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Asian Ghost Stories


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
The New York Times on why Asian ghost stories are the best:

Right-thinking Westerners long ago stopped referring to Asia as "the mysterious East," but it may be time to revive that concept, at least as far as the movies are concerned. When filmmakers from the Far East decide to get mysterious, they do not fool around. Hollywood does vampires reasonably well (perhaps because it has so many of them). But the cinemas of Japan and Hong Kong have a surer, clammier grip on ghosts, as Hideo Nakata's spooky "Ringu" and Danny and Oxide Pang's moody, unsettling "The Eye" have recently demonstrated.

The Asian ghost story has a distinguished lineage: serious filmmakers like Kenji Mizoguchi, Masaki Kobayashi and Stanley Kwan have worked in the genre without shame and without a hint of condescension to the shades and specters and odd bits of ectoplasm that populate it. And the films of Mr. Nakata and the Pangs have absorbed some of that mournful dignity; it's as if the filmmakers were discharging a solemn duty, honoring an obligation to the spirits they invoke.

"Ringu," a major, sequel-spawning hit in Japan, was remade by Hollywood last year as "The Ring," and the Occidental version, directed by Gore Verbinski, seemed oddly tentative, adrift, as if the ghost of the original were haunting the wrong house. The unquiet spirit in "Ringu" resides in a grainy, amateurish-looking videotape (it looks like a Surrealist short from the 1920's) that kills anyone unlucky enough to view it. There's a faintly comic resonance to this conceit 窶 I've often felt about a movie that was passing through my VCR or DVD player that this one, for sure, would be the death of me 窶 but there's nothing funny about Mr. Nakata's treatment of his themes. As the heroine, a reporter, speeds all over Japan in her attempt to solve the mystery, the movie builds both in suspense and, surprisingly, in emotional gravity. And the ending is disturbingly ambiguous: although certain characters are spared, the malevolent power of the video-spirit is not broken. We're given to understand, in fact, that it is destined to spread 窶 to find new hosts, like a lethal, mutant virus. [...]

=> FILM; Why Asian Ghost Stories Are the Best (Published 2003) (free registration required)
I remember seeing an Anime serie about ghosts stories, when I was very young. I can't remember the name but I do remember a story, about a monk that had his whole body covered with kanji (must had been protection formulas or something) and a devil came for him but he was invisible to the devils eyes except for his ears, so the devil ripped his ears off him and took them away, feeling cheated.
I remember being quite impressed by this story.
Konnichiwa Lineartube-san!

Your story is the "Mimi nashi Houichi". It is a very famous story in Japan. Of course I know too.

I remember seeing Kwaidan many years ago. I thought it was awesome. Anytime it's on now, I miss the firat half! Going to have to buy it I guess.:eek:
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