Best Scary Japanese Literature for fans of Horror

Konnichiwa! We hope you enjoy Adore’s compilation of the best in Japanese literature. Caution: This isn’t for the faint of heart!

1. The Summer of the Ubume by Natsuhiko Kyogoku

The title stems from the Japanese folklore of Ubume, a ghostly female who is either on the verge of conceiving or clutching a child. Set in the 1950s, this macabre tale features a lot of gross out body horror such as a husband dying via spontaneous combustion!

The Summer of the Ubume book image

2. Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

This novel utilizes Japanese folklore to weave a tale of an abandoned and obviously haunted mansion that’s built on the bones of a bride and whose walls house the bones of young women who were sacrificed to keep her company. A group of thrill seeking wedding guests settle down there for the night, only to end up on the dinner menu for the ghostly bride with blackened teeth who is lurking in shadows and is very very hungry…

Nothing But Blackened Teeth book image

3. Shiver by Junji Ito

This novel contains frighteningly realistic and graphic imagery (you’ve been warned) and takes macabre to the next level with tales of balloons that resemble human faces and murder their doppelgangers by stringing them up with a noose, a murderous fashion model on the prowl for fresh blood and a man who ages overnight, all from the master of horror, Junji Ito. 

Shiver book image

4. Another by Yukito Ayatsuji

Kouichi studies in a haunted classroom where the kill count is extremely high but to which the students and faculty are oblivious. Kouichi finds out about an awful curse that results in these deaths and thus sets out to put an end… But soon realizes that he might have bitten off more than he can chew!

Another book image

5. Biogenesis by Tatsuaki Ishiguro

This is an anthology of bizarre horror shorts, all of which are cleverly disguised as scientific reports. Tales range from a winged rat that weeps blood, a mysterious snow woman, a strange species and cannibal weeds. Read it if you dare!

Biogenesis book image

6. Ring by Koji Suzuki

This well known Japanese horror has been adapted to the screen countless times and it revolves around a journalist investigating the mysterious deaths of four teens and one deadly videotape that brings death upon its watcher within a week.

Ring book image

7. Audition by Ryu Murakami

A lonely documentary filmmaker decides to hold auditions for a potential bride. A shy and modest woman named Yamasaki catches his eye and wins him over, but he soon learns that she is withholding a grave and gruesome dark secret from him. Trigger warning: The novel contains themes of grief, mutilation and child abuse.

Audition book image

8. Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena

In this medical horror that features a ton of body horror, Dr. Nagashima sets out to reincarnate his wife who has passed away in a car crash. Meanwhile his deceased wife’s liver is being transplanted in a young girl and finds new life literally as the cells which remained dormant develop into a whole new entity…a dark one that is hellbent on dominating over humanity!

Parasite Eve book image

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed this compilation. Make sure to share it with fellow Japanese horror enthusiasts and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram or you’ll be forever cursed! Ok that might not be true, but you don’t want to miss out! Stay tuned for more…

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