolled onto a cop as the carriage returns.

Mule spinning produces a finer thread than ring spinning. Spinning by the mule machine is an intermittent process as the frame advances and returns, it is the descendant of a device invented in by Samuel Crompton , produces a softer, less twisted thread, favored for fines and for weft. The ring was a descendant of the Arkwright water frame of and creates yarn in a continuous process; the yarn is coarser, has a greater twist, is stronger, making it more suitable for warp. Ring spinning is slow due to the distance. Similar methods have improved on this including bobbin and cap spinning; the pre-industrial techniques of hand spinning with spindle or spinning wheel continue to be practiced as a handicraft or hobby, enable wool or unusual vegetable and animal staples to be used.

Hand spinning was an important cottage industry in medieval Europe , where the wool spinners would provide enough yarn to service the needs of the men who operated the looms, or to sell on in the putting-out system. After the invention of the spinning jenny water frame the demand was reduced by mechanisation. Its technology was specialised and costly, employed water as motive power. Spinning and weaving as cottage industries were displaced by dedicated manufactories, developed by industrialists and their investors; the British government was protective of the technology and restricted its export.

After World War I the colonies where the cotton was grown started to purchase and manufacture significant quantities of cotton spinning machinery; the next breakthrough was with the move over to break or open-end spinning , the adoption of artificial fibres. By most production had moved to Asia. During the Industrial Revolution , spinners and sweepers were e. Therianthropy Therianthropy is the mythological ability of human beings to metamorphose into other animals by means of shapeshifting. Sometimes the term " zoanthropy " is used instead. Therianthropy was used to describe spiritual beliefs in animal transformation in a Japanese publication, "A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era ".

One source, "The Human Predator ", raises the possibility the term may have been used as early as the 16th century in criminal trials of suspected werewolves. Therianthropy refers to the fantastical, or mythological, ability of some humans to change into animals. Therianthropes are said to change forms via shapeshifting. Shapeshifting in folklore and anthropology refers to the alteration of physical appearance from that of a human to that of another species.

Lycanthropy, the transformation of a human into a wolf, is the best known form of therianthropy, followed by cynanthropy and ailuranthropy.


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Werehyenas are present in the stories of several Eurasian cultures. Ancient Turkic legends from Asia talk of form-changing shamans known as kurtadams, which translates to "wolfman". The term existed by at least , when it was applied to stories from China about humans turning into dogs, dogs becoming people, sexual relations between humans and canines. Anthropologist David Gordon White called Central Asia the "vortex of cynanthropy" because races of dog-men were habitually placed there by ancient writers; the weredog or cynanthrope is known in Timor.

It is described as a human-canine shapeshifter, capable of transforming other people into animals against their will. European folklore features werecats, who can transform into panthers or domestic cats of an enlarged size. African legends describe people who turn into lions or leopards, while Asian werecats are depicted as becoming tigers; some Native American and First Nation legends talk about skin-walkers—people with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal they desire. To do so, they first must be wearing a pelt of the specific animal.

In the folk religion of Mesoamerica , a nagual is a human being who has the power to magically turn themselves into animal forms—most donkeys and dogs—but can transform into more powerful jaguars and pumas.

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Stories of humans descending from animals are found in the oral traditions for many tribal and clan origins. Sometimes the original animals had assumed human form in order to ensure their descendants retained their human shapes. North American indigenous traditions mingle the ideas of bear ancestors and ursine shapeshifters, with bears being able to shed their skins to assume human form, marrying human women in this guise; the offspring may be creatures with combined anatomy, they may be beautiful children with uncanny strength, or they may be shapeshifters themselves.

P'an Hu is represented in various Chinese legends as a supernatural dog, a dog-headed man, or a canine shapeshifter that married an emperor's daughter and founded at least one race; when he is depicted as a shapeshifter , all of him can become human except for his head. The race descended from P'an Hu were characterized by Chinese writers as monsters who combined human and dog anatomy. In Turkic mythology, the wolf is a revered animal.

The Turkic legends say. The legend of Asena is an old Turkic myth. In the legend, a small Turkic village in northern China is raided by Chinese soldiers, with one baby left behind.