Event Details
Yōkai: Ghosts & Demons of Japan- Public Opening
Performance Featured Event Family Exhibition Opening

Yōkai: Ghosts & Demons of Japan- Public Opening

December 8, 2019

Join us for the exhibit opening of Yōkai: Ghosts & Demons of Japan, on December 8, 2019, with free family friendly events, and a ghost house from 1-4pm.

1pm Satori Murata and Joe Hayes tell Japanese and New Mexican Ghost stories in the Vernick Auditorium

2pm Experience the Ghost House in the Yōkai exhibit

2pm Artist Joel Nakamura Leads Yōkai drawing activities

2pm Refreshments by the Museum of New Mexico Women’s Board

The Museum of International Folk Art will be one of the first museums to present a large-scale yōkai-centered exhibition in the United States.

Vivid in Japanese art and imagination are creatures that are at once ghastly and comical. Yōkai generally refers to demons, ghosts, shapeshifters, and “strange” and supernatural beings. Specific creatures are commonly associated with classical literature, folklore, theatrical performances, festivals, art, and other forms of expressive culture. Yōkai are also prevalent in contemporary Japanese popular culture; you find them in manga (comics), anime (animation), and character-based games such as Pokémon (“pocket monster”). In addition to participatory gallery crafts, the exhibition will include an immersive, (a Japanese “ghost house”), a popular form of entertainment in Japanese amusement parks.

The Museum of International Folk Art’s exhibit features scroll paintings, woodblock prints, and kimonos as well as costumes, puppets, and masks used in classical theatrical performances. In addition, the exhibit will include demon festivals such as the Ushioni festival of Uwajima and the Namahage festival of Oga. Contemporary folk art includes works from master artists of Noh masks and Awa Ningnyo Jururi (puppets). While many of these items come from the existing permanent collection, the museum will collaborate with major institutions including the newly opened Yumoto Koichi Memorial Yōkai Museum in Miyoshi City (Hiroshima Prefecture). The museum will also partner with artist Kono Junya of Kyoto-based  art collective, Hyakuyôbako (“Box of 100 Yokai”) to create an immersive obake yashiki, (a Japanese-style ghost house).

The Museum of International Folk Art brings yōkai to the United States so that audiences might glean insight and an appreciation for Japanese art and literature, as well as its influence on contemporary Japanese popular culture. Through Yōkai: Ghosts and Demons of Japan, museum guests may contemplate what pop-culture looked like centuries ago, and why contemporary entertainment carried these supernatural figures into current media. Perhaps, like the people of 16th century Japan, today’s society still seeks to explain the strange and unknown pieces of the human experience.

Learn more about the exhibit here: 


About the Museum of International Folk Art:


Founded in 1953 by Florence Dibell Bartlett, the Museum of International Folk Art’s mission is to foster understanding of the traditional arts to illuminate human creativity and shape a humane world. The museum holds the world’s largest international folk art collection of more than 150,000 objects from six continents and over 150 nations, representing a broad range of global artists whose artistic expressions make Santa Fe an international crossroads of culture. For many visitors, fascination with folk art begins upon seeing the whimsical toys and traditional objects within the Girard Collection. For others, the international textiles, ceramics, carvings and other cultural treasures in the Neutrogena Collection provide the allure.  The museum’s historic and contemporary Latino and Hispano folk art collections, spanning the Spanish Colonial period to modern-day New Mexico, reflect how artists respond to their time and place in ways both delightful and sobering. In 2010, the museum opened the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience, where exhibitions encourage visitors to exchange ideas on complex issues of human rights and social justice.

 706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, NM 87505. (505) 476-1200.

Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. First Sunday of Every Month is free to NM Residents.

More Info