Japanese Culture, Tokyo Fukagawa Literary Horror Sites, Tokyo Fukagawa Literary Horror, A Japanese man in an old black and white photo is wearing a kimono and is sitting down in a study about to write with ink and a brush.

Tokyo Fukagawa Literary Horror Sites

In Exploring and Socializing, Japan, Tokyo Yokai and Urban Legends by Pjechorin

Tokyo Fukagawa literary horror has inspired horror in Japan for centuries. These places are where macabre masterpieces were inspired or written.

KuroFuneInari Shrine : 黒船稲荷神社

Remains of Tsuruya Namboku IV’s Home

Small shrine with two rows of red flags leading up to it with a blue house and trees in the background. This shrine is at the place of the remains of the house where Tsuruya Namboku the 4th penned his masterpiece “Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan”. Tsuruya Namboku the 4th was actually born not far away in Nihonbashi, Shin-Ritsu-cho in 1775. He died here, at his home, on November 27th, 1829 at 75 years of age. In childhood he was called Genzo and his father was a craftsman at Tsuboya. However, he dreamed of being a writer. In 1777 he began writing under the pen-name Sakurada Gisuke (桜田兵蔵). He wrote Kabuki plays that are still performed today such as Kokoro Nazo Kai-Iro-Ito (心謎解色糸) and Nazo-Tai Issuntokubee (謎帯一寸徳兵衛) in 1811 and was praised as one of the great Kubuki master authors of his day and was renamed Tsuruya Namboku (the fourth). Later he penned his most famous masterwork, Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan (東海道四谷怪談) and another lesser known today masterwork OsomeHiSamaMatsuuKinaNoYomiuri (於染久松色読販).

An Ukeyo print of an Edo era Japanese man wearing a kimono.

Triangular House where much of the plot of the Kabuki play ‘Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan’ takes place 深川三角屋敷

Tsuruya Namboku the 4th based the triangular house, where much of the plot in the Kabuki play Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan takes place, off of a real triangular tenement building in his local area of Fukagawa. Today there is only a triangular park next to a freeway. The building itself was torn down long ago. But if you are interested in seeing the real locations that inspired the story, by all means make your way down here.

EJimaSugiYama Shrine & Zeniarai: 江島杉山神社

  • A Shinto shrine in Tokyo.
  • A doorway leading into a cave.
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (芥川 龍之介 Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, 1 March 1892 – 24 July 1927) lived in this area and based at least one of his short stories, “The Old Witch” (Youba, 妖婆) around the cave located at this shrine. At one time this shrine was named The First Benten (一ツ目弁天; Benten is the goddess of wisdom and the arts). Today EJimaSugiYama Shrine is better known as a place where people came to be healed and was associated with a nearby school of medicine that used to be there. Also, just next door is an offshoot of the Kamakura Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine where you wash your money in the sacred water while praying for prosperity, simply called Zeniarai (銭洗).

A Japanese man in an old black and white photo is wearing a kimono and is sitting down in a study about to write with ink and a brush. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa was one of the great short story writers in early modern Japan. His stories were famous for their dark, mysterious, and ominous atmosphere and for great story-telling. Interestingly, this author got into many heated arguments about whether the form of story telling was more important that the content of the story. He strongly believed that form was more important than content. Mr. Akutagawa is probably most famous abroad for his story “Rashomon” which was later made into a movie by Akira Kurosawa which one an Academy Honorary Award at the 1952 Academy Awards. However, he is famous in Japan for several other stories such as “The Nose” (鼻 Hana), “The Spider’s Thread” (蜘蛛の糸 Kumo no Ito), “In a Grove” (藪の中 Yabu no Naka), etc.. For some good reads on a dark and stormy night I certainly suggest picking up an anthology of his stories (many of which have been translated into English).


In English
Tsuruya Nanboku IV : https://www.kabuki21.com/nanboku4.php
Akutagawa Ryūnosuke : https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2012/03/18/general/ryunosuke-akutagawa-in-focus/
Former Location of the Triangular House : https://edokara.tokyo/conts/2019/07/27/1249

In Japanese

KuroFuneInari Shrine : https://www.jinjyagoshuin.com/entry/kurohuneinari
EJimaSugiYama Shrine : http://ejimasugiyama.tokyo/
Image Thanks To Yokohama45 @ WikiMedia Commons
About the Author


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I have lived and worked with my family in Japan since 2005. For many years I have been interested in the very practical and creative side of Japanese culture. In my free time I travel around, enjoy hiking in the countryside and cities, and just generally seeing and doing new things. This blog is primarily a way for me to focus my energies and record and teach others about what I have learned by experience constructively. I am interested in urban development, and sustainable micro-economics, especially home-economics, and practical things everyday families can do to survive and thrive through these changing times.

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