Two Gothic Horror Stories-Japan versus Ireland

"The Brown Man" by Gerald Griffin (1833, 7 pages, Ireland)
"In the Forest, Under the Cherries in Full Bloom" by Ango Sakaguchi (1947, 19 pages, Japan)

Japan versus Ireland

Two Macabre Tales of Demons

From Two Centuries and Two Continents

The R. I. P. Reading ChallengeEvery fall season as Halloween approaches, Carl V of Stainless Steel Droppings begins the R. I. P. reading challenge focusing on Gothic, paranormal and horror works. (The full rules for the event are on the challenge web page but Carl has made it easy and fun for all to join in.) I participated in the challenge in 2009 and am doing so again this year. I recently reviewed Mitzi Szereto's collection of gothic paranomal short stories, Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance which was a perfect fit for the challenge.

Today I want to take a brief look at two Gothic Horror stories I recently read and liked a lot, one from Japan in the twentieth century and one from Ireland in the ninetieth.

Both stories are from Oxford collections of short stories, one stories from Irish authors, one of Japanese authors. There are 10, 000 miles and 100 years between these two stories but they are really very similar. In the introduction to The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories, Theodore Goossen says that in Japan the short story was considered a purer art form as it was closer to Japanese literary traditions than the novel. In his introduction to The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories, William Trevor says the short story has evolved as the primary Irish literary vehicle. In part this was due to seeing it as an extension of the folk tale and in part Trevor says for much of its history the Irish did not have the extended leisure for writing and even reading novels (he said that was for the English!). Both of the stories are set in sort of haunted woods type of areas, both deal with ghoulish murders, both have strong paranormal elements, and both end tragically. Both of the stories are about very poisonous marriages and about the contrast of the lives of the rich and the poor as well as city versus country people.

Gerald Griffin (1803 to 1840-Lemerick, Ireland) began his writing career working for a newspaper and then began to write fiction. His most famous work is a novel centering on a murder, The Collegians. He died at thirty six of typhus. "The Brown Man" begins with a beautiful young maiden living alone in a remote cabin with her widowed mother. Suddenly a strange horseman rides up to the door of their cottage and tells them he is has come to marry the daughter. with servants so the mother agrees. He leaves with the daughter and they arrive at his estate in the middle of the Mangerton mountains. It turns out his house is in a wild bog and is much worse than that of her mothers. She is to eat only potatoes and sleep in straw. To make matters worse, in the middle of the night her husband will say, not to her even though they are alone, "I'm coming" and leave their bed and return an hour later as cold as ice.

One night there is a loud knock on their door. Someone yells through the door, "The earth is tossed up, and I am hungry. Hurry, Hurry, Hurry if you would not lose all". The wife follows him about in secret. Her husband and a wild dog go to an open grave in a church. The atmosphere and locale are very well realized to make it scary. Her husband, his horse and the strange dog like creature all have glowing red eyes and all are eating something. I will leave the rest of the story untold other than to say that when her mother comes for a visit it does not end well! This a first rate very well written example of the Irish Gothic horror story. In part it is a story of the consequences of the terrible Irish Famines of the times.

"In the Forest, Under the Cherries in Full Bloom" by Ango Sakaguchi(1906 to 1955-Japan) was written right after the Japanese psyche had suffered a terrible blow from multiple sources related to their defeat in WWII. It was a time of great suffering for the common people. His father owned a newspaper and was a well known poet. Sakaguchi (his name is sometimes reversed) first rose up in the public eye with a 1946 essay "Decadence" in which he indicated the Bushido code was in part responsible for the horrors of WWII.

Just like "The Brown Man", the lead male in this story preys upon others for a living. He is a country bandit who robs and in many cases kills city dwellers that pass through the remote mountains where he rules. He has been doing this for many years. He has taken seven women he made widows as his wives. One day he kills a man in the course of robbing him and he is totally mesmerized by the beauty of his wife. He tells her she will come back with him to his home and become one of his wives. Once she gets there the other wives are appalled and horrified as she demands the bandit kill them all, sparing only the ugliest one to be a maid. The new wife begins to make demands on the bandit for expensive items beyond his understanding. She also begins to make a collection of the heads of the people he kills. She imagines the head of a merchant is having an affair with the head of a geisha. We are given a very "creepy" description of this and the decay of the heads. She makes him move to the city and he is miserable there. The ending of this story is very scary and the bandit does get what he deserves.

Both of these stories are fun to read and are pretty scary. I think both arose from and reflect very dark periods in the history of Japan and Ireland. I think both authors would like and relate to the story of the other.


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Read this first.

The following list focuses on specific things you shouldn't do. Note that this list applies only to short fiction (the rules for novels are different) and only to speculative fiction (I don't know enough about nonfiction, literary fiction, horror, or other genres to give good advice).
* Don't query before submitting short fiction to an sf magazine, unless there's something specific about the story that makes it fall outside the stated guidelines.
* If you do query, don't provide a synopsis of your story. (Again, the rules are different for novels etc.)

Couldn't have said it better myself!!

My wife of 14 years decided that she was going to use myspace, adutfriendfinder and other websites to keep herself busy while I was in Iraq. She fabricated 7 months worth of stories which became too much for her to handle or keep straight and eventually the rapid demise followed. She would leave my 10 year old alone in hotel rooms to "babysit" our 8, 2, and 1 year old...ALL NIGHT, to go have fun with guys she met online. Now this was all in other cities mind you, so there was no telling who she was really meeting and God forbid, my kids would have not had a mom come home in the morning because she was in a trunk of some killers car or something

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Among its major investments in the last four years are a stake in U.S. online scrapbooking-site Pinterestand the acquisition of Canadian e-book firm Kobo for $315 million in 2012. Since 2012, Mr.

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  • Avatar Historical District Where Can I Read The Sherlock Holmes Stories Online?
    Feb 16, 2010 by Historical District | Posted in Books & Authors

    I tried Googling it but I couldn't find much. The library in my town has a very low collection of books and they don't have anything I want right now, and I'm currently broke right now. Does any one know of a website where I can read them, or download a file?

    • Check out Stanford University's Discovering Sherlock Holmes series:
      this helps.

  • Avatar qwerty Sherlock holmes?
    Apr 14, 2008 by qwerty | Posted in Books & Authors

    I need to do a sherlock holmes essay, does anyone know anything about these books?
    The red-headed league
    the blue carbuncle
    the copper beeches.

    If not, does anyone know where i can find these books? prefebly free online.

    (sorry i have bad spelling)

    • All three stories can be found in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This title, with all 3 stories, can be read:
      a description of the stories (with more detail than I could give), with some spoilers, check:
      The Red-Headed League - Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle - Adventure of the Copper Beeches - are all really good stories, well worth reading.

      I hope this helps.