I’ve finally posted a new feature, Chris’ Guide to Understanding Japanese Horror. This article is a detailed look at Japanese horror within the context of Japanese culture. I attempt to explain how horror from Japan works on a very general level, and how the mechanics of Japanese and American horror differ. Here’s an excerpt:
The underlying concept behind Japanese yuurei is onnen (), the idea that some emotions are so strong that their power can extend from beyond the grave. Almost all classic and contemporary ghost stories from Japan operate on onnen: in addition to the obvious case of Okiku, witness Sadako’s character in The Ring, the antagonist in Juon, or even the explanations given for Hanako’s origin in the Hanako-in-the-Toilet story. Onnen is the central concept behind yuurei, and as we will see, it differentiates Japanese horror from works in the West pretty dramatically.
I spent quite a while on this one, so please check it out.