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Yokai: How Japanese Folklore and Its Monsters Shaped Modern Horror

Time & Location

September 20, 9am


We have a new date for JFNY’s pop culture series which was postponed last month! Yokai: How Japanese Folklore and Its Monsters Shaped Modern Horror will be taking place on September 20 at 9am ET.

The Ring, The Grudge, Dark Water, Pulse, One Missed Call. Chances are you’ve probably heard or remember watching some of these titles from the early 2000s when Hollywood was remaking many Asian horror films. While a number of these Japanese horror films were remade with the American audiences in mind, often resulting in altered settings or characters, the monsters and vengeful spirits on screen were often kept very similar to its original Japanese counterparts. Many of them have endured the test of time, and have become instantly recognizable in American pop culture today.

For this episode focusing on the topic of Yokai, we will be joined by Dr. Michael Dylan Foster who will be taking us on a historical journey with his presentation; delving deep into Japanese folklore and the history of Yokai, specifically focusing on their origins. Dr. Lindsay Nelson and Dr. Michael Crandol will also be joining us, continuing the narrative of how these tales and creatures formed the template for J-horror, and we’ll be taking a look at its impact and evolution through film and other media in this modern era.



If you have any questions about your favorite kwaidan, hyakumonogatari, or yokai, now is your chance to ask the experts! Please submit your question when you register for the event via Eventbrite. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session on-air as well.

This is a FREE event. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.


Dr. Michael Dylan Foster:

Michael Dylan Foster is a professor of Japanese at the University of California, Davis, where he teaches courses on Japanese folklore, heritage, tourism, and popular culture. He is the author of The Book of Yōkai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore (2015), Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yōkai (2009), and numerous articles on Japanese folklore, literature, and media. He has also co-edited several books, including Matsuri and Religion: Complexity, Continuity, and Creativity in Japanese Festivals (2021) and the forthcoming We Are All Survivors: Verbal, Ritual, and Material Ways of Narrating Disaster and Recovery (2022)
Official Website

Dr. Lindsay Nelson:

Lindsay Nelson is an associate professor in the department of political science and economics at Meiji University. Her work has appeared in Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, and Japanese Studies. Her first book, Circulating Fear: Japanese Horror, Fractured Realities, and New Media, was published by Lexington Books in 2021.
Official Website

Dr. Michael Crandol:

Michael Crandol is an Assistant Professor of Modern Japan Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he teaches courses on film, anime, and the supernatural in Japanese literature. He is the author of Ghost in the Well: The Hidden History of Horror Films in Japan, available from Bloomsbury Publishing.
Official Website

Previous Session

Kawaii: The Emergence and Evolution of Cuteness in Japanese Girls’ Culture

Watch all the episodes on YouTube.


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