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Beginning with 2008’s “Yokai Attack!,” translators Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt have been on a quest to bring an aspect of Japanese culture that has lurked in the shadows to the world at large.

Yōkai, the ghouls, goblins, specters and sprites of Japanese folklore, are shape-shifters, each with a unique modus operandi: Some make it their business to blow out lanterns on moonless nights, while others might manifest as floating balls of flame. Yōkai have been kept alive, so to speak, in the modern era by the works of manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, and more recently by the “Yokai Watch” franchise of video games, manga and animation.

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