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Junji Ito's Influence on America

How has he influenced the genre of horror in America?

By Samantha ParrishPublished 7 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read

Junji Ito is one of the most innovative storytellers we've had among the many horror creators. In his twenty-year span of scary stories, the world can't get enough of the various fears he created.

I want you to think of the most non-threatening idea or something you never thought would harm you. The chances are that Junji Ito has written something to turn that non-threatening idea into a nightmare you never knew was possible.

The idea that something like chairs, grease, balloons, or turtleneck shirts would be a fear factor. Junji Ito's stories of terror not only scare us, but it changes the way that we look at the world around us and make us wonder if everything around us is an enemy.

The idea of horror isn't what we need to fear, it's what we never know could be fear from the evergrowing changes of the world. A horror novel has to be doing something well if it’s able to make you paranoid about something normal.

Who Influenced Junji Ito?

All the stories that are created somehow get impacted by someone else’s story to make the inspiration. So where did Junji Ito get the idea?

HP Lovecraft had an impact on Junji Ito's career as a graphic artist. The concept of horror lingering and hiding in places we never thought to expect. In space, in the sea, in the shadows, in the woods, in our town, in the people we know every day. What HP Lovecraft did was make the blueprint for the genre.

What HP Lovecraft did on the cusp of horror, Junji Ito expanded it. The last chapter of Uzumaki could be called the homage to the work that HP Lovecraft started with astrological horror.

American inspiration

Many of our classic films have some tie to Japanese culture. Ghost in the shell was a partial inspiration for the look and feel of the world in The Matrix. Chronicle's mind-over-matter characters came were inspired by Akira. You could throw a dart at ANY movie or TV show and you'll find how it had been influenced by Japanese stories.

A bizarre sci-fi- horror film called Slither is on that list too.

Slither's plot is inspired by Uzumaki, people don't know that due to the poor performance Slither had at the box office.

There are some parallels that connect Slither to Uzumaki

  • A small town is affected by one threat
  • The threat transforms the townsfolk differently

Slither's inspiration of Uzumaki does elevate the sci-fi film from just being a run-of-the-mill sci-fi/horror movie. When the knowledge is known, it makes the film respectable in a way to take inspiration from the story of one of Junji Ito.

Junji Ito wasn't a well-known name in America at that point in 2006. In a way, Slither did inadvertently introduce an American audience to Junji ito even if they didn't know it.

With the change of direction in horror films, maybe the future of the film genre will incorporate more of Junji Ito's work as inspiration. Slither wasn't a box-office darling, but it is one of the first and possibly only films to be inspired by Junji Ito's work.

How Junji Ito Influenced Me

I've been influenced by Junji Ito despite being a dark-humor author, I used the blueprint, the idea of the unknown threat. The idea about how monsters come in any form whether they are. I even made a reference to his style of scares in my book to explain how an unknown threat is terrifying to the imagination in situations.

Horror writers give us a look at the dark side of the monsters that we don't know are around us. Junji Ito gave us a whole new depth of that darkness we don't know about, and he takes further into that darkness of what we never knew could be possible.

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About the Creator

Samantha Parrish

What's something interesting you always wanted to know?

Instagram: parrishpassages

tiktok: themysticalspacewitch

My book Inglorious Ink is now available on Amazon!

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