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Vampires do not have a traditional place in Japanese literature, falling outside the canon of well-developed, gruesome monsters that emerged largely from Buddhism.

They didn’t make their mark until the early 20th century, when literature from the West began to be translated by writers here. Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s 1914 translation of Theophile Gautier’s “La Morte Amoureuse” is given some credit for their introduction and the Japanese word for vampire, “kyūketsuki,” appeared the following year, in an article by naturalist Kumagusu Minakata. But the creature was not immediately embraced.

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