I’ve always been a huge fan of Japanese culture in general, and Japanese Horror is no exception. Japanese horror differs from American horror in a number of ways. For one thing, its based more on psychological fear, as opposed to a gory slasher flick. It also has its roots in spirituality, which typically stem from some history behind the story.
Most elements of J-horror are composed of helplessness and depression. Typically the context of the environment is very dull and dreary. I think that part of that is attributed to Japan’s high technological standards. Sociological standards seem to be asphyxiated on this world of technology, that people often forget about the importance of their lives. They become so lost and stop caring to the point of near suicide. In fact, most of the “mosters” of Japanese Horror are typically associated with a tragic death of a woman or child. There aren’t usually rich luscious environments in J-horror either; mostly very gray dull mundane cities. All of this helps contribute to the psychological atmosphere of the subject matter. A lot of Japanese horror movies really exemplify this: The Ring, The Grudge, Pulse, and many others that have grown in popularity over the years.
I started reading Kwaidon for the J-horror assignment, and have yet to finish it. But so far, I’ve enjoyed it, and noticed some differences between it and typical modern Japanese horror. For one thing the context is described more through visual imagery, as well as the situations being based off of ancient Japanese folklore. I believe that’s mostly because these stories have been around since before Japan’s modern technological society started to influence its literature.
I’ll have more to say about this one when I finish reading it.