Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost


I am proud to announce that my book Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost is finally available for preorder! This book is the culmination of more than eight years of research, including work done for my MA thesis for the University of Sheffield. It is a deep dive into the history, folklore, religion, and culture behind Japanese ghosts—yūrei.


In other words, if you have ever wondered about the pale girl in the white kimono with the long black hair, dripping water—this will give you all the answers.

Click to preorder Yurei: The Japanese Ghost

What’s it about?

Unsurprisingly, Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost is about everything to do with yūrei. The book begins with Maruyama Ōkyo and his famous painting, The Ghost of Oyuki. Then we dive into the Edo period kaidan boom that set the stage for Ōkyo’s painting, and examine the influence of kabuki on yūrei and why they look the way they do. Next Lafcadio Hearn takes the stage with his Rule of the Dead, and we take a tour of the Japanese afterlife and the World Over There. We learn why Heian period Japanese aristocrats worried so much about their final thought, and hired zenchishiki to mid-wife them to death. Next we meet the San O-Yūrei—the Three Great Yūrei of Japan; Oiwa, Otsuyu, and Okiku. Then it is Obon, Japan’s festival of the dead, and finally we meet the warrior ghosts of Japan in noh theater and hear some Tales of Moonlight and Rain.


I modeled the book after Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, telling the stories of the people and history behind the various yūrei legends as well as the yūrei themselves. We will meet the painter Maruyama Ōkyo, the kabuki playwright Tsuruya Nanboku IV, the Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan who invented the word kaidan, and the Buddhist priest Asai Ryōi who wrote one of the most famous Japanese ghost stories of all time, Botan Dōrō, called The Tale of the Peony Lantern. The book intertwines these stories with the story of the yūrei, showing how the concepts developed over time and how Japan changed to encompass new beliefs in the supernatural.

Are there Japanese ghost stories in Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost?

Of course! Although that is not the main focus. I like to say it is a book about Japanese ghost stories not a book of Japanese ghost stories. So this is far more than just a collection of tales. But you will get lots of my translations in here.


Are there pictures in Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost?

Absolutely! We are still working on the details for this, but I plan to pack the book with as many yūrei-e as I can!


Will the book look cool?

Oh yes! The book itself is going to be amazing. My publisher, Chin Music Press, specializes in making cool physical books. They believe the best way to compete in the modern digital market is the make the physical book stand on its own as a piece of book art. Clothbound with an embossed cover— Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost is going to look tremendous on your book shelf.



Please Preorder!!!

Yurei Amazon Cover

And now my pitch! If you are planning to buy my book at all I encourage you to preorder it. You’ll never have a better price on the book than right now, and you will have time to save  before you actually have to pay! Plus you will be doing me a huge favor.

In the modern publishing world, preorders are king. The amount of preorders indicates interest to publishers and retailers. Retailers use preorder numbers to determine how much they will order and market the book. The publisher uses retailer orders to determine how large the print run will be.

This is especially true of a first-time author such as myself. I’ve been translating and writing for free here on hyakumonogatari.com for more than six years. If you have been enjoying reading the site I would appreciate your support for my book! And I know you will love it!

Click to preorder Yurei: The Japanese Ghost


24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nzumel
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 12:00:17

    Went to pre-order and realized that I already had. Looking forward to when it comes out.


  2. Zack Davisson
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 12:01:28

    Ha! Thanks! I’m looking forward to it too!!!!


  3. athan chilton
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 12:30:01

    Just saw the pre-order option–done! I sure could have used a book like this a long time ago when I wrote a story with a Japanese ghost in it 🙂


  4. ANN
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 12:42:38

    Very excited to see the book.

    congratulations Zack!

    Ann Fujii Lindwall


  5. osarusan
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 12:51:26

    This is going to be great. I am eagerly awaiting its release (and of course I pre-ordered it)!


  6. lady39jane
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 17:40:31

    I have done it! I eagerly await your book. But….., I don’t know if I can wait that long. ;D


  7. seikaiha
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 17:56:05

    Reblogged this on seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah.


  8. seikaiha
    Mar 05, 2014 @ 04:03:59

    I’m trying not to buy many printed books lately, but it’s kind of hard this time. I hope you think about paperback and ebook options. Anyway, I’m looking forward to it. 🙂


  9. cristyburne
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 16:52:23

    Congratulations Zac!!


  10. Nikolai Walker
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 17:41:55

    This is awesome. Congratulations, man!


  11. Jorge Garza
    May 02, 2014 @ 14:09:50

    Great! I have already pre-ordered the book and I’m waiting eagerly for its release. Greetings from Mexico.


  12. Henk Konings
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 04:56:11

    I’m looking forward to your book, but when will it be available? Preordered it in May with Amazon.de. They said the book would be released in September, now the date given is October 14. At Amazon.com the date is November 11. Little confusing.


  13. Tabbykitten
    Oct 09, 2014 @ 11:36:57

    Seconding this question… Just got an update from Amazon that the release was pushed back to the end of November. I hope everything is going well at the publishers!


  14. Zack Davisson
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 13:42:38

    Sorry about the confusion! Part of the problem with small press publishers. Amazon actually sets those dates without consulting with us, and we have no control over what publication date they promise. Things are coming along with the book, and we hope to have an actual publication date soon. We did have some problems with the proof copy–some things I wasn’t happy with that I insisted on being fixed. It means the finished book with be a little late, but I would rather have a late book that is wonderful than a book on time with mistakes in it!

    Thank you for your support, patience, and understanding!!!!!


  15. Puck
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 12:49:31

    I tried to pre-order through Amazon UK, but it’s listed there as just unavailable with no pre-order option. Anyway look forward to buying it looks great.


  16. Henk Konings
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 07:38:40

    Just got a message from Amazon that the book will be released in February. Can I order the book elsewhere or is it not available? I’m looking forward buying it.


  17. 83n831
    Aug 05, 2015 @ 08:54:34

    Amazon just emailed me: “Hello Bill Ellis, “Yurei: The Japanese Ghost” has shipped.”

    Congratulations, Zack, the long wait is over!


  18. Zack Davisson
    Aug 05, 2015 @ 09:16:51

    Fantastic!!! Let me know when you get it!!!


  19. lady39jane
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 15:20:33

    It came TODAY! “confetti and noisemakers” And it looks Gorgeous……!!!! Got to find a hidey hole, and sit and savor it. All I need is your autograph. ;D

    Congrats on your first publication!


  20. Trackback: Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost | Contemporary Japanese Literature
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All translations and other writing on this website were created by Zack Davisson and are copyright to him.

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