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After “The Ring” movie was released the European viewers found out that the ghost stories also exist in Japan. The words “kaidan” and “neo-kaidan” started to sound everywhere. But if there are the new kaidans there must be the old ones.

Probably someone may remember the “Kwaidan” movie by Masaki Kobaysi telling the four supernatural stories combined in one film. The name of the film is an archaic transcription of the word “kaidan” denoting the mysterious or creepy story”. The film was awarded a special prize on the Cannes movie festival. However it cannot be called a typical example of the genre which was extremely popular in Japan in 50s and 60s but completely unknown outside its border.

Kaidans were traditional elements of the Japanese culture during a long period of time, but the term itself appeared only in the Edo epoch in the sixteenth century. Firstly is was the tradition of storytelling. The custom of a hundred kaidans existed in the middle-aged Japan. The country inhabitants gathered used to gather on one of the houses late in the evening, and a hundred of candles was lighted. Everyone had to tell a scary story after which one of the candles was blown out. The night was passing, some of the people were falling asleep and the border between reality ind imaginary world was getting more and more vague. According to the old legend when the last candle was blown out something awful always happened to those who weren’t sleeping. Of course the tension was growing as it became darker in the room. Read More

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