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Japanese horror is Japanese horror fiction in popular culture, noted for its unique thematic and conventional treatment of the horror genre in light of western treatments. Japanese horror tends to focus on psychological horror and tension building (suspense), particularly involving ghosts and poltergeists, while many contain themes of folk religion such as: possession, exorcism, shamanism, precognition, and yōkai.
The origins of Japanese horror can be traced to horror and ghost story classics of the Edo period and the Meiji period, which were known as kaidan. Elements of several of these popular folktales have been worked into the stories of modern films, especially in the traditional nature of the Japanese ghost.
Ghost stories have an even older history in Japanese literature, dating back to at least the Heian period (794–1185). Konjaku Monogatarishū written during that time featured a number of ghost stories from India, China and Japan. Kabuki and noh, forms of traditional Japanese theater, often depict horror tales of revenge and ghastly appearances, many of which have been used as source material for films.
Examples of this type are:
Anime and manga
Certain popular Japanese horror films are based on manga, including Tomie, Uzumaki and Yogen.
In the past few years several of the more popular Japanese horror films have been entirely remade. Ring was one of the first to be remade in America as The Ring, and later The Ring Two (although this remake bears almost no similarity to the original Japanese sequel).
Here is a list of some Japanese horror films that have been remade for the US market.
With the exception of The Ring, every one of the Japanese horror remakes has received negative reviews (though The Grudge and Dark water have received mixed reviews) with One Missed Call receiving the worst reception of all the remakes earning the moldy tomato award at Rotten Tomatoes for garnering a 0% rating. As of early 2012, The Ring 3D is still awaiting release and as such has yet to be reviewed while The Grudge 4 has been announced but the plan for filming has yet to be revealed. Many of the original directors who created these Asian horror films have gone on to direct the American remakes. For example, Hideo Nakata, director of Ring, directed the remake The Ring Two and Takashi Shimizu, director of the original Ju-on, directed the remake The Grudge and its sequel, The Grudge 2.
Several other Asian countries have been remaking these Japanese horror films as well. For example, South Korea created their own version of the Japanese horror classic Ring, titled The Ring Virus.
Inspired by current trends in Japanese horror, the first film by Los Angeles-based writer-director Jason Cuadrado, Tales From The Dead, is a horror film in four parts which Cuadrado filmed with a cast of Japanese actors speaking their native language.