Many horror lovers dare to say that without a doubt, Japanese horror cinema is by far one of the best ones. Here are some reasons why this could be true.
Undoubtedly, Japan is an incredible country, full of curiosities and traditions that we find fascinating, and it is not surprising that this includes horror legends surrounding Japan and beliefs about ghosts. This has made Japanese horror films one of the most feared and adored by some fans of this genre of films.
The genre known as J-horror uses a unique thematic treatment far from the traditional Western representation, like the famous jumpscares. Takashi Shimizu, the director of the iconic J-horror movies, ‘The Grudge’ explains that American audiences prefer ‘surprising’ fear, and laugh after then, like being on a roller coaster.
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Just like with ‘The Grudge’ there’s also several famous J-horror films that marked this genre, like ‘Ringu’ and both films portray evil and are based around a vengeful spirit that haunts someone. And actually when you think of horror and it comes to your mind an image of a long dark-haired girl in a white dress, you’re thinking of an Asian horror archetype.
J-horror VS Western Horror
Japanese audiences tend to prefer the fear that affects them in an indirect and psychological way; the one that quietly builds up and creates an impending sense of intangible doom. They feel that the image of a ghost just standing nearby, doing nothing is much more scary than other images.
This may come from some religious beliefs and they imagine the type of memories or regrets the ghost standing there may have, so adding that Japanese feel the most fear when those feelings are filled with negative memories and emotions…
There is a very unique way in which the J-Horror films portray evil, not showing anything about the ghost and when they do, it appears in a way that doesn’t seem possible.
On the other hand, Hollywood-style of horror is based in the direct sense of physical fear of being attacked or killed by a monster or an unknown creature, this fear comes from real human fears, feeling in physical danger. It’s a fear that maybe everyone has felt at least once in their lifetime.
J-Horror unlike western horror it’s just about a ghost, but the way they represent them along with the psychological effects that accompany them. The main objective of this genre is to scare through psychological fear and we must keep in mind that ghosts are a major part of Japanese culture.