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Junji Ito: Four x Four Walls

Japanese Horror: Contains elements of horror that may be unsettling for some readers

By Mika OkaPublished 10 months ago 3 min read

In a mysterious forest, a strange person with a voodoo doll wanders. This person has gaps in their teeth and nails sticking out of their mouth like bizarre toothpicks. They don't seem quite sane. As night falls, a young man named Koichi struggles to study while hearing unsettling thumping sounds from the attic. He goes to the living room to vent his frustration at his brother, Souichi, who is watching TV and absentmindedly gnawing on nails with tired eyes. Koichi accuses his brother, but his family dismisses him, telling him to stop blaming Souichi.

As the night goes on, Souichi's unsettling mutterings about wishing ill upon Koichi escalate, leading to a heated confrontation. Koichi pins Souichi down, but something unexpected happens, and Souichi suffers an embarrassing accident. Souichi dismisses it, claiming that mischievous poltergeists are punishing Koichi for disrespecting spirits. However, strange things continue to happen, revealing an odd spectacle in Koichi's room. Objects float in the air, manipulated by invisible strings controlled from a closet.

Koichi pleads with his father to intervene and control Souichi's erratic behavior. Instead, his father suggests hiring a carpenter specializing in soundproofing. When Koichi returns home, he meets Tagaisu, the carpenter, whose unsettling appearance, with gray eyes and brightly colored eyebrows, makes Koichi uncomfortable. Tagaisu confidently announces his plan to use advanced technology to create a soundproof sanctuary for Koichi, emphasizing the need to quadruple the doors to block out all external disturbances. Koichi is uneasy about this and becomes more disturbed when Tagaisu praises Souichi's disruptive actions.

The next night reveals the consequences of Tagaisu's work. Koichi's window, once his connection to the outside world, is ominously sealed shut. Koichi encounters Tagaisu as he leaves and realizes the grim finality of the carpenter's task. When Koichi enters his room, he finds it transformed into a cramped space, with only his desk remaining. Although the absence of external noise seems promising, strange growling sounds confirm Koichi's suspicion of Souichi's continued presence. A frenzied chase through the house ensues, but Koichi eventually realizes the futility of trying to catch his deranged brother. Exhausted, he returns to his studies as Souichi's relentless antics finally subside, leaving Koichi breathless and drained.

My Interpretative Reflection

The story portrays a family in which a disturbing and potentially harmful situation is unfolding, but the family members choose to ignore the problem. Koichi's accusations and concerns about Souichi's behavior are met with indifference and dismissal by his family. This highlights a common social issue where families often downplay or deny problems within their households, avoiding addressing issues that may require intervention or professional help.

Souichi's bizarre and unsettling behavior, including his macabre rituals and apparent detachment from reality, suggests mental health issues. However, instead of seeking professional help or support, the family resorts to unconventional solutions, such as hiring the enigmatic carpenter Tagaisu to soundproof Koichi's room. This reflects the stigma and lack of understanding surrounding mental health in society, where individuals with mental health challenges may be isolated, misunderstood, or subjected to unconventional and potentially harmful treatments.

The story delves into the consequences of using advanced technology to create a soundproof environment. While the intention is to shield Koichi from external disturbances, it results in a nightmarish isolation, as he becomes cut off from the outside world. This can be seen as a commentary on how technology, while providing convenience and comfort, can also lead to isolation and detachment from reality.

Tagaisu's extreme solution to soundproof Koichi's room symbolizes society's tendency to resort to extreme measures when dealing with perceived problems or disturbances. Instead of addressing the root cause of the issue, which may be Souichi's mental health, the family opts for an extreme solution that exacerbates the problem and ultimately leads to a nightmarish scenario.

I'm just a humble fan who loves all things Japanese and hopes to bring a little bit of that love to you. Thank you!


【ネタバレ感想】伊藤潤二コレクション26~30 双一の勝手な呪い|ヤンセンの生活ブログ (jansen228.com)

#04 | 伊藤潤二『マニアック』 (ji-anime.com)

【伊藤潤二】双一の勝手な呪い|これぞホラーギャグ漫画の真髄! (hopitton148.com)

The Room with Four Walls | Junji Ito Wiki | Fandom

*All photos belong to their respective websites, as indicated in the captions. For more information, you may click to visit the provided sources, which will lead to external websites, unless stated otherwise.

Previously published on Medium


About the Creator

Mika Oka

Sharing her unique perspective on the world as a hearing-impaired autistic person with bipolar disorder despite the challenges.


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Comments (2)

  • Alex H Mittelman 10 months ago

    I adore this! Great work! I also love Japanese horror!

  • velasco liama10 months ago

    love it

Mika OkaWritten by Mika Oka

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