Kaibyō: The Supernatural Cats of Japan - Zack Davisson

March 26, 2018

5 /5 Stars

 

Accessible introduction to Japanese cat-yokai, with gorgeous illustrations.

This book was a gift from a friend who knows me oh-so-well, and knows my adoration for all things supernatural and all things cat-related. I've also been a long-time fan of Japanese folklore, particularly the weird and wonderful yokai; so much fodder for future book inspiration!

 
Right from the start, I loved this book. The front cover is a work of art in itself and feels gorgeous to hold - always a key factor for me when reading books of this nature. Inside, the quality is no different; there's a multitude of full-colour illustrations from different eras of Japanese history - from the Edo period to the modern day. 

As for the content itself? It's neatly divided into chapters - with each section focusing on a different form of cat-yokai. Expect all sorts of bizarre feline spirits here; from the eerie bakeneko (the shapeshifting cat) to the terrifying kasha - which is more of a demon than a yokai. It's not all scary though; there's also a chapter on the maneki-neko, which you may know better as the cheery waving cat (often gold) that is so often spotted in people's homes or in Chinese takeaways! (We've got one sat cheerily waving away in our spare room...). 

Although it's in-depth and informative, the writing is never dry or dull, and that's a difficult thing to pull off. The author's love of Japanese folklore oozes from every page, and the info-based stuff is mixed up with folklore tales and other little titbits of trivia. 

This book is a total must-have for anyone who's into Japanese culture / art / or cats. I LOVED it.

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