Hello Spookies! Class is in session! I’m here to let you know about a little J-Horror project brought to you by Junji Ito and Junji Inagawa. A lot of you are familiar with Junji Ito, but how many of you know who Junji Inagawa is? Fear not! I am here to help you out. Junji Inagawa is a TV personality for TV programs and movies. His more recent work is Gekijo ban Inagawa Kaidan Kataribe. Think of this film like a queezy-cam mocumentary.
Junji Ito and Junji Inagawa ran a crowdfunding campaign in March to reach a wider audience by having some of Ito’s works professionally read including Glycerin, The Hanging Balloons, Ice Cream Bus and The Moaning Drain Pipe. I’ve never had the pleasure of coming across Ice Cream Bus or The Moaning Drain Pipe, but they are now on my radar. These stories were read by professional voice actors.
The crowdfunding was a success and as a result there is a special episode of Junji Inagawa reading Junji Ito’s Back Alley. But he doesn’t read it word for word, instead he treats it like a reenactment. And I must say this is quite a fun experience. I think of Junji Inagawa as the voice of Japanese horror, so this is quite a fun treat for fans. At the end even Junji Ito is kind of fan girl-ing over how getting to work with Inagawa.
In addition to this neat little collaboration, there were stretch goals. What good crowdfunding doesn’t have stretch goals? Junji Ito did a drawing of an Amabie. Amabie are youkai in Japan that come to get rid of plagues and pandemics. And since 2020 is seeing a global pandemic right now, she is the perfect youkai to represent 2020.
She’s just gorgeous in Junji Ito style. Amabie is a mermaid or sorts, I guess. And she (I’m calling it a she) comes to tell the people that they will have a great harvest followed by a serious pandemic or plague unless her image is shared. There is something very meta about a yokai that warns of plague requesting to become “viral” by being shared widely. I love that. Amabie was long forgotten until the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. And she reemerged just as we needed her. And by her request we shared her image far and wide.
But what I find the most charming aspect of this image is that if you bought it as a wall scroll instead of a poster it had Junji Ito’s hanko on it. Hanko are the little red marks you see in the bottom of paintings. They are used as a form of identification. Everyone in Japan has hanko. It is how you sign legal documents and such. And take a quick look at the one Junji Ito used:
Is that not the cutest hanko? It’s Yon! If you haven’t read Junji Ito’s Cat Diary then you need to do that for your homework! Because it is absolutely adorable in a way only Junji Ito could make it. The scrolls are no longer available, but if you managed to get one of these you are darn lucky! Class dismissed!
You can check out each of the stories below!
Ice Cream Baths
Jホラー」プロジェクト第一弾 ホラー漫画の鬼才・伊藤潤二作品を四夜連続でオンライン朗読配信！. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2020, from https://jhorrorpj.exhibit.jp/?fbclid=IwAR1CSkq0z_a-CxXX6Y5BneRHsy1My8hDXOKIAb4k598BTiPcRMvOv6BFRhM
「Jホラー」プロジェクト第二弾 伊藤潤二×稲川淳二 恐怖の朗読会を実現したい！｜クラウドファンディング｜A-port 朝日新聞社. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2020, from https://a-port.asahi.com/projects/jhorrorpj/
This article was originally publisher on The Kaidan Life
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Hello spookies! My name is Liz, and I’m a bit of an academic. I’m here to bring you some academia with your horror. I have several degrees including English Literature with a focus on the horror genera, Japanese language, Japanese literature, and Japanese history. I used to live in Saitama prefecture, Sakura Ku, and attended Saitama University. I also went to Kobe Women’s College and studied Japanese food pathways. In high school I attended Shijonawate Gakkuen in Osaka. I’ve spent the last 15 years watching, critiquing and mostly enjoying Japanese horror media and am an active contributor to the Kwaidan Klub on Facebook. When I’m not working a COVID unit, I like to spend my time at anime conventions doing cultural panels and presentations. My most popular panel to date was a Tokyo Ghost Walk where I walked my panel attendess through some of the most haunted sites and neighborhoods in Tokyo that I got to haunt. So find your seats because class is in session! 🙂