I recently read a short story written by a Japanese author known as Junji Ito called, The Enigma of Amigara Fault. This story followed the mysterious journey of a man named Owaki and a woman named Yoshida. The two meet at a mountain range that has recently been split in two by an earthquake that struck Japan. The real mystery, however, is that within the middle of the mountain there are holes in the shape of people. These holes have begun drawing people to them by some unknown compelling force, which is the main driver of the element of horror. This story has a lot of ways it could be interpreted and that really intrigued me from the beginning. I think that there is a lot to unpack with not only this story but the way in which this author perceives and interprets horror throughout all of his other pieces of writing and literature.
I really thought that this story was very powerful and brought the horror genre a fresh new take. Junji Ito as an author uses a lot of elements that most do not. He does this by utilizing a fear that we all have….. the fear of the unknown. As H.P Lovecraft once stated, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”, and Ito definitely uses this fear to his advantage. By not explaining the reasons for these human shapes holes or the people’s motivation towards them it leaves a lot of it to the imagination and allows a different type of fear and suspense to envelop the readers. He also uses a type of plot development we don’t usually see as he focuses more so on building a sense of fear and questioning of the mysterious craters rather than building a sense of connection with the characters. This may seem like it would ruin the story however, it really adds to it as we are less focused on our characters and more so on the mystery surrounding them. Also, the way he never actually explains the reasons for people being compelled to enter the fault allows us as readers to try and draw our own conclusions for it. Is it paradise, completion? We will never know the true reasoning and this is what makes it such a powerful piece of literature. Although we are shown the fate of those who entered the fault we will never truly know why they wanted to enter it in the first place which is where the true psychological horror lies