Notes: Yamashita Tomoko Briefly Discusses Foreign Horror

@beef_or_beef comments on foreign horror and religion


I’ve thought about it, but never about how it would seem to someone that is foreign to me. She’s right, though. It’s great to get external views of a culture you live and breathe and thus usually take for granted.

While her cursory observation leans towards not taking it seriously because of it’s ties, I, on the other hand, appreciate it for that. I’m a big fan of end-of-the-world/apocalyptic themes, ancient and enduring religions, cults and cultures and, of course, vampires. These wouldn’t be what the were if they weren’t tied to or rooted in the separation from, devotion to, or bastardization of religious beliefs.

I also like Japanese horror. It is so different from what they are trying to pass for horror on my shores these days. It is primarily focused on shockingly abhorrent story lines, suspense, shadows and grotesque visuals. Not that the horror of non-Japanese cultures don’t, but these themes are in the minority and usually only focus on one of those elements. In the states, the ghost stories are really more suspense or thrillers that feature the undead. I’m not sure when it was last that I was actually terrified of something on the American screen.

Also, one of the biggest differences between American horror and Japanese horror is the role that women play. In J-horror, women are usually the source of terror, while here, women fall into 2 categories, a) the noisemaker that can be killed off so she won’t interfere with the budding bromances (serious BL material) that’re so prevalent in new American horror or b) the let’s-break-stereotype-and-make-the hero-a-heroine character, which is just another stereotype. Anything after Jaime Lee Curtis was just… more. There are some films, but all in all…

I’m not downing A-horror, I just think, in comparison to J-horror, it needs to revisit the definition of horror and try again. And not that J-horror is the end all either; as a culture, a lot of the Japanese entertainment entities end up being caricatures or just plain characters and can come off campy to my American eyes.

That’s enough of me. I really meant for what turned into incoherent babble to be a peak at the interests and thoughts of one of the mangaka I like.


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