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I attend to the particular social and revelatory functions that the folkloric has been made to perform in the Japanese tradition. Reaching deep into literary history, I examine the gazetteer (fudoki) and the explanatory tale (setsuwa) as two crucial premodern sites of collection, examining the ways that folkloric texts are embedded in their surrounding literary projects, before turning to a consideration of contemporary women’s fiction. I investigate folklore, not in terms of typology or motif, but rather as a shared cultural reference that can be adjusted, embroidered upon, altered radically, or changed subtly as an act of cultural intervention. This reframing of folklore sheds light on the exigency of tales about sex with nonhumans in contemporary feminist fiction, where encounters with the anomalous reveal the consistent, persistent, but generally unseen or invisible workings of a gendered, and sexually violent, world.