Cart

The Spirit of Japan

The Spirit of Japan

Festivals, Rituals and Everyday Magic

From the creators of The Garden

written by Sean Michael Wilson
illustrated by Fumio Obata

978-1-912634-30-9 * £11.99 *

BUY NOW

An introduction to everyday Japanese rituals and spiritual practices.

Japan is sometimes called a ‘non-religious’ country, but this cliché is simply not true! If we look closer, we find that spirits, demons and magic are woven into the fabric of Japanese folklore and their effigies still populate roadsides and rituals to this day.

Japan is alive with magical festivals, practices and rituals – from marking the liminal new year with the burning of last year’s possessions, to smiling at the return of spring in the cherry blossoms. Greeting new life, making offerings to the old and banishing demons with the hurl of a soybean are all examples of intriguing Japanese traditions.

Many of these cultural practices are seen as mundane or normal, but they each express something sublime and numinous. Japanese rituals perform a powerful role in helping people deal with nature, time, seasons, aging and death – bringing a bit of everyday magic into everyday lives.

The Spirit of Japan is an accessible introduction to Japanese spiritual practice, perfect for those who are curious about spirituality or Japanese culture and would like to know more.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Value of Magic in Everyday Lives 
New Year Rituals 
Out Demons! Setsubun (節分) Bean Throwing 
Obon (お盆) Ancestors 
Jizo (地蔵) Roadside Shrines 
Funeral and Death Rituals 
Omikuji (おみくじ) and Other Fortune Charms 
Hanami (花見) Spring Ritual 
Hanabi (花火) Fireworks 
Land Cleansing Ritual 
Rituals at Shrines and Temples 
Recent Foreign Festivals in Japan 
Iro Iro (Various Things) 

Sean Michael Wilson is a writer living in Scotland and Japan. His books are often on themes of history, biography and social issues. He has had more than twenty books published with a variety of US, UK, and Japanese publishers. His 2016 book The Faceless Ghost was nominated for an Eisner Award. In 2017, his book Secrets of the Ninja won an International Manga Award. (read more)

Fumio Obata is an illustrator and animator whose style and work are influenced by both Japanese and European aesthetics. He is latest graphic novel Just So Happens (Jonathan Cape, 2014) was critically acclaimed
and been published in eight languages. (read more)

Behind the scenes with Fumio Obata

Award-winning illustrator Fumio Obata offers a look behind the scenes, sharing his process of developing The Garden.

View Post

Happy publication day to The Garden!

The Garden is out now!

Find out where to buy a copy and read what reviewers are saying about the book…

View Post

Sean Michael Wilson on The Garden

This is a special guest post by Sean Michael Wilson, author of our graphic novel The Garden. With illustrations by Fumio Obata, The Garden is a story of healing through mindfulness and gardening.

In this blog post, Sean shares some background on how the book came about, as well as how gardening and mindfulness have benefited his life.

The Garden is published 21 May. Pre-order from our webshop.

View Post

The Garden pre-orders are open

Pre-orders are open now for The Garden by Sean Michael Wilson and Fumio Obata. This gorgeous graphic novel will publish on 21 May.

PRE-ORDER THE GARDEN HERE

View Post

Announcing: The Garden

We’re thrilled to announce our first spring 2020 publication – and our first graphic novel! The Garden, publishing in May 2020, is a beautiful story of growth and healing through mindfulness and gardening.

From two of our all-time favourite comics creators, Sean Michael Wilson and Fumio Obata, The Garden is a beautiful, soulful work that you simply won’t want to miss!

View Post

The Garden

The Garden

by Sean Michael Wilson & Fumio Obata

978-1-912634-16-3 * £12.99 * Published 21st May 2020

Distributed in North America by Sterling Publishing

BUY THE GARDEN NOW

The Garden is a beautiful story of healing and growth through mindfulness and gardening.

Joanna is a high-powered finance consultant who’s been signed off work after having a nervous breakdown. Seeking more than just something to pass the time, she travels to Kyoto, Japan, to immerse herself in the arts of zen gardening and meditation.

Returning home – and to the challenges of daily life – Joanna finds peace and a new sense of calm through nurturing her own garden – and her soul

I have happily forgotten what used to concern me before all this.
I am the strongest thing in the world.
I have an infinity of precious details to smile upon

REVIEWS FOR THE GARDEN:

“A worthy message of mindfulness and the benefits of taking time to stop and appreciate what’s around you rather than always pushing forwards.” – Big Comic Page

“an enjoyable, blissful escape” – Broken Frontier

a passive look at self-awareness that is rare in this medium, presented beautifully in hard-back” – UK Anime Network

“Calm, contemplative and refreshing, The Garden is a seed of surprise just waiting for you to plant it.” – Now Read This

“The rat race consumes such a vast amount of our time, and it’s easy to get mentally lost in the pressure of work sometimes – to the detriment of the very thing that makes you ‘you’. Sean and Fumio capture this perfectly in [The Garden].” – Read it Daddy

“Wilson’s words and Obata’s illustrations compliment each other wonderfully and create such a beautiful read.” – Northern Plunder

“a beautiful read that offers a moment of calm” – A Cat, A Book, and A Cup of Tea

Fumio Obata

Fumio Obata (born in Toyko, 1975) came to the UK when he was 16 years old and completed his BA Illustration degree at Glasgow School of Art and a Master degree in Communication Design from Royal College of Art in London. He then pursued his comic book career here in the UK after realizing there were more challenges in Europe than his home country, Japan. He is now an author whose work and inspiration come from cultural differences and social issues in his surroundings. His style and work are influenced by both Japanese and European aesthetics.

He is latest graphic novel Just So Happens, published by Jonathan Cape, Random House, has won many high acclaims and now been translated and published in 8 different countries.

Fumio also has a career as an animator. Between 2003 and 2008 he worked with Duran DuranChannel4, and joined Redkite Animations in Edinburgh in 2006. In Edinburgh, he worked on numbers of joint projects with DC Thompson.

Between 2008-9 he completed a comic artist residency at La Maison Des Auteurs (The House of Authors)Angoulême, France – a renowned programme organised by La Cité Internationale de la Bande Desinée et de l’image. In 2013 he was offered a senior lecturer post for the BA Illustration course at the University of Gloucestershire in UK and currently supporting young talents to develop their own/unique artistic voices in various sequential contexts such as animation, graphic novel and children’s book. 

He is a regular contributor to Italian News Magazine Internazionale for his graphic reportage on a series of natural disasters in Japan.

Head over to Fumio’s website

Stay in touch via Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.

Order Just So Happens in the UK

Fumio’s publications for Liminal 11:

The Spirit of Japan

The Garden