Eugene Thacker

For Eugene Thacker's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Defining J-Horror: The erotic, grotesque 'nonsense' of Edogawa Rampo

Books Jan 7, 2017

Defining J-Horror: The erotic, grotesque 'nonsense' of Edogawa Rampo

In Japanese literature, there is a type of horror story that centers on an individual's obsession with a single idea. It arises from the most innocent and everyday circumstances, but gradually this single idea becomes all-consuming, blurring the line between sanity and madness. In ...

Defining J-horror: The terror of deep time

Books Dec 10, 2016

Defining J-horror: The terror of deep time

The horror genre is not typically thought of as a "slow" genre. In fact, horror films today often feel like stimulus-response tests where shocking events happen suddenly and without warning. However, Japanese horror directors take up another tradition, one where events unfold gradually. A ...

Defining J-horror: Early encounters with the unhuman

Books Nov 5, 2016

Defining J-horror: Early encounters with the unhuman

The scene: It's night; someone is alone in a dimly lit room. There's an eerie stillness, a creeping anxiety. Then, behind them, you notice a strange shape: a hunched-over figure, lurking in a corner. It is standing deathly still. The head is obscured by ...

Black Illumination: Zen and the poetry of death

Books Jul 2, 2016

Black Illumination: Zen and the poetry of death

On a winter morning in 1360, Zen master Kozan Ichikyo gathered together his pupils. Kozan, 77, told them that, upon his death, they should bury his body, perform no ceremony and hold no services in his memory. Sitting in the traditional Zen posture, he ...

Black Illumination: Haruo Sato's lush, gloomy landscapes

Books Jun 4, 2016

Black Illumination: Haruo Sato's lush, gloomy landscapes

Most of us, when we feel sad, assume there is a cause for our sadness. Often there is, and the feeling can then be addressed, diagnosed, resolved. But what about sadness without a cause? This is the terrain of melancholy and, while melancholy has ...

Black Illumination: the abyss of Keiji Nishitani

Books Apr 30, 2016

Black Illumination: the abyss of Keiji Nishitani

I've always felt there are basically two kinds of philosophers: those who begin in wonder and those who begin in despair. Though the philosopher Keiji Nishitani (1900-90) was arguably the latter kind, he struggled throughout his life to see the world with wonder. At the ...

Black Illumination: the disqualified life of Osamu Dazai

Books Mar 26, 2016

Black Illumination: the disqualified life of Osamu Dazai

The author Osamu Dazai committed suicide — several times. The first was on a cold December night in 1929, just before his school exams. But the overdose of sleeping pills he took was not enough; he survived, and graduated. The second was in October, ...

Black illumination: the unhuman world of Junji Ito

Books Jan 30, 2016

Black illumination: the unhuman world of Junji Ito

We've all had sleepless nights. You toss and turn, get up and go back to bed, trying to ward off the claustrophobia of wakefulness. But what about the reverse? What if the problem is not that you can't go to sleep, but that you ...