Obake Family Day: Experience Japan’s Ghosts & Goblins

October 25, 2015
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Family past event

11 AM – 4 PM

Obake Family Day returns to Japan Society, this time with more ghosts and goblins than before! Lurking within the nooks and crannies of Japan Society are brazen obake, kooky yokai and other curious characters from Japan’s fantastical body of folklore waiting to be discovered through storytelling, crafts, film, a scavenger hunt and more! This year’s event includes performances by the colorful pop duo Charan-Po-Rantan within their very own haunted circus tent and a trip to Japan’s southern islands of Okinawa to meet the legendary creatures that live there. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Come dressed in your favorite costume and see how many mysterious monsters you can conjure up!

Geared for ages 3 and up with parental supervision (some activities are scary). Space is limited for certain events. This event will be photographed and videotaped. Programs subject to change.


Advance tickets: Adults $15/$13 Japan Society members; kids (ages 3-12) $10/$8 Japan Society members
Day-of tickets: Adults $18/$15 Japan Society members; kids (ages 3-12) $13/$10 Japan Society members

Box Office Policy

Activities Include:

Haunted Circus Tent
Charan-Po-Rantan Mini-concerts
Obake Yokai Adventure Tunnel
Creepy Kamishibai
Goosebumps-Raising Games

Japan Society’s Murase Room is transformed into a haunted circus tent where the fun and colorful sister duo known as Charan-Po-Rantan will perform. Known for their vibrant personalities and original music that combines musical styles from around the world, the duo will offer two mini-concerts within their own custom-made haunted circus tent. Kids can explore the Obake Yokai Adventure Tunnel while enjoying the tunes of the ensemble. There will also be Kamishibai (paper-theater) storytelling led by Hiroko Bell (Theater Banana) and traditional games (“Toryanse” and “Kagome, Kagome”) to enjoy throughout the day under the tent. The Obake Yokai Adventure Tunnel is appropriate for ages 3+.

Toy Films
11 am – 4 pm (Approx. 20 min.)

Take a seat in our theater and meet more characters on the big screen through a series of Toy Films. Originally meant to be projected using small tin “toy projectors,” these amusing animations from the first half of the 20th century feature tales of numerous obake and yokai as well as other strange creatures. For children of all ages with parental supervision.

100 Scary Stories
11 am – 4 pm (Sessions every 45 minutes. Guests can join as long as spots are available.)

Join storyteller Tsukasa Kondo (playwright and actor), Koryu Nishikawa V (fifth generation master puppeteer and headmaster of Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo) and fellow Obake Family Day guests in the Kaidan Hyaku-Monogatari (“100 Ghost Stories”) tradition. As each tale is told, candles are extinguished one by one to create an eerie atmosphere where an obake might just appear. For children ages 3+ with parental supervision as some stories might be scary.

Yokai Buddies from Okinawa
11 am – 4 pm (Guests can join as long as spots are available.)

With Obake Family Day passports in hand, kids will have the opportunity to take a trip to the southern islands of Japan where they will hang out with Gochan and Kijimuna, two friendly yokai who live in Okinawa, and learn about the unique culture of this region. On this trip, kids can create an omamori (good luck charm) to ward off evil spirits, play a fishing game and try on bingata (colorful Okinawan fabric) outfits before striking a pose in front of an Okinawan landscape together with Gochan and Kijimuna. All materials supplied. For children of all ages with parental supervision. Held in conjunction with Japan Society’s Fall Okinawan Vibes series. 

Ghost Image Viewer Art Cart
11:30 am – 3:30 pm (Capacity 30 pp at a time. Guests can join as long as spots are available.)

Build and decorate your very own “ghost image viewer,” also known as a camera obscura. Take it with you as you wander through the building and see how many scary images you can see. All materials supplied. Appropriate for children ages 6 and up with parental supervision.

Held in conjunction with the Fall Gallery Exhibition: For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979, October 9, 2015–January 10, 2016. Note: Not all content is appropriate for young audiences. Family-friendly tours will be held throughout the day.

Monster Mask Making
11 am – 4 pm (Guests can join as long as spots are available.)

Draw inspiration from all the obake friends you encounter throughout the day to craft your very own hand-decorated mask. All materials supplied. For children of all ages with parental supervision.


Obake Scavenger Hunt
11 am – 4 pm

Follow the clues on your Obake Family Day Passport to uncover and learn about all of the curious creatures lurking throughout Japan Society in this fun and educational scavenger hunt. For children of all ages with parental supervision.



Plus Giveaways, Food & More!

Healthy Japanese light meals, snacks and festival-related refreshments available for purchase by http://www.localhost:10053/resources/legacy/event/uploaded/images/benton.jpg.

Annual Family Festivities are sponsored in part by Kumon of Manhattan Centers.

This program is subsidized by J-LOP+, funding from The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.

Yokai Buddies from Okinawa, a part of Obake Family Day, is co-organized by Okinawa Prefectural Government.
http://www.staging.japansociety.01.thirdwaveweb.com/resources/legacy/event/uploaded/images/Okinawa-logo.jpg     http://www.staging.japansociety.01.thirdwaveweb.com/resources/legacy/event/uploaded/images/okinawa.jpg

Obake Family Day is supported, in part, by Yomitime.

For a New World to Come exhibition related Art Cart is planned as part of Obake Family Day and supported by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc.

Images: All illustrations by Ben Warren © Japan Society; Charan-Po-Rantan, courtesy of the artist; Art Cart © Liz Sales; Mask Masking © George Hirose.

  • Sunday, October 25, 2015
  • 10:00 am