In the United States, Halloween brings with it a temporary fascination with ghosts. We all adorn our yards with (usually) comical representations of the “scary”: goblins, ghosts, graves, black cats, and other images of the occult are set up to entertain trick-or-treaters or passersby on the night of October 31st.
The Japan Times pointed out today that while Japan may be relatively new to the whole Halloween experience, the country has had its fair share of scary stories over the years. For centuries, these stories have been told with a basis in reality; that is, the “scary stories” are more often than not based on “normal occurences, interrupted”.
According to Edward Lipsett, a Fukuoka-based American expat who since 2002 has been publishing many of these stories through his Kurodahan Press,kaidan (strange tales) and kaiki shōsetsu (weird fiction) were born as a genre in the mid-17th century and have remained very popular ever since, thanks in part to numerous theatrical and, more recently, movie reinterpretations.
Read the rest of the Japan Times piece if you’re interested in more backstory of Japan’s long-running involvement in the type of things that we in the West associate with Halloween. It’s particularly interesting that even though Japan has only recently started celebrating Halloween, these myths and stories have existed for centuries.