Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Re-do post: J-horror

I figured I'd expand a little bit upon the J-horror genre, since my first post for it was kind of short. So most typical contemporary J-horror has a very dull gray over-crowded city feel, that helps display the sense of emptiness and hopelessness within the society. However, the stories in Kwaidan relate back to old Japanese ghost stories from the Edo and Meiji eras. The context of these stories are much more traditional, and are based upon old historical spirits from legend, where as more contemporary stories are based off of tragic murders of women and or children. The environments in Kwaidan are also much more described than in modern Japanese horror. I think I respect both for what they are, and appreciate that they are both different methods of storytelling. However I think I am more personally interested in the traditional Japanese folklore. Hoichi the Earless for example was a poor musician who resided within a temple and played his biwa lute for the spirits. He had the kanji for heart sutra written all over him except for his ears, so when the samurai ghost came, the only part of him he could see was his ears. Therefore he cut them off. Despite Hoichi's pain, he still played the music. He eventually recovered from his wounds and became a famous musician. I love the ancient folklore that's referenced in this. Writing kanji scriptures on one's body refers to ancient buddhist culture that they actually used to do to ward off spirits. This is another genre that holds particularly high interest in me, and I look forward to reading more of it.

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