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Ooky Spooky Animanga Part V: The Japanese Fascination with Spirits

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Every culture has its ghost stories. Here in the West, ours tend toward narratives depicting souls who died violent deaths and have returned to take revenge. Or perhaps we tell tales of those who have died too soon and only wish for eternal playmates. As I briefly mentioned in my post last week, the Japanese have a very rich and far-reaching pantheon of spooks. The majority of these ghosts and their stories grew out of the Edo period (1603-1867; thus why a show like Mononoke asserts itself as particularly Japanese horror), and ghost stories with a certain antiquated style to them, or an air of the past, are usually referred to as kaiden (mysterious or strange recited narrative), whereas more modern horror stories would simply be called hora (a Japanization of "horror").