While a fear of the unknown, the uncanny and the other pervades all human culture, how we mythologize these fears differs, and the resulting “gothic” tradition develops along different lines. An analysis of the gothic of Victorian England could build from sexual repression and industrialization; however, a Japanese gothic would play into folkloric, imitative and Buddhist tenets. Through works spanning the medieval setsuwa and zhiguai of Japan and China, respectively, to early twentieth-century short stories by Lu Xun and Izumi Kyoka, this reading list sets out to reinforce the study of the Eastern gothic as a genre separate and distinct from that of horror within East Asian literature.
- Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling, translated by John Mitford
- Tales of Moonlight and Rain by Akinari Ueda, translated by Anthony Chambers
- “Diary of a Madman,” “Medicine,” and “In the Tavern” by Lu Xun
- “Hell Screen,” “Rashomon,” and “In a Grove” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
- “A Quiet Obsession” and “The Holy Man of Mt. Koya” by Kyoka Izumi
- Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan
- Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu Monogatari
Raven Johnston is a literature graduate student from Texas with wide-ranging interests, but most of them come back to an overarching interest in Japan. An eternal dabbler with ceaseless curiosity, she’s usually found tea cup in hand.