In Japan, supernatural beliefs connect the spiritual realm with the earthly objects around us

In Japan, supernatural beliefs connect the spiritual realm with the earthly objects around us
28 March 2024 J.W.H

Sometimes life seems incomprehensible, it comes from one other world. Supernatural elements have been invoked in lots of cultures and religions as a approach to understand the thresholds of mortal worlds and immortality through images and stories.

For some, supernatural phenomena may also help them understand the irrationality of life. For others, it provides context for the feel of grief. And for still others, it provides continuity within the afterlife.

Rapunzel (2004) by Miwa Yanagi.
Art Gallery of New South Wales

Supernatural Japanlatest exhibition on the Art Gallery of New Jersey, explores the complex, playful and imaginative ways in which Japanese culture has visualized these themes from the 18th century to today.

Connection with on a regular basis life

Defining the supernatural is a difficult task – reflecting our contentious understanding of mortality and morality. Japan has a captivating history of bringing mysticism to life – starting with evocative woodcuts of the scholar, poet and artist Toriyama Sekien (1712–1788), for powerful storytelling Hayao Miyazaki (With A spiritual trip fame of animated movies) and “super-flat” popular character creations Takashi Murakami.

In Japan – Inspired by Shinto beliefs about concepts animism – soul (“reicon”) lives in all existence and phenomena. Everyday things – from objects to plants to mountains – can be defined as “We” or deities.

This combination of the natural and spiritual worlds creates a comprehensive understanding and respect for on a regular basis life. Cups could also be vessels for long-lost ancestors. Would you throw away a mug if it could hold the ghost of your long-lost grandmother?

Indeed, each personal and global lessons will be learned from an animistic assessment of the environment within the face of electricity Anthropocene challenges.

Fuyuko Matsui The Parasite Will Not Leave the Body (Ōsei wa karada o saranai), 2011.
Art Gallery of New South Wales

Powerful spirits

An exhibition of supernatural phenomena begins in Japan Edo period (1603–1868) and covers three centuries as much as its modern manifestations. Stories are included that highlight the enduring power of the supernatural to know humanity's limits and potential.

Concepts like Yokai — which in English roughly means monsters, goblins, demons and ghosts — often take the shape of on a regular basis animals or objects. It gives a prolific and prophetic work of 18th-century Sekiena prints and books Yokai the creolized face of a personality that may arouse each delight and fear.

Fragment of Toriyama Sekien's Night Procession of a Hundred Demons (1776)
Art Gallery of New South Wales

In Japan Yokai they’ve long been utilized in art and culture as a approach to reflect on morality and mortality. As an anthropologist Komatsu Kazuhiko notes within the exhibition catalogue, Yokai in recent many years, it has received long-overdue scientific attention.

“Japan Yokai culture is amazingly wealthy,” he writes. “One aspect Yokai culture is related to religious and spiritual history, one other culture is related to art, including literature, visual arts, theater and popular entertainment.

Japanese supernatural forms often change and transform. Just a few of these transformational concepts will be translated into English: Bakemono means “changing things”, mononoke means “things that transform” and Jurek is the Japanese word for ghosts.

However, art can unlock different cultural perceptions and understandings of otherworldly shapeshifters that transcend language.

Takashi Murakami's large-scale painting: Vertigo After looking too intensely at an empty world, I discovered myself trapped in a land of lurking ghosts and monsters (2019).
Photo: Kaikai Kiki/Art Gallery of NSW

Liquid stories

The haunting presence of specters throughout the centuries creates and curates a unique sense of time throughout this exhibition.

Seiken's work will be found on director Isao Takahata's woodblocks for the 1994 Studio Ghibli animation Room Room. The exhibition features top masters Ukiyo-e period from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, like Katsushika Hokusai, famous for his timeless printing The Great Wave.

Supernatural phenomena in Japan are ubiquitous and occur in strange ways. For example, anthropologist Anne Allison examines the Shinto-inspired death industries emerging in Japan.

Regeneration of Broken Thought (2012) Fuyuko Matsui.
Art Gallery of New South Wales

Funerals and cemeteries are being established for people without families. Elderly Japanese reunite with strangers they shall be buried next to – some move across Tokyo to live with their 'grave friends”on this life.

This continuity with life, death and the afterlife can teach us much in regards to the supernatural in our on a regular basis lives; the right way to higher understand one another, the environment around us, and possibly even understand what is meaningless.

Supernatural Japan runs from November 2 to March 8 on the Art Gallery of NSW.

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”