The Book of the Hakutaku

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The Book of the Hakutaku is available on Amazon.com. Check your local brick-and-mortar bookstores too!

Ancient legend tells of an encyclopedia called The Book of the Hakutaku, which was given to the emperor by a magical beast. This book contained information about all the spirits, gods, and demons in the universe. It was lost long ago, but parts of it were copied down. People have been collecting information about the spirit world in supernatural encyclopedias ever since.

Throughout Japan’s history, artists have gathered folklore from various sources and bundled them into illustrated, multi-volume encyclopedias. As demand grew, artists looked back into literature and history for inspiration. They copied monsters from ancient Chinese classics, reinterpreting them through a Japanese lens. They even invented new yōkai based on puns and reflecting contemporary societal issues. Today, the tradition of collecting and retelling yōkai stories remains strong.

This bestiary contains over 100 illustrated entries covering a wide variety of Japanese monsters, ghosts, and spirits. Some of them are native to Japan, while others have been incorporated into Japanese folklore from foreign cultures. Each entry is described in detail, including its habitat, diet, origin, and legends based on translations from Japanese texts.

The Book of the Hakutaku is 228 pages, with over one hundred full-color paintings. Inside the book you will find all of the following yokai: Aka manto, Akateko, Akkoro kamui, Akuchū, Amabie, Amazake babā, Amemasu, Appossha, Atui kakura, Bashō no sei, Byakko, Byōbu nozoki, Chirizuka kaiō, Daidarabotchi, Dōnotsura, Fuguruma yōhi, Furuōgi, Gangikozō, Genbu, Gumyōchō, Gyōchū, Gyokuto, Gyūkan, Haimushi, Haishaku, Hakutaku, Hangonkō, Hasamidachi, Himamushi nyūdō, Hinnagami, Hinoshu, Hishaku, Hizō no kasamushi, Hizō no mushi, , Hōsōshi, babā, Jikininki, Jinja hime, Kaichigo, Kakuran no mushi, Kanazuchibō, Karura, Karyōbinga, Kasane, Kazenbō, Kekkai, Kenmun, Kishaku, Kitai, Kitsune tsuki, Kokuri babā, Kōjin, Kosamebō, Koshō, Kosodate yūrei, Kotobuki, Kudan, Kurobōzu, Kuzunoha, Kyōkotsu, Maneki neko, Mimimushi, Minobi, Myōbu, Namekujira, Nigawarai, Ninmenju, Obariyon, Okiku, Oiwa, Okiku mushi, Okka, Ōmukade, Ōnamazu, Onikuma, Oshiroi babā, Otsuyu, Ōzake no mushi, Raijū, Sarugami, Seiryū, Shachihoko, Shiofuki, Shiro ukari, Shōki, Shokuin, Shukaku, Shumoku musume, Shussebora, Sōjōbō, Sori no kanmushi, Sunekosuri, Suzaku, Taibyō no kesshaku, Tako nyūdō, Tatarimokke, Teke teke, Tenjōname, Tennyo, Tōdaiki, Tomokazuki, Tsurara onna, Umakan, Unagi hime, Ushirogami, Uwabami, Wani, Yasha, Yatagarasu, and Yonaki babā.

Each entry has a detailed description based on translations of Japanese folklore and oral tales, and an illustration based on classical descriptions, woodblock prints, and paintings from throughout Japanese history. You won’t find any other book on yokai with this many monsters in it; let alone this many color illustrations! Here’s a few preview pages from the book so you can get a feel for what the whole thing looks like: