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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The Onmyōji series has had an incredible impact on Japanese fiction. It has created an entire genre of material called onmyōjimono and sold 5 million copies counting only the novel series. Despite this, it has been woefully understudied by both Japanese and English speaking scholars. The Japanese scholars that do acknowledge it use it as a springboard to launch a survey of Abe no Seimei in written and performed media throughout history, and the English speaking scholars have limited their analyses to the form that oni take in the narrative. My research has revealed that Yumemakura Baku utilizes a complex set of mechanisms to combine disparate narratives into a cohesive whole, integrating elements of genre and modern literary aesthetics to make old narratives agreeable to modern tastes. In the process he creates a dark and threatening world through which the Heian courtiers must navigate. Abe no Seimei acts as their guide and mediator. Despite holding an official rank within the court he is as otherworldly as the world, filled with supernatural beasts and formless creatures, in which they live. Using the mechanism of Abe no Seimei, Yumemakura Baku reveals to the reader their own tendencies toward prejudice, while constructing a vast world through centuries of written material.


First Advisor

Stephen M Forrest

Second Advisor

Amanda Seaman