Japanese Horror (J-horror) and Technology

Japanese horror, called J-horror, differs somewhat from western horror in that technology is often featured strongly rather than the western aesthetic of associating horror with the old or natural world. Herein, Japanese horror and its association with technology will be analysed.

J-horror And Technology: Overview

Many Japanese horror media items, particularly movies, include strong ties between the horror element and some form of technology. The first example is Ringu, which centres on a video that when watched results in the viewer dying seven days later following a phone call. The second example is the movie One Missed Call, in which people die following a strange phone call with a specific ring tone. The third example is Red Room, a Japanese myth distrubuted via flash animation that suggests that one who spends too much time on the Internet will eventually come across a pop up add that delivers an incomprehensible message and if closed the person who was using the Internet will die.

J-horror And Technology: General Fear Of Technology

Silent Hill Televisions

One possible explanation for Japanese horror’s association with technology is that societies in general have a fear of technology. ‘Western’ horror stories such as Frankenstein all suggest a basic fear of science and technology, particularly its power over the natural world. In essence, the motifs of power and modern society get drawn into Japan’s already existent horror mythology to create a new horror that speaks to the experience of people within modern society.

J-horror And Technology: Post-World War II Fear Of Technology

It is possible that the technological advances of the west, leading to nuclear weaponry and the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, has influenced Japanese fear of technology. In this manner, the fear of nuclear attacks is explored in Japanese horror in a similar manner to how Cloverfield explored fear of 9/11. This is particularly probable as the Japanese monster movie icon Godzilla, on which Cloverfield is based, was created through the after effects of nuclear bombs.

J-horror And Technology: Wish Fulfilment Against Technology

Ringu Sadako

Fiction of any kind serves to fulfil a wish, which is something true also of horror. Often, in J-horror, the spiritual world has power over technology. While these horror elements are tied to technology, they also reign over them and use them. In this way, Japanese culture and its ‘spirit’ reign over technology, including nuclear weaponry. As a result, while it is horror it also serves to fulfil the viewer’s wish for an escape from technological superiority essentially being equitable to general superiority.

Related posts: