Reimagining Ancient Japan

Following his sensational Wilder Mann series, in which he traveled throughout Europe in search of the mythical ‘wild man,’ French photographer Charles Fréger has undertaken a project to discover and interpret the equally mysterious ritual characters of ancient Japan.



This is the focus of Yokainoshima, a series of nearly 200 body-painted, masked, costumed portraits, created during his five trips to remote areas of island chain. Fréger artistically reincarnated figures from folklore — i.e. yokai, oni, tengu, kappa (or ghosts, monsters, ogres, goblins), originally embodied during festivals and ceremonies as a way of giving meaning to natural phenomena.

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