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 his Yokainoshima series, nearly 200 body-painted, masked, costumed portraits created over the course of five trips to remote areas of the island chain. In the photographs, Fréger artistically reincarnates folkloric figures — i.e. yokai, oni, tengu, kappa (or ghosts, monsters, ogres, goblins) — in getups loosely based on those they may have worn, complete with straw, hair, and frightful masks.

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