Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Review: Kaiki: Uncanny tales from Japan

Kaiki: Uncanny tales from Japan
Volume 1: tales of old Edo

Kurodhan Press
271 pages

This is a collection of weird tales, only a few of which I would consider horror that take place in ancient Tokyo that span the tradition of weird literature in Japan from 1776 to 2005. I am not sure this book is for everyone but those who are serious at knowing and understanding the roots of supernatural storytelling will learn a lot from this collection. I thought it was personally important not only as a fan of J-horror, and samurai movies but as a author who dabbles in stories that take place in this very era and region of the world.

Many of my favorite stories were about samurai, personal favorites included the 1928 story the face in the hearth by Tanaka Kotaro. I thought the best part of the book were the opening essays, “The origins of Japanese weird Fiction” and “the Value of the Supernatural in Fiction.” Don't get me wrong the stories were great, but the depth of knowledge and understanding I drew from these essays were the best value of the books.

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