For all sorts of reasons, summer is the season of ghosts in Japan. Accordingly, The University Art Museum in Tokyo is presenting an exhibition of work connected to Meiji Era (1867-1912) storyteller Sanyutei Encho (1839-1900). Encho practised the art of rakugo, a traditional and minimalist Japanese style of storytelling, in which a seated narrator typically uses only a fan and a hand towel as props.

Encho was famous for telling ghost stories, and also collected paintings and artworks featuring ghosts and supernatural creatures. He also commissioned works on these themes from artists of the day, including paintings by Shibata Zeshin and Iijima Koga. After his death, many of these pictures were left to Zenshoan, his family’s temple in Tokyo’s Yanaka neighbohood, and they are the main source of the works on display.

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