Ju-on Promo Poster (2000)
|Comics||Ju-on: Video Side
Ju-on: Video Side 2
|Films and television|
|Films||Katasumi and 4444444444
Ju-on: The Curse
Ju-on: The Curse 2
Ju-on: The Grudge
Ju-on: The Grudge 2
Ju-on: White Ghost / Black Ghost
|Video games||Ju-on: The Grudge (video game)|
|Soundtracks||Ju-on: The Grudge
Ju-on: The Grudge 2
Ju-on (呪怨 Juon , lit. Curse Grudge) is the title of a series of Japanese horror films, created by Takashi Shimizu. Shimizu attended the Film School of Tokyo, where he studied under Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Kurosawa helped Shimizu shepherd the Ju-on projects to fruition.
The title of the films translates roughly to The Curse or The Grudge. The first two films in the series were so-called V-Cinema, or direct-to-video releases, but became surprise hits as the result of favorable word of mouth. The story is a variation on the classic haunted house theme, as well as a popular Japanese horror trope, the "vengeful ghost" (onryō). The curse of the title, ju-on, is one which takes on a life of its own and seeks new victims. Anyone who encounters a ghost killed by the curse is killed themselves and the curse is able to be spread to other areas.
Under very tight budgetary constraints, Shimizu's films garnered much acclaim from both critics and genre fans for their effective use of limited locations and eerie atmosphere to generate chills. Shimizu was at the same time perfectly willing to show his ghosts onscreen, in contrast to some directors who might choose only to hint at their appearance. But critics noted that Shimizu's minimalist approach to directing and storytelling — a necessary by-product of the production's limited overall resources — allows the films to retain their ability to unnerve viewers. Very few scenes in the movies are graphically bloody, making such scenes more disturbing when they occur.
Following the success of the two direct-to-video films, and the international success of Hideo Nakata's Ring (1998), Kurosawa and Ring screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi helped Shimizu develop Ju-on as a theatrical feature starring Megumi Okina and Takako Fuji. Titled Ju-on: The Grudge, this was released in 2003 to critical acclaim, and the US remake rights were purchased, with Shimizu himself attached to direct and Sarah Michelle Gellar starring. Later that year, a theatrical sequel, Ju-on: The Grudge 2 was released.
The Curse 
The Ju-on movies follow the lives of the people affected by a curse created by a murdered housewife in a house in Nerima. It was said that when one person dies with a deep and burning grudge, a curse is born. The curse gathers in the place where that person has died or where they were frequent at (in the series' case, the house in Nerima) and repeats itself there. The curse manifests on those who encounter the curse by any means, such as entering the house or being in contact with somebody who was already cursed. The curse's manifestation is mainly death, where the victims' bodies may or may not disappear. The following deaths create more curses and spreads the curse in other places.
Ju-on timeline 
Ju-on was originally released as two low-budget straight-to-video Japanese television movies in 2000. Three years later, due to the success of the videos, director Takashi Shimizu made a theatrical version based on the videos, titled Ju-on: The Grudge. This version is widely available in America. Then that version spawned a sequel, now available in America, titled Ju-on 2 (Ju-on: The Grudge 2). A year later Takashi Shimizu directed The Grudge, an American remake. It is based on the theatrical version of Ju-on, but it contains scenes re-enacted from all of the Ju-on movies.
- Katasumi follows the demise of Kanna and her classmate, Hisayo. They are feeding rabbits at school when Kayako, the ghost in the series and the curse's fulfiller, attacks them both.
- 4444444444 follows the death of Tsuyoshi, Kanna's older brother. Tsuyoshi comes to school to meet his girlfriend, Mizuho, and finds a mysterious ringing cell phone whose caller ID shows a strange number, 4444444444. (The number 4 in Japanese is a homophone of the Japanese character for "death.") The ghost of Toshio, Kayako's son and also one of the curse's fulfillers, appears and takes Tsuyoshi; his body is never found.
The stories of Kanna and Tsuyoshi are further extended in the first Ju-on.
- The first Ju-on follows the lives of the people connected to a house in Nerima, Tokyo where a gruesome murder of a housewife occurred. School teacher Shunsuke Kobayashi visits the home of his absent student, Toshio, where he discovers the boy beaten and bruised. He waits for Toshio's parents to come. He realizes what the Saeki family has become and is killed, his wife and unborn child being murdered by Kayako's crazed husband Takeo after he learnt Kayako had a stalker-like crush on Kobayashi. He is in turned killed by Kayako's ghost. The movie also explores the fates of the next family to live in the house, the Murakami family, as well as two people who come into contact with them. This timeline of the film also extends the stories of Tsuyoshi and Kanna from Gakkō no kaidan G. The last timeline shows a snippet of Suzuki Kyoko's experience, a psychic invited by her brother to look into the house that he was going to sell, which was the cursed Saeki house. This movie showed death or vanishing as the curse's result.
- Ju-on 2, aka Ju-on: The Curse 2 (V-Cinema); (Available only in Japan, Germany, and Scandinavia)
- Ju-on 2 continues the story of Kyoko Suzuki and shows how the curse affected everyone in her family. It also shows the story of another couple, the Kitadas, living in the house and the extended storyline of Detective Kamio from Ju-on 1. Ju-on 2 also shows a snippet of a scene that plays in the theatrical versions of the films, being the fate of the school girls who had snuck into the house, one of which is Toyama Izumi, whose story would be continued in Ju-on: The Grudge.
- Ju-on: The Grudge; (Japan, released in the UK and USA)
- Ju-on: The Grudge centers on the fate of social worker Nishina Rika. Rika comes to visit the house of Tokunagas (the old Saeki house) where she was summoned after the social worker assigned to the house has disappeared. Surviving a terrible experience in that house, she discovers the real reason about the deaths connected to the house. It was later revealed that Rika was the one destined to play out the curse: she was to die the same way as Kayako and become the next fulfiller of the Ju-on. In this movie, it was revealed that the curse has some time-traveling capabilities (or residual haunting) where a victim may see another victim from another time frame. An example is that Det. Toyama Yuji saw what will happen to his daughter, Izumi, years after his death when she entered the house. Izumi was just 12 when Yuji died and when she entered the house at 16, she sees her father just before he encounters Kayako. However, this is not just prior to his death, because he runs out of the house and it is later revealed by Izumi's mother that he went crazy before he died.
- Ju-on: The Grudge 2; (Japan, released in the UK and USA)
- Ju-on: The Grudge 2 revolves around the actress Harase Kyoko's pregnancy. After a car accident caused by Toshio's ghost, Kyoko apparently miscarries. When her doctor assures her of a healthy pregnancy, Kyoko becomes perplexed. It is revealed that Kyoko was involved with a television production filmed at a haunted house - the house of the Saekis in Nerima. Producer Keisuke finds Kyoko and informs her that most members of the film crew have been killed or gone missing. The outcome of Kyoko's pregnancy is horrifyingly revealed as she gives birth to Kayako. As another incarnation of the curse, this showed that the curse could cause a pregnant woman to carry Kayako in her womb.
- In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Ju-on series two new Japanese Ju-on films titled Ju-on: Shiroi Rōjo (Ju-on: White Ghost) and Ju-on: Kuroi Shōjo (Ju-on: Black Ghost) premiered in simultaneous screenings in theaters in Japan on June 27, 2009. Takashi Shimizu and Taka Ichise return to supervise the films, each with a different director.
In 2003, a novelization of stories from the series was written by Kei Ohishi, titled "Ju-On". It elaborates on events and characters from both Ju-on and Ju-on: The Grudge. There were also two manga adaptations released in the same year, called Ju-on: Video Side, and Ju-on: Video Side 2, which follow other events from the series that were omitted in the novel. They were all published by Kadokawa in Japan, and Dark Horse in North America.
Video Game 
In honor of the series' 10th anniversary, a game, titled Ju-on: The Grudge Haunted House Simulator was developed for the Wii. The game was released in Japan in 2009 by AQ Interactive under the title Kyoufu Taikan: Ju-on (Fear Experience: Ju-on), and in Europe under the title Ju-On: The Grudge - A Fright Simulator.
See also 
- Gakkō no kaidan G at the Internet Movie Database
- Ju-on at the Internet Movie Database
- Ju-on 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Ju-on: The Grudge at the Internet Movie Database
- Ju-on: The Grudge 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- The Grudge at the Internet Movie Database
- The Grudge 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- The Grudge 3 at the Internet Movie Database
- Ju-on: Shiroi rōjo at the Internet Movie Database
- Ju-on: Kuroi shōjo at the Internet Movie Database