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Kaibyō: The Supernatural Cats of Japan
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Kaibyō: The Supernatural Cats of Japan

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  19 reviews
An in-depth exploration of the sometimes charming, sometimes gruesome feline creatures and ghosts of Japan. Davisson illuminates the vast realm of kaibyō, or supernatural cats, with historical and modern cultural context. Lushly illustrated in full color with dozens of ukiyo-e prints and drawings. A must-have book for the Japanophile and cat-lover alike!
Paperback, 142 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Chin Music Press / Mercuria Press
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4.39  · 
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 ·  102 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Lucy Banks
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Accessible introduction to Japanese cat-yokai, with gorgeous illustrations.

This book was a gift from a friend who knows me oh-so-well, and knows my adoration for all things supernatural and all things cat-related. I've also been a long-time fan of Japanese folklore, particularly the weird and wonderful yokai; so much fodder for future book inspiration!

Right from the start, I loved this book. The front cover is a work of art in itself and feels gorgeous to hold - always a key factor for me when r
Orrin Grey
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The first (mostly) prose book that I have finished in 2018, Zack Davisson's Kaibyo serves as a nearly perfect little primer on the history, mystery, and many variations of cat-related folklore in Japan. While Davisson's extensive knowledge of the topic provides welcome context at every turn, the book never becomes too bogged down in scholarship, walking an enviable tightrope of readable and informative. Accompanied by a wide array of illustrations pulled from various historical sources, and inte ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Zack Davisson does a wonderful job unearthing the history of Japan's "demon cats" in his beautifully illustrated volume from Chin Music Press. Cataloging each iteration of demon cat: its origins, its stories, its predecessors, and its successors, Davisson fleshes out these creepy cats. Whether you're a history buff, a Japanese scholar, an art critic, or just a lover of cats, this unique volume will totally engage you.
Minami Powers
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a very interesting book about different kinds of supernatural cats, and also included bits of Japanese culture in it. I would definitely recommend to people who like cats, Japanese culture, or even just horror and scary stories. Also a bunch of cool pictures(ukiyo-e)!
I found this book to be incredibly fascinating. A interesting mixture of history, art, folklore and the supernatural. I enjoyed the inclusion of famous Japanese artwork and seeing the stories connecting with the artwork was truly fascinating.
Ben Leach
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I always get a little nervous when I see a book that has really great reviews but not a lot of them. It makes me think that only a specific audience (or, perhaps even worse, the author's friends and family) pumping up the reviews on what could ultimately be a mediocre piece of writing.

I'm happy to say that's not the case. Intrigued by the theme and cover after seeing it in a local bookstore, I am thrilled that I took a chance on this book. It is genuinely informative on the different types of ka
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent book for readers weary of retreading the same tired topics and searching for something different. The book is split into sections, first providing a brief overview of Japan's historical relationship with cats, then separating the strands of cat myth, devoting a section of the book to each. The mythology is enriched with translated extracts from period texts, retellings of relevant legends, historical asides, and lavish illustrations. The author does not shy away from the fact that c ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not only was this book interesting and informative, it was beautifully designed and produced. Though I do wish that the captions hadn't been in black type on a dark red background -- made them really hard to read.

Recommended for anyone who likes cats, especially information about cats' place in culture; as well as anyone who's interested in Japanese culture and history or anyone who's interested in "monsters," cryptozoology, the supernatural, and other weirdnesses.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan-diaspora
Davisson’s beautiful new book, Kaibyō: The Supernatural Cats of Japan, comprises a primer on the rich tapestry of Japanese cat lore, carefully organized to be both accessible and engaging. Like his Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost (2015), Kaibyō features traditional Japanese strange tales, a number of which have been translated by the author. Full review:
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The text together with the illustrations and the design make a truly stunning book - one you can totally judge by the cover (and that's just the dust jacket! Take a peek underneath it, it's mad what's hiding there =3)
Short but informative - the content doesn't disappoint.

It's not a book to rush through; you'd do well to savour it.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Fantastic, charming collection of tales about supernatural cats - including their origins and evolution. He includes informative little language side notes, and the book is filled with great illustrations. His writing style is very casual but also informative, making it a fun read that elicits both laughs and frights. A few supernatural cats are genuinely terrifying!
Melissa Bennight
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully designed and well researched. Includes excellent reproductions of many historical works of art and lots of interesting anecdotes, newspaper articles, and excerpts from historic anthologies. Would definitely recommend to anyone interested in Japanese folklore.
The Witchiepoo
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is beautifully designed with high-quality illustrations. For anyone who is interested in Japanese culture this book will surely entertain you. It introduces the reader to the popular Japanese folklore in different periods from Edo era till the modern time.
Deena Wilde
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This was a very interesting read, regarding cats and their history in Japan. Both natural and supernatural. I enjoyed reading this very much and would recommend this to all my friends! I received this thru a giveaway.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love cats and I really enjoyed reading this book. The history and information provided was very interesting and engaging. It was not at all a dry read. The art prints included through nearly every page really added to the book.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
so interesting, easy to read the short descriptions of different cat demons, and great historical background!
Andree Larson
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not only impeccably researched and illustrated, but a written in an engaging style. This is never leaving my bookshelf.
Corinna Bechko
What fun! The reproductions are gorgeous, the text informative, readable, and enjoyable. Exactly what every ailurophile needs in their library!
Mlle Ghoul
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I adored Davisson’s previous book, Yurei: The Japanese Ghost, an exploration on the various ghosts found in Japanese culture, conveyed via warm, relatable anecdotes, deep research, and translations of many centuries worth of Japanese ghost stories. It was a pleasure to read, and felt like sitting for coffee with an old friend who had the most wonderful tales to tell. Kabiyo: The Supernatural Cats Of Japan, while just as fascinatingly informative and even more sumptuously illustrated, seemed dry ...more
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Zack Davisson is a translator, writer and scholar of Japanese folklore and ghosts. He is the author of Yurei: The Japanese Ghost and The Ghost of Oyuki from Chin Music Press, and is a contributing writer to Weird Tales Magazine and Wayward from Image Comics. As a manga translator, he was nominated for the 2014 Japanese-US Friendship Commission Translation Prize and translates Shigeru Mizuki's comi ...more