<i>Nihonjinron</i>, women, horror: post-war national identity and the spirit of subaltern vengeance in <i>Ringu</i> and <i>The Ring</i>

Linnie Blake

in The Wounds of Nations

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780719075933
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700914 | DOI:
Nihonjinron, women, horror: post-war national identity and the spirit of subaltern vengeance in Ringu and The Ring

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This chapter illustrates that drawing on the Japanese onryou or vengeful ghost narrative, Ringu, and later The Ring, was intimately concerned with traumatic dislocations to national self-image and the ways in which the media may promulgate ideologically dominant models of national identity for the internalisation of individuals who, as one has seen in the case of post-war Germany, nonetheless remain gravely wounded by the events of the historic past. Since the 1960s, Japanese horror cinema repeatedly had the female corpse return from the dead to demand retribution for the hitherto concealed wounds inflicted on the nation by unpunished historical crimes. This chapter also highlights the most commercially successful and culturally resonant, The Ring, Gore Verbinski's 2002 remake of Nakata Hideo's Ringu of 1998 (which is itself an adaptation of a Suzuki Koji novel of 1991), a film that has earned gross international revenues of over $229 million and became the seventh-highest grossing horror film in history. Furthermore, it explains the generic conventions of the onryou that may be seen to undermine the imperialistic agendas of both twentieth-century Japan and the twenty first-century United States.

Keywords: Japanese onryou; The Ring; Japanese horror cinema; Ringu; national identity; generic conventions

Chapter.  9638 words. 

Subjects: Film

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