Alluring, nurturing, dangerous, and vulnerable the yamamba, or Japanese mountain witch, has intrigued audiences for centuries. What is it about the fusion of mountains with the solitary old woman that produces such an enigmatic figure? And why does she still call to us in this modern, scientific era?
Co-editors Rebecca Copeland and Linda C. Ehrlich first met the yamamba in the powerful short story "The Smile of the Mountain Witch" by acclaimed woman writer Ōba Minako. The story revealed the compelling way creative women can take charge of misogynistic tropes, invert them, and use them to tell new stories of female empowerment.
This unique collection represents the creative and surprising ways artists and scholars from North America and Japan have encountered the yamamba.
About the Author
Rebecca Copeland is a professor of Japanese literature at Washington University in St. Louis, a writer of fiction and literary criticism, and a translator of Japanese literature. Her stories travel between Japan and the American South and touch on questions of identity, belonging, and self-discovery. The Kimono Tattoo, her debut work, takes readers on a journey into Kyoto's intricate world of kimono design, and into a mystery that interweaves family dynamics, loss, and reconciliation. Linda C. Ehrlich is an independent scholar who has published extensively about world cinema and traditional theater. Her recent publication, The Films of Kore-eda Hirokazu: An Elemental Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), is the first book in English on this influential Japanese director. She has published poetry in International Poetry Review, The Bitter Oleander, Southern Poetry Review, Literary Arts Hawaii, Pinesong, and other literary journals. Dr. Ehrlich has taught at Duke University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Tennessee/Knoxville, and on two Semester-at-Sea voyages.