Imagining the collector

This section of the exhibit will make more sense if you’ve already read the sections called “Pasting senjafuda” and “Exchanging senjdafuda.” Here we’ll explore the playful, meme-like referentiality of senjafuda by showing how images of yōkai have been employed to comment on the history and nature of senjafuda culture and its participants. In particular we’ll be looking at images of foxes, tengu, and oni as they relate to senjafuda pasting and collecting; for general information and further depictions of these yōkai please follow the links above.

In the slip above, a man in a tengu mask tosses senjafuda into the air. One of the flying slips says “Starr,” another says “Professor Ofuda,” while another says “MaebashiHan,” indicating that this slip was designed for Starr or for an exchange meeting at which Starr was scheduled to be present. Is the man behind the mask intended to be Starr himself or another senjafuda collector? The anonymity is the point, as the participant’s identity is subsumed into that of the tengu—with all that implies.

Prev Next