Japan's supernatural beings showcased in Auckland exhibition

Corazon Miller
Source: 1News

The unique forms and shapes of Japanese folklore are on display in central Auckland as part of the 70-year commemorations of Kiwi-Japanese relations.

The exhibition, Yokai Parade: Supernatural Monsters from Japan, has opened at the Central City Library and runs until November 6.

Yokai are supernatural monsters that form the centrepiece of Japanese folklore, depicted in story books, comics, paintings and sculptures.

Some might even recognise them from the Harry Potter franchise. Known as a Kappa one featured in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The creepy water dweller is said to be based on a traditional Yokai character, that looks a bit like a lizard and enjoys eating cucumber.

Japan's consul-general in Auckland, Sinichi Hamada, says it is great to be able to showcase to New Zealand his nation's art.

"For Japanese people, Yokai is very familiar," he says. "But I want people living in New Zealand to come to watch those Yokai.

"Some are indeed very scary, instilling fear or surprise, but the others are sometimes cute or charming or friendly, so you can see a very different kind in this exhibition."

The exhibition which opened just in time for the school holidays is part of a year-long celebration of New Zealand and Japan's close diplomatic links.

In 1952 the two countries signed a peace treaty, which led to New Zealand's first diplomatic mission in Asia.

Today Japan is New Zealand's 4th largest trading partner - worth around $8 billion.