There is something about Japanese horror stories that make them one of the scariest, most eerie tales in the South East Asian region.
Even if it is an anime, not a live-action story, the Japanese horror genre still manages to transcend cultural borders and language barriers to give its audience a good scare.
Here KajoMag’s top 10 Japanese horror anime you must watch:
This anime is based on Japanese horror novel by Yukito Ayatsuji which was published in 2009.
The plot is about a boy named Kouichi Sakakibara who transfers to Yomiyama North Middle School. There, he finds himself fascinated with a girl name Mei Misaki who is being ignored by the whole class.
What makes this anime iconic among fans is not just how killing the suspense is but its legendary death-by-umbrella scene.
One of the characters, Yukari, accidentally trips and tumbles down the school stairs while carrying an umbrella.
As her umbrella drops, it pops open as she falls face first towards the umbrella’s sharp end and is gruesomely skewered through the neck.
Nobody will look at an umbrella the same again after watching this anime.
Do you know where you go after you die? How about a bar?
In the universe of this Japanese horror anime, humans either head to the eternal void or are reincarnated after death.
However if there are any doubts, the souls arrive at the Quindecim bar instead without any memories of having died. There, Decim the bartender will challenge them to a Death Game.
It is not as horrifying as the other anime on this list but each episode has a different twisted, distorted storyline.
This anime is so iconic that its soundtracks are widely used as a horror theme song in various shows including South Korean variety show like Running Man.
Ai Enma, the main character offers an interesting service. Basically, she is the chauffeur for highway to hell. She carries out grudges on behalf of the clients by sending the person the clients hate to hell.
Putting aside her scary job, Ai is full of wisdom as she comes with smartest quotes throughout this anime like“When one person is cursed, two graves are dug” and “The real hell is inside the person.”
Hermost memorable quote is what she says every time she sends somebody to hell.
“O pitiful shadow bound in darkness,
Looking down upon people, and causing them pain.
A soul drowned in sinful karma,
Want to try dying this once?”
Blood+ is a dark and sad but full of action. The story focuses on Saya Otonashi who seems to be just an ordinary girl living with her adoptive family.
One night, she is attacked by a mysterious creature called Chiropteran. One thing leads to another and Saya realises she has a special power to defeat these creatures.
Ghost Hunt is one of those Japanese horror anime that I wouldn’t recommend to watch at night. Watch it during the day when everything is lit and you won’t be looking over your shoulder.
It is based on a light novel series written by Fuyumi Ono. The story follows the adventures of Shibuya Psychic Research as they investigate mysterious events all over Japan.
Some of these ‘ghostly’ occurrences have horrifying, scary background stories while there are some which are sad and heartbreaking.
Also known as King’s Game The Animation, this is a twisted horror story based in a Japanese high school. A class of 32 people receive a message on their phones from a person only known as the “King.”
The message has orders that the students must obey or they die.
It has a sick, contorted storyline which plays on humans’ instinct to survive.
This four-episode anime is a sequel to the Corpse Party: Missing Footage OVA (original video animation).
The story starts with a group of students gathered at their high school at night to say goodbye to a friend. They perform a ritual to make sure they are friends forever using doll-like charms.
The ritual leads them to being stuck in another dimension with scary ghosts from the past.
If a masked stranger showed up in a playground to tell ghost stories, would you let your children listen to him?
Every week at 5pm, an old man in a yellow mask shows up at a children’s playground and tells ghost stories based on Japanese myths and urban legends.
It is inspired by kamishibai, a form of Japanese street theatre and storytelling that was popular during the Depression of the 1930s.
This Japanese horror anime has three parts: Yotsuya Kaidan, Tenshu Monogatari and Bake Neko.
Yotsuya Kaidan is perhaps the most famous Japanese ghost story about a husband who betrays his wife to marry a rich man’s daughter. The wife’s spirit comes back from the dead to curse those who involved with her death.
Tenshu Monogatari is the story of forbidden love between a god and a human while Bake Neko is about a man who is a medicine seller and hunts mononoke (demons).
Based on best-selling horror manga by Sui Ishida, the plot follows Ken Kaneki who is living a secret life as a half-ghoul, half-human.
The ghouls in this universe are vicious creatures who can blend in with humans so that they can prey on them as food.