Japanese Demon Lore
Japanese Demon Lore
Noriko T. Reider
6 x 9, 216 pages

Published: 2010

ISBN 978-0-87421-948-7
paper $26.95

ISBN 978-0-87421-794-0
e-book $24.00

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Noriko T. Reider
NORIKO T. REIDER is associate professor of Japanese at Miami University. She is the author of Tales of the Supernatural in Early Modern Japan: Kaidan, Akinari, Ugetsu monogatari (2002). Her articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as Asian Folklore Studies, Japan Forum, Film Criticism, and International Journal of Asian Studies.

Japanese Demon Lore

Oni, from Ancient Times to the Present

Noriko T. Reider
forword by Peter Knecht


"As Noriko Reider eloquently shows in this volume, oni let us have a glimpse at how the Japanese imagine their world in its relation with the outside, continually reinterpreted according to the change of times. They help people to come to terms with the other."
—Peter Knecht, editor of Asian Folklore Studies

Oni, ubiquitous supernatural figures in Japanese literature, lore, art, and religion, usually appear as demons or ogres. Characteristically threatening, monstrous creatures with ugly features and fearful habits, including cannibalism, they also can be harbingers of prosperity, beautiful and sexual, and especially in modern contexts, even cute and lovable. There has been much ambiguity in their character and identity over their long history. Usually male, their female manifestations convey distinctivly gendered social and cultural meanings.

Oni appear frequently in various arts and media, from Noh theater and picture scrolls to modern fiction and political propaganda, They remain common figures in popular Japanese anime, manga, and film and are becoming embedded in American and international popular culture through such media. Noriko Reiderýs book is the first in English devoted to oni. Reider fully examines their cultural history, multifaceted roles, and complex significance as "others" to the Japanese.

Book Review by Katharine Schramm, Indiana University Journal of Folklore Research January 10, 2013

Book Review Book News Inc. February 2011

Book Review by Zack Davisson for Japan Reviewed May 21, 2011