Given that the traditional Shinto religion of Japan taught that the world was full of animistic spirits, it is no wonder that 'ghosts' played such a large part in Japanese folklore, literature, Noh and Kabuki theatre, and in woodcut prints. Encounters with the supernatural were felt as a real experience, and many, like Yoshitoshi, had affecting sightings of ghosts. The word for ghost, kai, actually means strange, monstrous or weird, so the supernatural beings included a variety of demons and monsters as well as the spirits of dead humans returning from hell to haunt the living.

Image["Iga no Tsubone"]

Iga no Tsubone

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Image["Kobayakawa Takakage"]

Kobayakawa Takakage

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Image["Ii no Hayata"]

Ii no Hayata

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Image["False Murasaki and a Rural Genji"]

False Murasaki and a Rural Genji

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Image["Takagi Umanosuke"]

Takagi Umanosuke

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The Fitzwilliam Museum : Ghosts

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