Japanese Books – Ima wa mukashi


images taken from the Boston Museum of Fine Art‘s collection

“…Imawa-mukashi (a simple translation of which would be ‘Once upon a time. . .’, though the opening characters can also mean ‘stories of strange demons’).

“There is one other inexplicable feature of Imawa-mukashi: it repeats several creatures, in almost unchanged form, that appear in a painted scroll by the Maruyama/Shijo artist Komai Genki.”

“. . . by showing the awful unnerving effect of the apparitions on ordinary human beings, Shunei heightens their terrifying aspect.”

“. . . [I]n the three volumes comprising the work, there is limited colour-printing, but it is invariably effective, eerily highlighting bloodstains, or menacing shapes, like the bulk of the ogre-mountain, printed a sullen red in the original.”

~from The Art of the Japanese Book by Jack Hillier


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