The Human Chair by Junji Ito

So you might recall that I fell in love with Edogawa Ranpo and especially his story The Human Chair. With a anime series being made of another Japanese Horror writer, Junji Ito, I have been introduced to his writing and found to my surprise that he wrote a sequel to Ranpo’s Human Chair.

Was it as good?

The story is set in modern times and isn’t as suspenseful or even as creepy as The Human Chair, but it adds on to that story and kind of makes it more of a love story.

There were many reasons why I loved The Human Chair and what I liked about this story was that it didn’t take away from any of those things at all. We got told how the man was truly in the chair all that time and that he was in love with the writer and how after she stopped using the chair he killed her husband and the police found his hiding place. This actual story takes place in the modern age with a new young writer looking for a chair and a man who makes chairs telling her the story, he slits open the chair he has to show the dead body of both the man and the woman who had in the end found eternal happiness together in the chair.

I guess because when you sit on a chair you truly don’t know what is inside it, that kind of makes it real unnerving thinking about how true this story could be. It isn’t inconceivable and whilst Ito’s story isn’t as unnerving as Ranpo’s it adds a different side to it.

Ranpo’s was a love story too, the thought of someone getting off inside the chair whilst people sat on him was just yucky and it made you feel uncomfortable reading it wherever you were sat, I believe I was on a bus at the time so it wasn’t even like someone COULD be in the chair I was sat in, whilst Ito’s story did in a way put the fear of death into you when you realised if someone WAS inside your chair and did go out when you weren’t around and picked up a knife you wouldn’t know about it till it was too late.

I liked the simplicity of the stories and how it makes a every day object dodgy.

The ending was nowhere near as good as the original. In the original you are left with that breath taking declaration that he’s inside the writers chair just to get the second letter and have to wonder is he in the chair or not?

This ending saw the young writer who had fled the chair maker having a chair delivered to her. Now personally if I had heard that story I’d be on the phone to someone much braver, or even better yet send the thing off to a charity shop and let them have the either dead and rotten corpses of the original chair man and woman or the living body of the young chair maker. I felt it could have happily ended either with her getting a chair ELSEWHERE and us the audience seeing there was someone in the chair or else just with the reveal of the dead bodies inside the chair and it would have been much more dramatic.

As it is I quite liked it. Of what I have read of Ito so far its one of my favourites.


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