Video Nasty: The Moral Apocalypse in Koji Suzuki’s Ring

Lit 23 (3):212-225 (2012)
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Although overshadowed by its filmic adaptations (Hideo Nakata, 1998 and Gore Verbinski, 2002), Koji Suzuki’s novel Ring (1991) is at the heart of the international explosion of interest in Japanese horror. This article seeks to explore Suzuki’s overlooked text. Unlike the film versions, the novel is more explicitly focused on the line between self-preservation and self-sacrifice, critiquing the ease with which the former is privileged over the latter. In the novel then, the horror of Sadako’s curse raises questions about the terrors of moral obligation: the lead protagonist (Asakawa) projects the guilt he feels over his self-interested actions, envisaging them as an all-consuming apocalypse.
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