Yami hara Novel

Yami-hara Novel

This doesn’t seem to be written by the same person as Lonely Castle in the Mirror at first. That book, as well as the movie version of it, offers a poignant look at bullying and the various ways that people deal with it.

In contrast, Yami-hara is a horror book that use its language to gradually elicit, intensify, and ultimately fail to fully resolve its nagging sensation of panic. By the time you get to the finish, it will be clear that Mizuki Tsujimura used similar fundamental concepts for both works. like the stories are sufficiently dissimilar to avoid seeming as like she is only restating the same material, even if they have a similar theme.

Two portmanteaus, one of which starts and closes the novel, give Yami-hara its name. (For narrative purposes, the second appears just at the very end.) The word is formed by fusing the words “harassment” and “yami,” which means “darkness in one’s mind or heart,” with the meaning of the latter being “unwelcome conduct toward a person.” applies to any behavior, whether intentional or not, that compromises or breaches the dignity of another individual.” At first glance, it seems like just another term for “bullying,” and in the context of some of the interconnected short stories that comprise the book, that initially seems to be the case. However, upon closer inspection, it turns out to be a little more intricate than that. Examples of this behavior are numerous and include everything from peer pressure to poisonous relationships to the seemingly harmless role of being the punching bag at work. In four out of the five chapters, Yamami-hara’s primary shape is completely different in every tale. This compels us to consider the actual actions and their effects on the third-person narrator and those in their immediate vicinity.

Maybe the most typical is the opening chapter, which has characters who are important to the fifth chapter (albeit the final four are all presented together). Mio is the narrator; she is a high school student who, in the middle of the year, gets a strange new pupil in her class. Mio is first terrified of Kaname Shiraishi and believes he is spying on her. She confesses her crush to an upperclassman, and he offers to “protect” her from Kaname by walking her home. Mio is initially overjoyed, despite her slight confusion that he is telling people they are dating—and that she seems to believe it. It becomes clear as the story progresses that he is controlling her interactions with him and other people, stalking her online, and abusing her emotionally. When Kaname finally arrives to save her from him, it becomes clear that the upperclassman belongs to an odd family called the Kanbaras. Kaname is committed to finding them and ending their usage of Yami-hara as many others—including her friend Hanaka, who disappears along with Kanbara—do not survive it as well as Mio does. Kaname grants Mio’s request to accompany him as he chases the family.

This is the time where Mio and Kaname disappear from the story for about 200 pages. The remaining three Kanbara family members and their victims are the subject of later chapters, each of which is very different from the one before it. All of them support Tsujimura’s main point, which is that it only takes one person to cause disruption and inflict mental and emotional suffering, if not bodily violence, even though they may not seem connected at first. Every person who becomes a victim of the Yamamihara has flaws and vulnerabilities that let the darkness in. Everyone has a vulnerability, whether it’s a slight sense of superiority, a dislike for some actions, or just plain ambition. This is best shown in the second narrative when Ritsu, a working mother, moves to a well-liked apartment building with her family. Ritsu initially assumes more of the position of an observer than a victim, and she exhibits enough insight to recognize her own vulnerabilities as well as those of others. This chapter, more than any other, firmly establishes Tsujimura’s thesis and strategy. The dread comes from realizing that, despite awareness, the events taking place cannot be stopped.

That is, in a very genuine sense, what gives the novel’s ending such impact. A lot of well-written horror stories, whether they focus on terror or horror, leave room for interpretation, suggesting that the evil has only been momentarily defeated. Tsujimura makes it apparent in Lonely Castle in the Mirror that issues only get resolved for the individual characters, not harassing survivors in general, and she does the same thing here. It implies that even if one set of Yama-hara practitioners has been addressed, the issue still persists. Mio and Kaname are just two individuals, and each of them pursued the other for particular, private reasons. The onus is on others to carry on the task; however, it is unclear if anyone is willing or able to do so.

Despite being well-written and including a great trail of hints from chapter one to chapter five, Yamami-hara is not a simple book to read. It’s understandable that some readers would find it overly literal—Tsujimura is addressing a topic that some horror fans may find too lighthearted or that they’re sick of reading about. Nevertheless, it’s still a good novel that approaches its subject matter in a different way than others and does a great job of using creeping fear. If you liked Tsujimura’s last English-language novel, it’s definitely worth reading, but it’s also a good book on its own, akin to a less graphic novel version of some of Junji Ito’s or Kazuo Umezz’s more psychological tales.


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