Is there a name for the scary chick in Japanese horror movies?
October 31, 2005 10:31 AM   Subscribe

For those who've seen The Grudge (Ju-on) and The Ring (Ringu), do you know if there is any significance to the visual similarity between "The Evil" in both films? (SPOILERS inside)

Specifically, is the waterlogged small female with unkempt hair in her face and spooky movements some kind of a horror archetype in Japan, or is the similarity just an accident or some kid of synergy or copying? I vaguely recall similar imagery in some anime movies (perhaps Akira?) also. If it is an archetype, is there a name for it?
posted by xyzzy to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Japanese folklore is chock-full of ghosts. One famous story is that of Okiku, who was drown in, and subsequently haunted, a well.

Take a look at this print, and Ringu starts to seem downright derivitive.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:11 PM on October 31, 2005

Best answer: As mr_roboto mentioned, Japanese folklore is *quite* full of ghosts.

In specific answer to your question, yes - the unkempt female in white ragged gowns and stringy hair in the face is something of a ghost archetype going back for a very long time. It's certainly not the only way of depicting a ghost, but it's a common one.

Print of ghost coming out of well

Ghost showing herself in a lantern
posted by kaseijin at 1:38 PM on October 31, 2005

I've seen The Ringu trilogy, Ju-on, The Eye, A Tale of Two Sisters (Korean) plus a couple of other "B" grade Japanese horror films, and they all have that blasted girl in them. It feels repetative to me, but who knows how foreign movie goers percieve our horror movies.
posted by lychee at 3:18 PM on October 31, 2005

Water is a common theme in Japanese horror - see the recent Dark Water, too. I thought there was a name for this, but I can't seem to find where I first read about it.
posted by Plutor at 3:20 PM on October 31, 2005

It feels repetative to me, but who knows how foreign movie goers percieve our horror movies.

Hollywood horror movies all seem to feature an appearance by one or more pairs of jiggly breasts.
posted by soiled cowboy at 3:22 PM on October 31, 2005

I was disappointed by the failure of Crazy Hair Monster to recur in The Grudge. Standard japanohorror girl for the rest of the movie, but in that one scene? Hair monster!
posted by cortex at 5:57 PM on October 31, 2005

They all remind me of "Oiwa" in the famous Japanese kabuki play "Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan". When I lived in Japan they would air several film versions of this classic ghost story on TV during the Obon festival. The only classic Japanese ghost film I can find on DVD is "Kwaidan" which doesn't feature Oiwa.
posted by plokent at 6:34 PM on October 31, 2005

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