Tokyo Yōkai 

As I was writing this short story, I realised it would only really work as a performed audio piece with a Japanese actor. I love Japan, have lived and travelled there, and have some close Japanese friends, so the voice for character and the images of the story came vividly in the writing.

Once it was finished I said to myself ‘This is a strange story. I wonder who will connect with it.’

From a writing-craft perspective, I can see its imperfections, but I liked it enough to go about casting an actor. Luckily for me, that turned to be Noriko Sakura. An eccentric, funny, and wise Japanese woman with a wealth of acting experience and some unusual overlaps with the life of the character.

Noriko and I recorded a filmed conversation which you can see below, but for now, I’m pleased to share with you this short story, Tokyo Yōkai. Enjoy.


A woman named Soari tells the story of her life in Tokyo, her trouble with family, and how she is recruited to a hidden establishment called ‘Soineya Kumiko’ where she learns to help broken and wounded spirits at great cost to herself.


Written by Ben Patrick Holden

Narrated by Noriko Sakura

Composed and produced by Liam Gaughan

A conversation between the writer and actor:

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A mischievous raven perches on a rock holding a scroll in his beak