The Woman with the Flying Head and Other Stories by Yumiko Kurahashi

The Woman With the Flying Head and Other Stories (Japanese Women Writing) By Yumiko Kurahashi, Kurahashi Yumiko, Atsuko Sakaki

The Kurahashi book above is somehow disturbing. I'm reading through it because I thought it might be a good way to end my Dark Romantic Japanese literature studies this semester.

Definitely worth reading, but some of the stories are just... disturbing. It makes me wonder if some of the stories in, say, the Konjaku monogatari were disturbing to their audience in this way. You take your average lay Japanese person at the end of the Heian period, tell them a story about a man carrying a box of penises and gouged eyeballs for a ghost, and I think you could compare the reaction with that of an international audience in the 1960's (or the early 2000's) reading about a boy and girl sharing a living being in order to commit incest. The difference is, of course, that Kurahashi invented this story, whereas the Konjaku Monogatari stories were supposed to be true.

Honestly, I think Kurahashi has more in common with the Konjaku and Nihonryouiki than does Akinari or Kyoka. While Kyoka and Akinari use their tales of the supernatural to immerse the reader in the luscious world of the past, Kurahashi is, like the two Heian collections, more concerned with the overall story and the implications than elegance and poetic imagery.

Still, disturbing.