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WHAT'S COOL IN JAPAN
School Ghost Stories
During the summer, ghost stories are shared by students at elementary and middle schools throughout Japan. Many of these stories use schools as the backdrop, and this sometimes causes a small panic to erupt in the classroom. School ghost stories have been around for quite some time, but they show no signs of falling out of fashion.
Here are a few examples of these tales.
Tsunemitsu presented his findings to a magazine and rewrote some of them so they would be easy for children to read. This led to the publication in 1990 of Gakko no Kaidan (School Ghost Stories). This book became a bestseller and ignited a boom of school ghost stories throughout Japan, inspiring kids around the country to test their ingenuity in creating stories of their own. The following year the book was serialized, and to date nine volumes have been published. In 1994 school ghost stories were turned into a television series, and in 1995 they reached the silver screen; the fourth movie in the series was released this summer.
These ghost stories are of course not based on actual events, but they nonetheless give kids a nice cold sweat that helps them make it through the heat of summer.
Photo: The first three volumes of Toru Tsunemitsu's Gakko no Kaidan series, published by Kodansha.