Ghosts and Spirits of Japan, in Milan the exhibition with illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe

Ghosts and Spirits of Japan – Don’t Cross the Red Bridgein Milan an exhibition to venture into the shadows and mysteries of Japanese folklore

Two steps in the monsters of Japanese folklore between ghosts and spirits? While in Monza it is possible to visit the exhibition for a few more weeks Yōkai. The ancient prints of Japanese monsters underway at the Belvedere of the Villa Reale, a new exhibition inspired by illustrations and stories from books opens in Milan on 9 September Ghost Stories of Japan And Spirits and Creatures of Japan of the French artist Benjamin Lacombe (The Hippocampus Editions).

After the success of the Botteghe di Tokyo exhibition (more than 130,000 visitors in five months) it is now the turn of the darker and more mysterious side of the Rising Sun; in the spaces of TENOHA Milano (concept store dedicated to Japan), an exhibition with a magical and restless atmosphere has taken shape from the illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe.

Ghosts and Spirits of Japan – Don’t Cross the Red Bridge (September 9 – January 23) is an exhibition that develops in a multisensory path where the spirits and creatures of Japan come to life. A journey full of Japanese folklore inspired by the legends of tradition transcribed by Lafcadio Hearn, one of the observers and scholars who most knew how to tell the wonder and amazement of Westerners catapulted into the world of Japan: on April 4, 1890 he lands in Yokohama, it is his first day in the East. A revelation, for him, and at the same time the starting point of a research that will mark for the Japanese themselves the rediscovery of a heritage hidden before their eyes: “The first charm of Japan is as impalpable and volatile as a perfume. For me it all started with the first exit in kuruma from the European quarter of Yokohama to go to the Japanese part of the city; and below I report what I remember of that episode …

Today, after so many years, that world of Japanese folklore is still full of charm and continues to inspire writers and artists, such as Benjamin Lacombe, a French illustrator beloved all over the world, who told in two volumes the world of spirits and supernatural creatures of Japan. It is his drawings that come to life and transport visitors to the exhibition across the red bridge that unites the world of humans with that of spirits. The artist has given a new shape to the famous yokai, supernatural creatures that can take on the most diverse appearances and characters, from the kappa to the faceless woman, passing through kitsune and kodama. Expression of Japanese animism, in the West they are identified as monsters or ghosts, but in reality they escape any definition.

The exhibition is developed in a 1100sqm space with over 10 themed rooms, where tradition meets technological innovation with animations, sets, 3d and videos that create an immersive and multisensory environment. The goal is to raise awareness of Japanese culture with its many facets through themed initiatives and projects, which have always been fascinating and mysterious thanks to a millenary past of history and traditions and a present rich in technology and innovation. Tickets can be purchased on the site of the exhibition.

The books of Benjamin Lacombe. Ghost Stories of Japan translates into images the famous compendium of Japanese folklore written by Lafcadio Hearn. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Irish writer was one of the first Westerners to obtain Japanese citizenship: his love for the culture of his new homeland led him to travel through the various provinces of the country, transcribing ghost stories and legends handed down orally. from generation to generation. Benjamin Lacombe reinterprets the wide range of traditional bestiary with his style. This edition, edited by Ottavio Fatica, takes up part of the texts he translated for Adelphi in the Japanese Shadows collection, completing it with others, proposed here for the first time to the Italian public.

In Spirits and Creatures of Japan the protagonist is the natural world, which in Japan has always been viewed with respect and surrounded by a mysterious and disturbing aura. Story after story, we move from the depths of the sea to verdant forests. The volume is sumptuously illustrated with shrewd and monstrous characters, protagonists of evocative stories full of suspense.

September 9, 2022> January 15, 2023

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Ghosts and Spirits of Japan, in Milan the exhibition with illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe – ArtsLife