Human of the Heart: Pitiful Oni in Medieval Japan

Authored by: Michelle Osterfeld Li

The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781409407546
eBook ISBN: 9781315241197
Adobe ISBN: 9781351894326


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No spirit-creature figures as prominently in Japan as the oni, responding to the fears and aspirations of diverse people across centuries, sometimes challenging the social systems and political orders while elsewhere sustaining them. Oni have always been part spiritual and part material, associated with an invisible realm and a sense of mystery, and elusive by nature. They are often thought of as Buddhist creatures, but their relationship with Buddhism is complex.

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