Contemporary Japanese horror is deeply rooted in the folklore of its culture, with fairy tales-like ghost stories embedded deeply into the social, cultural, and religious fabric. Ever since the emergence of the J-horror phenomenon in the late 1990s with the opening and critical success of films such as Hideo Nakata’s The Ring (Ringu, 1998) or Takashi Miike’s Audition (Ôdishon, 1999), Japanese horror has been a staple of both film studies and Western culture. Scholars and fans alike throughout the world have been keen to observe and analyze the popularity and roots of the phenomenon that took the horror scene by storm, producing a corpus of cultural artefacts that still resonate today. Further, Japanese horror is symptomatic of its social and cultural context, celebrating the fantastic through female ghosts, mutated lizards, posthuman bodies, and other figures. Encompassing a range of genres and media including cinema, manga, video games, and anime, this book investigates and analyzes Japanese horror in relation with trauma studies (including the figure of Godzilla), the non-human (via grotesque bodies), and hybridity with Western narratives (including the linkages with Hollywood), thus illuminating overlooked aspects of this cultural phenomenon.
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns is assistant professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
Subashish Bhattacharjee is assistant professor of English at the University of North Bengal.
Ananya Saha is PhD scholar in the Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Introduction: Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns and Subashish Bhattacharjee
Part 1: National Traumas and Repressions
Chapter 1: The Ghost of Imperialism: Japan’s Forgotten Horrors in the Shadow of Sadako. Calum Waddell
Chapter 2: A Modern Monster: Shin-Godzilla and its Place in the Discourse Concerning 3.11 and National Resilience. Barbara Greene
Chapter 3: Cultural Trauma, Cross-Flow of Aesthetics, and the Child: A Comparison between Ringu and The Ring. Bipasha Mandal
Chapter 4: Space, Smoke and Mirrors: The Frightening Ambiguity of Ju-On: Origins (2020). Daniel Krátký
Chapter 5: “The Dead Speak: Horror and the Modern Ghost in Eiji Ōtsuka’s The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Megan Negrych
Part 2: Posthuman Monsters and Grotesque Bodies
Chapter 6: “Love in a Chair”: Industrialization and Exploitation Edogawa Rampo’s “The Human Chair” and Junji Ito’s Manga Adaptation. Leonie Rowland
Chapter 7: The Monstrous Feminine in Mari Asato’s J-Horror Films. Canela Ailén Rodriguez Fontao and Mariana Zárate
Chapter 8: Composite Corpses and Viruses of Viewing: J-Horror as Film and Media Theory. William Carroll
Chapter 9: Spiral into Samsara in Junji Ito’s J-Horror Masterpiece Uzumaki. Wayne Stein
Chapter 10: Controlling the Inner Demon: Theological Approaches on Devilman. Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns
Part 3: Cultural Flows
Chapter 11: The Transpacific Complicity of J-Horror and Hollywood. Seán Hudson
Chapter 12: Revisiting the Orphan Girl Narrative in Rule of Rose. Ingrid Butler
Chapter 13: Idol Culture and Gradations of Reality in Japanese Found Footage Horror Films. Dennin Ellis
Chapter 14: Obscure, Reveal, Repeat: Hidden Worlds and Uncertain Truths in Kōji Shiraishi’s The Curse and Occult. Lindsay Nelson
About the Editors
About the Contributors
Japanese Horror Culture is a surprising read that ties together a wide variety of fields. The 14 essays show how culture, history, religion, folklore, social anxieties, and expectations shape the Japanese horror genre and how, in return, Japanese horror influences film and art across the globe…. Each essay includes thorough references, and some essays have additional notes. Horror fans will appreciate the many references to horror films, literature, and video games, but the squeamish may find the occasional details of some film scenes uncomfortable—even though the contributors do an excellent job tying these scenes to outside factors and anxieties. This reviewer gained a much greater understanding of and appreciation for the complexities and influences of J-horror. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
The editors of Japanese Horror: Critical Essays on Film, Literature, Anime, Video Games have assembled an incisive, wide-ranging, and politically informed collection on a topic as timely as it is fascinating. Delving into the complex interconnections among film, video, manga, and local cultures, this volume will be of tremendous interest to students of both horror cinema and modern Japanese history.
An indispensable anthology for Japanese/Film/Cultural studies courses, this book examines J-Horror's dominant political, cultural, aesthetic underpinnings and its place in Japanese folklore, religion and Japan's overall socio-cultural fabric.
Japanese Horror Culture is a collection of essays which should become an essential reading for anyone interested in Japanese horror, society, history, and culture in general. It establishes the profound and pertinent nature of Japanese horror culture for the modern Western reader. The sudden pertinence of this genre, however, should lead us to ask: does Japanese horror feel relevant to us merely because it has become so commercially successful and popular, or is it because we too are about to be visited by the anger and vengeance of the repressed in our fool’s paradise?