In addition to signifying a style of architecture, the English term ‘Gothic’ refers to a type of fiction that uses mysterious locations, strange events and frightening characters to overwhelm readers with feelings of terror and horror. In recent years, the global nature of this literary genre and cultural form has increasingly been recognized, and scholars such as Andrew Hock Soon Ng, Katarzyna Ancuta and Charles Shiro Inouye have highlighted the relationship between Anglophone Gothic and analogous cultural and narrative traditions in Japan and the status of the Gothic in East Asian cultures.
While the Japanese adaptation ‘goshikku’ (ゴシック) is used typically in relation to street-fashion and pulp horror fiction, the English word is broader in meaning, applicable to canonical and popular forms of art, design, fashion, film, literature and music from the mid-eighteenth-century to the present, including Japanese Kaidan-shū (怪談集) or ‘strange stories’), j-horror classics from Kaneto Shindo’s 1968 Yabuno Naka No Kuroneko (藪の中の黒猫 or 'The Black Cat') to Takashi Shimizu’s 2003 Ju-On (呪怨 or ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’), the writings of Izumi Kyoka, Edogawa Rampo and Kōji Suzuki and Japanese adaptations of British Gothic sources such as Ishirō Hondo’s 1968 film Furankenshutain Tai Chitei Kaijū Baragon (フランケンシュタイン対地底怪獣バラゴン or ‘Frankenstein Conquers the World’). In addition, Japan been imagined as a Gothic location by Anglophone writers as varied as David Belasco, Alice Maybel Bacon, William Elliott Griffis, James S. De Benneville and Dorothy Wayman.
This symposium investigates the Gothic’s status as a site of intercultural exchange between Japan and Anglophone countries and across Asian cultures.