Kaiki: Uncanny Tales from Japan, Volume 2: Country Delights

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Kaiki: Uncanny Tales from Japan

Volume 2 – Country Delights 【諸国の物語】


Selected and with commentary by
HIGASHI Masao
Preface by Robert WEINBERG


The second volume in our Kaiki series moves from Edo, the center of Japan during the Shogunate, into the country, where old traditions and older fears are preserved. Enjoy a deeper and very different glimpse into the world of Japanese weird and supernatural literature, with superlative works drawn from centuries of literary creation. Includes an in-depth introduction to the genre by recognized authority Higashi Masao.

Contents

Robert Weinberg
"Preface—The Subtle Ambiance of Japanese Horror" Read online!

Higashi Masao
Introduction: "The Rise of Japanese Weird Fiction"
translated by Miri Nakamura

Yanagita Kunio 柳田國男
"Selections from 'Legends of Tōno'" (『遠野物語』より「序」「第三話」「第七話」「第八話」; 1910)
translated by Pamela Ikegami

Natsume Sōseki 夏目漱石
"The Third Night, from 'Ten Nights' Dream'" (『夢十夜』より第三話; 1908)
translated by Kathleen Taji

Izumi Kyōka 泉鏡花 
"Sea Daemons" (海異記; 1906)
translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Hirai Tei’ichi 平井呈一
"Midnight Encounters" (真夜中の檻; 1960)
translated by Brian Watson
This story was a finalist in the 2011 SF&F Translation Awards.

Takahashi Katsuhiko 高橋克彦
"Reunion" (大好きな姉; 1993)
translated by Andrew Cunningham

Uchida Hyakken 内田百閒
"A Short Night" (短夜; 1921)
translated by Andrew Clare

Komatsu Sakyō 小松左京
"The Kudan's Mother" (くだんのはは; 1968)
translated by Mark Gibeau

Hikage Jōkichi 日影丈吉
"The Clock Tower of Yon" (猫の泉; 1961)
translated by Rossa O'Muireartaigh

Nakajima Atsushi 中島敦
"The Mummy" (木乃伊; 1942)
translated by Ruselle Meade

Akiyama Ayuko 秋山亜由子 
"Only Child" (一人娘; 1992)
translated by Stephen Carter; graphics by Dorothy Gambrell



Reviews

  • ...an outstanding set of publications. This is an invaluable contribution to scholarship on the supernatural in literature and folklore in Japan and elsewhere. The stories are accessible and entertaining; they could easily be used in an undergraduate class where they would illuminate some of the sources and motifs so prevalent in contemporary Japanese horror film, manga, and anime. Moreover, these stories provide an introduction not only to a variety of important authors—many of whom are underappreciated even in Japan—but also tempt the reader to venture more deeply into the cultural and folkloric contexts that inform them. In short, the series is a perfect entree into some of the enduring traditions of Japanese supernatural folklore and supernatural literature, and the cross fertilization between the two.
    Michael Dylan Foster, Journal of Folklore Research
  • The stories themselves are a wonderful mixed bag. Some tales are very odd in structure, sometimes without a conventional ending and with a lesson to be learnt. [ ... ] But be warned Western horror fans unfamiliar with Asian horror, these are not ordinary horror tales, not all involve terror and violence, they differ greatly from a collection of western tales of the same genre.
    Elizabeth Vinton, Dark Matter
  • ...weird fiction, more unsettling that shocking. Most make use of traditional settings and Japanese ghosts and monsters, but some favor exotic locales. [...] the translations in "Country Delights" were just pure reading pleasure.
    Zack Davisson, Japan Reviewed
  • ...this anthology [...] may provide readers with some welcome relief from the summer heat by causing chills to run down their spines.
    Mark Schreiber, Japan Times
  • This second volume of Kaiki continues the high standard of fiction showcased by the first; and a further welcome sampling of Japanese supernatural fiction has been made available and placed in its context.
    —John Howard, writing in Wormwood No. 16
    Read the entire review.

Details:

  • xiv + 289 pages
  • Trade paperback 5" x 8" (127mm x 203mm)
  • ISBN 978-4-902075-09-0
  • Kurodahan Press Book No. FG-JP0008-L22
  • List Price: US$16.00
  • Cover: "The Heavy Basket" from the New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts series by Yoshitoshi Tsukioka

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About the anthologist

Higashi Masao (東 雅夫)

is a noted anthologist, literary critic, and the editor of Japan's first magazine specializing in kaidan (strange tales) fiction, named Yoo (幽).


In 1982 he founded Japan's only magazine for research into strange and uncanny literature, Fantastic Literature Magazine (幻想文学, Gensō bungaku), published by Atelier Octa, serving as editor for twenty-one years until the magazine folded in 2003. It was an invaluable publication not only for its content, but also because it discovered and nurtured a host of new authors, researchers and critics in the field.

Recently he has concentrated on compiling anthologies, producing criticism of fantastic and horror literature, and researching the kaidan genre, active in a wide range of projects. As a critic he has suggested new styles and interpretations in the field, including the growing "Horror Japanesque" movement and the "palm-of-the-hand kaidan" consisting of uncanny stories told in no more than eight hundred characters. He is well-known as a researcher of the uniquely Japanese hyaku monogatari tradition, with numerous books and anthologies published.

He serves on the selections committees for various literary prizes in the kaidan genre, and since 2004 has written the Genyō (幻妖) book blog on uncanny and fantastic literature cooperatively with online bookseller bk1.


About the preface author

Robert Weinberg, author and editor,

is the author of sixteen novels, two short story collections, and sixteen non-fiction books. He has also edited over 150 anthologies. He is best known for his trilogy, the Masquerade of the Red Death, and his non-fiction book, Horror of the Twentieth Century. Bob is a two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award; a two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award; and a winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association.
His website is http://www.robertweinberg.net/
Profile

Kurodahan Press

Kurodahan Press
c/o Intercom, Ltd.
3-9-10-403 Tenjin
Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
810-0001 JAPAN

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