Ero-Guro-Nansensu in the Japanese Horror Films House, Suicide Club and Dead Sushi

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Japanska

Abstract: This thesis attempts to form a definition of the concept “ero-guro-nansensu” which refers to a cultural movement in Japan during the early 20th century that explored the erotic, grotesque and nonsensical. It will use the definition to analyze three Japanese horror films made long after the movement’s supposed end, to determine if it is still relevant and useful for studies of current Japanese culture. It concludes that the films show correspondence to a description of the concept, use ideas and themes that could be found in ero-guronansensu fiction from the time period, and, like their predecessors, include social commentary under the guise of popular entertainment, presented in an ambiguous or symbolic manner. This thesis argues that House comments on marriage, relating it to the traditional Ie-system, that Suicide Club comments on communication and connection between people in the internet age, and Dead Sushi conveys a message about people’s relationship to food, and that these commentaries can be generalized as “change” presented in the form of guro. Furthermore, this thesis argues that the concept can be used beyond fiction and applied to Western culture as well.

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