Asian Horror Encyclopedia: O

 

 

O-Bon Festival : Festival of the Dead, a.k.a. Bommatsuri (Davis p 222).See Bon Odori.

Obake :This is the general form of ghost in Japanese.Unlike Western ghosts, Japanese ghost frequently appear in the summer heat in odd places.A paper lantern, as the one appearing in Oiwa, an umbrella or even a rising puff of steam may become a ghostly manifestation.

Obakeyashiki :Japanese haunted house.

Ogino, Makoto : Manga creator noted for horror manga.She writes about child-like beings with special power (supernatural, ESP) conflict with humans, such as Chairudo (Child).

Ogre Slayer : Kei Kusonoke�s horror manga masterpiece.Like Devilman, the ogre slayer is a demon in a human body, the only type of creature who can slay an ogre.Ogres are far beyond human control or understanding but they need human women to breed.When ogres menace high school girls in their dreams, the only

Oguchi, Tsunehei : Japanese novelist.Author of 99 Honme no Kitsune (The 99th Virgin) which was filmed by director Magatani Morihei.

Ohara, Mariko : Japanese science fiction author (b. 1959).Known in the horror field for Kyuketsuki Efemera (Ephemera the Vampire).She is a member of the Japan P.E.N. club and the SFWJ.

Ohtaki, Keisuke: Japanese writer.She wrote a Cthulhu mythos book called The Dark Religious Cult Conspiracy.She is the translator and editor of several anthologies of stories from the famous American horror pulp,Weird Tales.

Ohtsuki, Kenji : Japanese writer notable for Stacy, a weird story about human evolution.Viscious female zombies attack the human race which but mutant girls rise to humanity�s defense.It has lots of blood and gore as the zombie girls are hacked to pieces.

Oiwa :Oiwa is a vengeful female ghost.Hideously disfigured by her unfaithful husband, she is the subject of Japanese traditional drama,, films, art prints, manga and netsuke.

In the kabuki version of Oiwa, Oiwa�s villainous husband, Iyemon, murders his father-in-law to conceal some of his foul play.�� Then lusting after his wealthy neighbor�s beautiful granddaughter, he treats his pretty young wife, Oiwa, with �road blood medicine.�The potion is actually a frightful poison that disfigures before it kills. Looking in the mirror, Oiwa discovers not only a bald spot but that she has one eye completely shut and the other looking hideously upward, a image recycled for Sadako, the ghostly menace in The Ring film series.

Out of anger and hatred for her poisoner, she dies and Iyemon thinks he is free to marry the granddaughter. He ties her and a servant he murder to a large wooden door and dumps them in the river.The wedding day arrives but as he lifts her veil, he sees not the beautiful bride but the hideous face of Oiwa.This substitution a dead woman�s face on a living one is a theme in Edgar Allan Poe�s �Ligeia� and �Morella.�The dead possesses the living and drives the living mad.Iyemon goes into a sword slashing frenzy completely severing the head of his new bride.

Now, Iyemon is plagued by what opium-eater, Thomas DeQuincey, called �the tyranny of the human face.��� Everywhere he looks he sees the mutilated face, even leering from a smoldering shell of a burning paper lantern.This last apparition was the subject of a popular Shunkosai print, The Lantern Ghost of Oiwa and later reproduced as a netsuke.Oiwa�s face alternately becomes a grinning a monster, a disfigured woman and horrid cyclops, depending on the viewer�s disposition.

Despite the many awful ghostly visitations, Iyemon persists in his villiany. First, he tries to find peace by fishing in the river.He snags the door that he used to dispose of Oiwa�s corpse, and on seeing their decomposing corpses, he hears terrifying voices from the grave. Then, he tries to escape by moving to the countryside, to the inauspiciously named Hebiyama, or Serpent Mountain. His guilt begins to corrode the remainders of his reason.The vines around his cabin appear to writhe like snakes, and he sees Oiwa�s hair twisting menacingly in the coiling smoke from his lantern.��� Finally, Oiwa�s brother avenges her death and Iyemon suffers no more.

The moral of the play is that stepping outside the social order results in madness and death.Iyemon could not accept his lot as a lowly ronin, living off the sale of oilskin umbrellas.He ruthlessly pursuedpower and social position, losing all in the end.

The great physical and psychological torment of the principal characters of the play assure its continued interest.The darker side of human is fascinating because the audience or reader can relate to it on an intimate and immediate level.

Oiwa is also a major subject for artwork.Utagawa Yoshiiku, Hokusai, Yoshitoshi and many other artists famous and obscure depicted Oiwa in her shuddering horror.In Nikolas Kiej�e�s sadly undocumented book, Japanese Grotesqueries, he reproduces no less than 13 portraits of Oiwa from the 19th century.

Oka, Asajirō : Oka (1868-1944) was a noted biologist who combined Darwinism with a pessimistic view of life.He believed that mankind was burdened by its intelligence and that would inevitably cause the extermination of humanity.This pessimistic belief that mankind is doomed by its own flaws appears in Japanese popular culture, where apocalypse is seen as both inevitable and desirable.��

Okamato, Kenichi : Japanese SF writer who has also written horror, for example, Gakko no Kaidan�(Cinema edition: Horror inSchool)

Okamoto, Kidō : (1872-1939) Japanese mystery writer, also translator and Kabuki playwright.The son of a samurai and also a journalist.He authored several novels and more than 100 short stories.He ventured into the supernatural realm with Woman who Stepped on a Shado, a book of ghost stories.

The animated film Bi-no Kitsune to Tobimaru (1968, directed by Yagi Shinichi) is based on Okamoto�s novel version of Tamamo no mae.This is the popular legend of a bloodthirsty fox maiden who had ancient origins in China and India.

His ghostly novel Banchō Sarayashiki, was the basis ofseven Japanese filmsby the same name, dating back to 1914.

Okamoto, Ranko : Japanese horror comic artist (female).�� She adapted three H.P. Lovecraft tales to comics. One called�Ma Inu� (�Devil Dog�), based on Lovecraft�s �The Hound.� Her other Lovecraft adaptations include �Shintai anchi tokoro nite� and �Uchuu kara no Iro�, the latter based on �The Colour from Outer Space.�

Okayama Momoko :Japanese horror writer.Her book Bokkee, ky�tee was chosen to receive the sixth Horror Story Grand Prize.

Okiku : Famous traditionalJapanese ghost story.Starting as a traditional legend, Okiku became a kabuki play and subject for Japanese artists.The story goes that Okiku was the beautiful servant of the samurai, Aoyama Tessan.She refused his amorous advances so he tricked her into believing that she had carelessly lost of the family�s ten precious delft plates.She recounted the nine plates many times but when she could not find the tenth, Aoyama offered to overlook the matter if she became his lover.Again she refused and he threw her down a well to her death.

She became a vengeful spirit who tormented her murderer by counting up to nine and then making a terrible shriek to represent the missing tenth plate.In some versions of the story, this torment continued until an exorcist or neighbor shouted �ten� in a loud voice at the end of her count.Her ghost apparently easily satisfied haunted the samurai no more.

The most famous depiction of Okiku is from Yoshitoshi�s series, Thirty-Six Ghosts.Okiku appears to be floating above the well with no legs to support her, holding up her seemingly handless arms.

Okima, Jōjirō :Japanese science fiction writer.Okima�s novel, Uchuu daikaijuu (Space Monster) was filmed as Uchuu daikaijuu Dogora (Space Monster Dogura, 1964).

Okuni Nushi :Shinto god of magic and medicine.He died twice and was twice resurrected.He visited the underworld many times, making him the god of spirits and magic.

Oni : Japanese belief in demons, or oni, underwent the same vicissitudes like other Japanese creations.By medieval times, Japan was rife with a whole pantheon of odd deities, demons and elemental beings.The introduction of Buddhism transformed a class of these creatures into the Oni, a horned being that could be good or evil or a mixture of both, depending upon its temperament.The good ones defended the Buddhist faith while the bad ones brought pestilence and were known to feed on mankind.

In addition to horns, some oni have sharp nails, three eyes, and huge teeth.Those that are capable of flight often flit around the deathbeds of terminally ill waiting to steal their souls.Natural as well as personal catastrophes are attributed to onis.Oni still appear in all levels of Japanese popular culture.

Onmyodo : way of Taoist magic. Onmyo is a Japanese word derived from the Chinese yin and yang.Originally a form of Chinese astrology with ancillary divination techniques, it probably arrived in Japan during the Nara Period (710-794).�� At that time, the Japanese did not have the astronomical equipment to support astrological pseudo science, so the emphasis was placed on the secondary means of divination.The practice eventually degenerated and was absorbed by native Japanese folk beliefs and superstitions.

The most famous works of onmyo-do arethe I-Ching and the Chinese geomancy popularly known as Feng Shui.Heian era sorcerer Abe no Seimei was an adept in onmyodo.

Onmyoji : person adept at fortune telling and astrology, one who practices onmyo-do.

Ono, Fuyumi : (Corpse Ogre) �Shiki(Ghoul)� by Ono Fuyumi, published from Shinchosha.

Opium : While opium has been the fuel for English and French oriental fantasies, drug reveries do not seem to be a part of native Asian literature, popular or classical.The use of opium as a tool of imperialism may have removed the romance from the drug for the Chinese.��� The father of modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun's spent his formative years caring for his opium-addicted father.His experience was too common for opium to have the effect it had on the English romantic writers.Japan strictly controlled opium, banning it in 1846, to avoid China's double plight of mass addiction and foreign exploitation.

Back in the West, writers with the highest literary standing using opium inspired imagery in their works.The names Thomas DeQuincey and S.T. Coleridge immediately come to mind, but Keats, George Crabbe, Francis Thompson, and perhaps Edgar Allan Poe belong on the list.The great French example is Claude Farriere whose weird Chinese fantasy, Black Opium, is without parallel in the world of drug literature.

Oriental Tales : Weird Tales spin off oriental fantasy pulp magazine that published Frank Owen, E Hoffman Price and other fantasy writers who set their stories in Asia.�� This again is a example of the Asia that exists only in the European and American imagination.

Oriental Tales of Terror : Edited by J.J. Strating, this 1971 anthologyis perhaps the only English language collection exclusively devoted to Asian horror .It has an even mixture of Asian and Western writers including Singh, Akutagawa, Hearn, Pu Sung Ling, Feng Meng-Lung, Kipling, Blackwood, Derleth, Maugham, Kefauver, and Konroff.�� Many of the tales may be considered murder mysteries rather than horror.

Orientalism :Artistic and literary movement influenced by the �discovery� of Asia culture especially during the 19th Century.Its influence extended from the Near East to Japan.Edward Said�s landmark work, Orientalism, greatly emphasizes the Near Eastern aspects almost completely ignoring the Far East.

Oshikawa, Shunrō :(1876-1914) 1901 Kaidan (Ghost stories, 1904)He is the author of the original story of Super Atragon, which became a Toho live action film and an anime. Influenced by Jules Verne�s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea had tremendous popularity in both Japan and China, the original title was Kaitei Gunkan (The Undersea Battleship, 1899)

Otomo, Katsuhiro : Japanese manga and anime creator.�� He is best known for his epic manga masterpiece Akira, over 1000 pages in length.Made into an anime, it was twice released as a theatrical film in the United States.Based on a massive manga series it encompasses the themes of biological horror and apocalypse and doom.

Also of interest is Dōmu (Child�s Dream), a single volume horror manga published in the late 1980�s.With a theme comparable to Akira, it involves the relationship of an old man and a young girl, both with strong psychokinetic powers.

Otsuka, Eiji : (b. 1958) Social anthropologist and novelist.He is a college graduate and expert in the fields ofanthropology, women�s folklore, human sacrifice, and post-war manga.�� MPD-Psycho 1 Sentimental Death and Rebirth, 2 Ahou bun e (Ship of Fools, pub Kadokawa Sneaker), Tajū Jinkaku Tantei andMPD which is the dubious acronym:Multiple Personality Detective, who is the hero Amamiya Kazuhiko.�� It features Kobayashi Yūsuke who suffers from the MPDdisease and Amamiya�s former love Chizuko.Numbers on dead bodies, mental institutions.Bizarre murders, gore, body parts, mutilation, blood, etc.Manga by Tajima Shō (Madara).

He also wrote Manga no koro (The Structure of Comics, published byYudachisa, 1988), a serious study of Japanese comics and their social significance.

A young social critic, Otsuka Eiji, summarized the case of the Japanese red army�s 1972 murders as a conflict between the masculine and the feminine principles as they were both embodied by women and against women (Otsuka,1994).

Otsuki, Kenji : Japanese science fiction and fantasy writer (b. 1966).�� A prolific writer and member of the SF and Fantasy Writers of Japan, he wrote Shōjo Kaidan (Girl�s Ghost Stories, pub. 2000).

Owen, Frank : American author.In Weird Tales, he wrote a series oftales set in his fantasy China and Japan.�� During WWII, he lapsed into anti-Japanese propaganda.He made his own mystical vision of Asia built on the dreams of Burke, Mirbeau, Rohmer and Bramah.Owen had a good general knowledge of Chinese mythology and attitudes, though his work generally departs from any real Asian connections.

Ozawa, Akitomo : Japanese horror novelist.He is author of Gokurakuchō (The Bird of Paradise, Kadokawa).

Ozawa, Jun : Japanese writer.She is the author of the Cthulhu mythos tale The Dark Snake God Talks, and the Tales from the Third Moon series.


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