TIL about hyaku-monogatari ("one hundred stories"), gatherings where participants would take turns telling kaidan (spooky stories) in a closed room by candlelight. After each story, a candle would be extinguished, the last story plunging the room into darkness. Popular during the early Edo period, the goal was to induce a supernatural experience — or, at least, to test the nerve of participants. From Michael Dylan Foster's The Book of Yokai. #theLibrary
Some nifty cultural transmission: Foster traces an 18th c. illustration of a ninmenju ("human-faced tree") to an earlier model in the Wakan-sansaizue, a Japanese-Chinese compilation, adapted from the Sancaituhui, a Chinese text that places the tree in Da-shi, possibly a transliteration of tazi, Persian for "Arab." And in some copies of the 10th c. Persian epic Shahnama, there are compositionally similar illustrations of Alexander the Great conversing with the tree that prophesied his death.
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