The Ghost Story of Yotsuya (1959)

The Ghost Story of Yotsuya concerns a deceitful Samurai, Iemon, who is down on his luck and wishes to pursue a profitable alliance with the daughter, of a rich merchant. Unfortunately his wife, Oiwa, and newly born son stand in the way of his ambition and so, Oiwa has to die. Poisoned and driven mad by pain, Oiwa dies cursing her unfaithful husband with her last breath, returning from the dead in order to avenge her untimely death.

The strange and sad story of Oiwa is one of the most popular Japanese ghost stories (kaidan), and has provided the template for numerous plays, television dramas and films. Deceived by her husband, Oiwa dies – directly or indirectly as a result of Iemon’s behaviour – returning as the archetypal vengeful ghost (Onryou) to torment her betrayer. Of the many cinematic versions, Nobuo’s is one of the finest – a cinematic tour-de-force of operatic dimensions, beautifully designed sets and suitably nuanced performances by   Shigeru Amachi as the devious Iemon and Katsuko Wakasugi as the betrayed wife/vengeful ghost.

The opportunity to see Nobuo’s version of this classic tale on the big screen on its own is reason enough to attend Terror Cotta Horror Night, 7th June 2013. This is a film, although deemed a classic of Japanese cinema, is not readily available in the West, which makes this a rare opportunity to see one of the foundational films of Japanese Edo-Gothic cinema that should not be missed.

Tickets can be booked directly from Prince Charles Cinema

2 responses to “The Ghost Story of Yotsuya (1959)

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