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Recently in kaidan Category

Kaidan Hebi Onna
[Snake Woman's Curse]

Genre: Kaidan Social Commentary

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When young Asa loses the lives of her father, mother and even herself at the hands of a cruel land owner, the cry for justice is loud enough to literally wake the dead. This relatively "modern" ghost tale is as much a warning against rousing angry spirits as it is against inhumane socio-economic conditions. The film is the final "kaidan" of the 1950-1960s collection by early j-horror maestro Nobuo Nakagawa and showcases his decades as a premiere ghost-story teller.

Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan
[The Ghost of Yotsuya]

Genre: Traditional Kaidan

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Unscrupulous ronin Tamiya Iemon lies and kills to obtain the woman and future he desires, all the while feigning to be an upright and noble samurai. But when he causes the painful and sorrowful death of his once beloved wife Oiwa, her ghost vows justice and vengeance. This is a retelling of Japan's most classic horror tale brought to you by one of SaruDama's favorite directors, Nobuo Nakagawa.

GeGeGe no Kitaro 2: Sennen Noroi Uta
[Kitaro and the Millennium Curse]

Genre: Youkai-filled Supernatural Thriller

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GeGeGe no Kitaro is back! And this time he must solve the mystery of a 1000 year old curse exacting its toll on humans and monsters alike. In a more adult-centric episode, with a darker storyline, a myriad of creepy creatures and more mature special effects, this live-action version of Mizuki Shigeru's beloved manga character will not disappoint. This is the second live-action film directed by Motoki Katsuhide focusing on the exploits of the half-human, half-youkai Kitaro.

Chushingura Gaiden: Yotsuya Kaidan
[Crest of Betrayal]

Genre: Historical Supernatural Samurai [Tokugawa/Edo Era: 1603-1867 AD]

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Directed and written by Fukasaku Kinji, Chushingura Gaiden: Yotsuya Kaidan presents a classic tale combining two very well known Japanese traditions. The Chushingura Gaiden is an actual historical episode, better known in the West as the story of the 47 Ronin, and constitutes one of Japan's most beloved samurai stories. It involves an extensive plot of revenge enacted by 47 samurai whose leader was ordered to commit seppuku after attempting to kill an oppressive rival. (A "ronin" is a leaderless samurai.)

Shibuya Kaidan 2
[The Locker 2]

Genre: Creepy Urban Supernatural Horror

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Demonic little Sachiko is back! And she is literally crumpling any foolish soul which dares open Shibuya coin locker #0009. Picking up at precisely the moment the prequel left off, the trajectory of horror continues as we learn more and more about the cause behind a growing epidemic of unnatural deaths. This sequel was recently released to US audiences along with the prequel on a single DVD entitled The Locker.

Shibuya Kaidan
[The Locker]

Genre: Creepy Urban Supernatural Horror

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A Tokyo urban legend comes to life in unexpected, terrifying ways when a group of young people use a coin locker at the Shibuya station. As members of the group begin dying in bizarre and excruciating ways, the survivors frantically try to understand the curse they find themselves in. This prequel was recently released to US audiences along with the sequel on a single DVD entitled The Locker.

Kaisha no Kaidan 2: Office Horror Story

Genre: Supernatural Ghost Stories

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Kaisha no Kaidan and Kaisha no Kaidan 2 were both directed by Katou Fumihiko in 1997. Katou is not exactly a distinguished director as most of his other work was done from the position of Assistant Director. His only other work as principal director is the interestingly titled Orgasm Mariko (1996). Being unable to locate a viewable copy of this undoubtedly great film, I can only wonder what it could be about. Any guesses?

Hiruko: Goblin Hunter
[Hiruko: Youkai Hantaa]

Genre: Good-Natured, Traditional Monster Adventure

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Hiruko - Goblin Hunter (1990) was immediately well-received among the Japanese public. The lead actor, Sawada Kenji, is far more well-known in Japan for his early days as the popular rock star Julie. His singing career easily segued into an acting career due to his personability. He has appeared in numerous films, often in leading roles, with great success and acceptance by Japanese audiences. His appearance in Hiruko was no different, and was a major factor in this film's mainstream popularity. In addition to Sawada, several other well-known actors appear herein, including Mirota Hideo and Takenaka Naoto.

The Haunted Lantern
[Otsuyu - Kaidan botan dourou]

Genre: Traditional Japanese Kaidan

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This tale falls firmly within the classic Japanese "Kwaidan" genre, and is (one version) of a very well-known traditional Japanese ghost story. (For a little on the history of this story, see here.)

To this day, one of the most important traditional holidays in Japan is the Obon Festival during which kami (spirits) of dead ancestors are believed to revisit their former homes. In a society where one's home and property are generally passed down from eldest child to eldest through generations, this means you will likely have many ethereal guests arriving for the party! The title's reference to "lantern" is that of the Obon Lantern which was placed outside the home on this occasion as a welcoming invitation to ancestors and deceased loved ones. Given this background, is it any wonder its haunted?(!)

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.

Ugetsu Monogatari
[Tales of Moonlight and Rain]

Genre: Classic Japanese Ghost Tale

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This classic supernatural morality tale follows the path of two men who prioritize their ambitions above all else and inadvertently set aside their families and responsibilities. This 1953 ghost tale is arguably the FIRST truly Japanese horror film and is thus required viewing for anyone seriously interested in the whole of J-Horror.

Tales of Terror from Tokyo - Volume 1
[Kaidan Shin Mimi Bukuro: Night 1]

Genre: Collection of 15 Terrifyingly Unscary Tales

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Culled from the long-running TV series of Kaidan Shinmimi Bukuro, this collection of 15 short tales from various directors sets a new standard for anti-climactic "horror" stories ranging from the unscary to the utterly dull.

Nihon Onnen Chizu
[Map of Haunted Japan]

Genre: Geographic-based Documentary Horror

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An investigative team sets out to document their search for the mysterious Sugisawa Mura, an historically documented location which has disappeared from contemporary maps. Anecdotal tales link the location with several infamous incidents marked by the sudden rage, murderous acts and suicide of otherwise normal people. Their investigation leads them through a collection of unnerving interviews and locations until they finally arrive at what they believe to be the remote Sugisawa Mura.

Ghosts of Kasane Swamp
[Kaidan Kasane ga Fuchi]

Genre: Classic Japanese Horror

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The blind Soetsu lives with a loving wife and their young daughter in an adequate home supported by Soetsu's skill as a masseuse. On a wintry eve, Soetsu decides to visit a neighboring nobleman to who he had lent money over a year ago in the hopes of having the sum returned to him. But upon hearing Soetsu's request, the arrogant and ill-tempered samurai murders Soetsu and has his body dumped in nearby Kasane Swamp. This sets off a chain of events which not only drive the samurai to madness but will also take from him and his entire household what they hold most dearly.

Kaidan Shin Mimi Bukuro [Tales of Terror]

Genre: Collection of Supernatural Ghost Stories

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A collection of eight contemporary folk tales of the ghostly and supernatural produced by seven up-and-coming directors of the new J-Horror genre. Ranging from the comedic to the truly spooky, this collection of entertaining and fun short films is a contemporary version of the Edo Period's "Mimi Bukuro", a ten-volume collection of kaidan tales.

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