One of the most fascinating folklore topics that I have encoutered as a storyteller has been the story of Lafcadio Hearn, an American journalist who renounced his citizenship and became a Japanese citizen. Then, he devoted his life to studying (and contributing to) the eerie world of Japanese folklore. Some forty years ago, I found a ragged copy of "Kwaidan" in a used book store and read the entire work overnight. I've never forgotten those four ghost stories, and I remain especially fond of the one about "Hoichi, the Earless." Sometimes, around Halloween, I muster up enough courage to include it in a kind of collection of international spook stories: Irish, German, Native American and Japanese.
The photo that I have posted here is from the 60's movie of "Kwaidan" that has recently been reissued as a DVD. The stories hold up very well. The elements that I find most appealing in this collection are the unique aspects of Japanese horror. Instead of werewolves, mummies, Japanese fans of terror are frightened by: snow maidens, faceless women and foxes. I am wondering if any of my readers know this marvelous collection. If so, please comment.