By James T. Bratcher
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Additional info for Analytical Index to Publications of Texas Folklore Society, Vols 1-36
B y treating them as forms o f knowledge invalidated by modern science, Inoue trivializes quotidian habits and ways o f representing the mysterious that existed among com 44 Supernatural Significations moners. Rather than considering them alternative and functional foun dations o f social existence, he submits these “false yokai” to a rigorous taxonomy that works to eradicate their raison d’etre, for they have, in his view, no legitimate reason for being. They become the darkness from which his enlightenment project could shine.
After one o f his live performances o f Shinkei Kasane ga fuchi was re corded by a recently devised Japanese shorthand w riting system and pub lished in book form in 1888, Encho, w ho like much o f his audience be lieved in the existence o f spirits, commented on the M eiji transformation o f kaidan into shinkei(byo) in the preface to the printed version o f his story: W hat are called “ghost stories” [kaidan-banashi] have greatly de clined in recent times; there is hardly anyone w ho does them at the variety halls [ yose].
Despite the hideousness o f some ex hibits, the misemono during the Edo period were free from official censure and boomed in the nineteenth century, suggesting that authorities did not consider them particularly threatening. The attraction o f bakemono exhibits in general is also demonstrated by the unexpected crowds that traveled eight miles outside o f Edo to see the monster-filled “haunted teahouse” that theater set designer Izumiya Kichibei, specialist in super natural scenes, built in 1830 in Omori.