Call for Chapters: Japanese Horror: New Critical Approaches to History, Narratives and Aesthetics.
Edited by Subashish Bhattacharjee (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Ananya Saha (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)
The cultural phenomenon of Japanese Horror has been of the most celebrated cultural exports of the country, being witness to some of the most notable aesthetic and critical addresses in the history of modern horror cultures. Encompassing a range of genres and performances including cinema, manga, video games, and television series, the loosely designated genre has often been known to uniquely blend ‘Western' narrative and cinematic techniques and tropes with traditional narrative styles, visuals and folklores. Tracing back to the early decades of the twentieth century, modern Japanese horror cultures have had tremendous impact on world cinema, comics studies and video game studies, and popular culture, introducing many trends which are widely applied in contemporary horror narratives. The hybridity that is often native to Japanese aestheticisation of horror is an influential element that has found widespread acceptance in the genres of horror. These include classifications of ghosts as the yuurei and the youkai; the plight of the suffering individual in modern, industrial society, and the lack thereof to fend for oneself while facing circumstances beyond comprehension, or when the features of industrial society themselves produce horror (Ringu, Tetsuo, Ju on); settings such as damp, dank spaces that reinforce the idea of morbid, rotten return from the afterlife (Dark Water)—these are features that have now been rather unconsciously assimilated into the canon of Hollywood or western horror cultures, and may often be traced back to Japanese Horror (or J-Horror) cultures. Besides the often de facto reliance on gore and violence, the psychological motif has been one of the most important aspects of Japanese Horror cultures. Whether it is supernatural, sci-fi or body horror, J-Horror cultures have explored methods that enable the visualising of depravity and violent perversions, and the essence of spiritual and material horror in a fascinating fashion, inventing the mechanics of converting the most fatal fears into visuals.
The proposed volume will focus on directors and films, illustrators and artists and manga, video game makers/designers and video games that have helped in establishing the genre firmly within the annals of world cinema, popular culture and imagination, and in creating a stylistic paradigm shift in horror cinema across the film industries of diverse nations. We seek essays on J-Horror sub-genres, directors, illustrators, designers and their oeuvre, the aesthetics of J-Horror films, manga, and video games, styles, concepts, history, or particular films that have created a trajectory of J-Horror cultures. Works that may be explored in essay-length studies include, but are not limited to, Kwaidan, Onibaba, Jigoku, Tetsuo: The Iron Man and its sequels, Audition, Fatal Frame, the Resident Evil game franchise, Siren, Uzumaki, Gyo, Tomie, besides the large number of Japanese horror films that have been remade for the US market, including Ringu, Ju on, Dark Water, and Pulse among others, and a host of video games with Western/American settings (such as the Silent Hill franchise) and film adaptations (Resident Evil franchise)—analysing the shift from the interactive game form to consumable horror in the cinematic form. For adaptations, we are also looking for essays that analyse the shift from the interactive game form or image-and-text form to consumable audiovisual horror in the form of cinema and vice versa. Analyses of remakes could also focus on the translatability of Japanese horror vis-à-vis American or Hollwood-esque horror, and how the Hollywood remakes have often distilled western horror cinematic types to localise the content.
Directors, designers and manga artists working in the ambit of Japanese horror cultures who may be discussed include, but are not limited to, Nobuo Nakagawa, Kaneto Shindo, Masaki Kobayashi, Hideo Nakata, Takashi Miike, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Ataru Oikawa, Takashi Shimizu, Hideo Kojima, Junji Ito, Kazuo Umezu, Shintaro Kago, Katsuhisa Kigtisu, Gou Tanabe and others. Other issues that may be explored in J-Horror cultures may include the issue of violence and gore, gender and sexuality, sexual representation, the types of the supernatural, cinematic techniques and narrative techniques and others.
At this stage we are looking for both, submission of complete articles of up to 7000 words or abstracts for proposed chapters up to 500 words within September 15th, 2019. The papers must be written according to the MLA stylesheet, following the rules of the 7th Edition handbook, with footnotes instead of endnotes. All submissions (Garamond, 1.5 pt line spacing) must be accompanied by an abstract (200-250 words) and a short bio-biblio of the author. Images, if used, should preferably be free from copyright issues—sourced from creative commons/copyright-free sources, or permissions should be obtained from relevant copyright holders.
Enquiries and submissions are to be directed to Subashish Bhattacharjee, Ananya Saha and Fernando Pagnoni Berns at email@example.com
Subashish Bhattacharjee is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of North Bengal, India. He edits the interdisciplinary online journal The Apollonian, and is the Editor of Literary Articles and Academic Book Reviews of Muse India. His doctoral research, on the cultures of built space, is from the Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he has also been a UGC-Senior Fellow. His recent publications include Queering Visual Cultures (Universitas, 2018), and New Women's Writing (Cambridge Scholars, co-edited with GN Ray, 2018).
Ananya Saha is a PhD scholar in the Centre for English Studies, JNU, New Delhi. Her research is on the idea of the 'outsider' in Japanese and non-Japanese manga vis-a-vis globalization. Other research interests include Fandom and Queer studies, Translation theory and practice, New Literatures and so on. She has published in international journals, including Orientaliska Studier (No 156), from the Nordic Association of Japanese and Korean Studies. She is the co-editor of the volume titled Trajectories of the Popular: Forms, Histories, Contexts (2019), published by AAKAR, New Delhi. She has been the University Grants Fellow, SAP-DSA-(I) in the Centre for English Studies, JNU (2016-17), and has been awarded a DAAD research visit grant to Tuebingen University, Germany under the project "Literary Cultures of Global South."
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns is an Assistant Professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) - Facultad de Filosofía y Letras (Argentina)-. He teaches courses on international horror film and is director of the research group on horror cinema “Grite.” He has published chapters in the books To See the Saw Movies: Essays on Torture Porn and Post 9/11 Horror, edited by John Wallis, Critical Insights: Alfred Hitchcock, edited by Douglas Cunningham, A Critical Companion to James Cameron, edited by Antonio Sanna, and Gender and Environment in Science Fiction, edited by Bridgitte Barclay, among others. He has authored a book about Spanish horror TV series Historias para no Dormir.