Who has not heard of the really scary Japanese ghost stories? Movies like The Grudge have reached a very wide audience all over the world, with Hollywood even making their own version of it. Ask any fan, though, the Japanese original cannot be matched. In Japan, ghost stories were called kwaidan or kaidan. Though it refers to horror stories in general, the word kaidan has its roots in the Edo Period folktales.
Today, however, kaidan is not the commonly used term for this genre of stories. More often than not, movies and books focusing on this theme are referred to by the katakana hora or kowai hanashi in standard Japanese. For an old fashioned effect, authors use the term kaidan.
Stories under this genre often have plots that revolve around Buddhist concepts. As such, karma and ghostly vengeance abound. In these stories, ghosts have amazing powers that they use to wreak havoc in their human tormentor’s life. Sometimes, they not only target one person but humanity in general. Try watching one of these films or reading one of these books and you will fully see what kaidan is.
[tags]Japan, Edo Period, folktales, folklore, ghost stories, kaidan, kwaidan, hora[/tags]