“Ever since ancient times people believed in myths and legends. Gods, ghosts, spirits – and yokai.
They appeared everywhere: people made plays about them, told stories of them and they even had a place in language, for they often were subject of common sayings. However, few people knew that in fact they lived amongst them.”
Sounds familiar? Well, it should! *laughs* After all that’s how the Doujinshi of Tales of Yokai begins. But it’s more than just those few pages – Tales of Yokai is a collection of many stories about many different characters in a peculiar world of wonders. Though the world may seem like feudal Japan (somewhere between the Muromachi and the Sengoku period) and the places and characters all have Japanese names, it’s actually a fictional world, strongly inspired by japanese myths and legends.
I must admit though, this world isn’t one I built entirely on my own. Though I expanded it and my own characters only thread upon the parts of the realm I built – and though all I write and draw
about here is of my creation, I was at first only a guest in this strange, but beautiful world.
What I mean? Well, let me explain... Someone very dear to me opened the gates to this ancient realm. I was impressed by his imagination, it felt so vivid, so real and I loved listening to his stories. One night I then had an odd dream, I dreamed of a burning pagoda and in midst of the flames a girl rose. She had ash black hair, very pale eyes, one green, the other blue and was clad in a red kimono.
I did not know what this dream meant, but he, the creator of the realm, told me that this girl was as though she came from his world and together we gave her more of a shape... My first character in this fantastic world was born: Shinseiji – and with her, I had made my first step in this world.
Before I knew it more characters joined her – and ahead of all there was my dear Karasu, a crow yokai, quite the cheeky one. He’s Shinseiji’s guardian and friend, though she doesn’t know why he’s always by her side. She isn’t aware that Karasu knew her mother... And was in love with her – an unrequited kind of love.
Now quite some time has passed ever since the day he helped me to shape Shinseiji and it feels like it’s been forever since we worked together on this story. Without his characters the realm doesn't feel whole - actually it's as though half of the world is missing. But to me it has become ever so important nevertheless – along with all of the characters that inhabit this mythical realm. I hope for the day that we can continue the stories together – and that I can invite him to meet all the yokai I thought of ever since.
There’s Seiichiro, a cursed samurai; Umeko, a beautiful fox maiden (a kitsune) – and there’s the charming Kazemaru, a male cat and owner of a house of Geisha. And there’s also Harusame, a rain sprite, Hotaru, the ghost of a deceased girl who punishes criminals by leading them astray, Kuro no Hane, Karasu’s wicked uncle, of course also a crow and many, many more...
It's an ever growing world - yes, strange and beautiful at the very same time. Just like the way how yokai are strange and beautiful.