Mizuki Shigeru

(Japan 1922 – 2015)

Crêpe-paper picture postcards by Mizuki Shigeru (Mizuki Shigeru chirimen e-hagaki)

Not on display
Further information

These cards feature reproductions of manga drawings of characters from Japan’s supernatural world by the pioneering artist Mizuki Shigeru. It was Mizuki Shigeru who brought the yōkai tradition of supernatural characters back into Japanese popular culture in the 1960s. The result of decades of research, his 'Definitive encycopedia of Japanese monsters (Ketteiban Nihon yōkai taizen)' describes almost 900 supernatural beings, ten of which are illustrated in this postcard set. The cards also reference Japan’s chirimen or crêpe-paper tradition which was popular in the 1880s and 90s for children’s books, including works in English for international markets. The use of chirimen for this set and the late 19th century style of the striped card case consciously reference styles that were fashionable in Japan's Meji perios (1868-1912).

The yōkai and yūrei (ghosts) illustrated on the ten cards are: tsurube-otoshi (bucket bomber); hoho-nade (cheek brushers); murei or baku (dream spirit); azuki-arai (bean washer); akaname (grime licker); kingyo no yūrei (goldfish ghost); chirizuka Kai ō (strange king of the dust heap); chōchin Oiwa (lantern-demoness Oiwa); nurikabe (plastered wall), and kutabe (frightening woodcutters). The figure of Oiwa makes direct reference to Katsushika Hokusai’s famous c1831-32 woodblock print of the ghost of Oiwa while the kingyo no yūrei takes its form from the ghostly figures in a triptych of the ghost of Asakura Tōgo by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, an impression of which is in the Gallery’s collection (285.2018.a-c).

Place of origin
set of 10 postcards in a case (tatō); crêpe-paper on card
case 16.9 x 12.3 cm, each card 10 x 15 cm
Gift of Akio and Ayami Eastburn Todo 2020
Accession number
© Estate of Mizuki Shigeru