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September 2008 Archives

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
[Nejimaki-dori kuronikuru]

Genre: Zen-Like Contemplative Japanese Fiction
Author: Haruki Murakami (1997)

review in one breath

After losing his cat, the laid-back and unemployed Toru Okada embarks on a bizarre adventure which not only jars him out of his mundane existence but calls into question the fabric of his waking Reality. If you're reading this you are likely interested in cutting-edge contemporary Japanese Horror and Superstition. I don't claim to be a literary critic, but from what I know and love of this genre I truly want you guys and gals to consider reading some of this stuff as its crests in Western literary circles.

This article was originally published in Otaku Magazine, volume 4, July 2008.

Fans of contemporary Japanese horror, whether in film or manga, have likely run across the term Kaidan or Kwaidan describing certain tales within many volumes of translated works available. The term refers to century-old, traditional ghost tales reflecting core superstitions of pre-Westernized Japan. The term is used sparingly in book and film titles, usually only by authors and directors who wanted to create the atmosphere of an old-time ghost story. But in many recent Japanese horror films, the influence of Kaidan comes through very strongly.

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