Expanded Horizons: Kaonashi
My Japanese ghost story “Kaonashi” is over on Expanded Horizons website. It’s free so read it now before continuing with this spoiler-tastic blog post. The stroy was first published in an indie press horror anthology called Candlelight Volume II, editor Jonathan Schlosser back in 2009.
I love this story because of several things. Firstly, noppera-bo tales are great. They don’t tend to do much other than freak people out, but the concept of having no face is spectacularly creepy.
Secondly, I love matsuris. Wearing a yukata, eating Japanese street snacks (tayaki and yakitori are my favourites) and watching fireworks whilst sitting on a plastic sheet is a singularly Japanese and wonderful experience. Why do we not have Hello Kitty and fruit shaped fireworks in the UK?
And finally, I love what having no face could mean: the vanity aspect, the facial expression, the ability to eat and drink as well as scream.. it’s all in the face. And for those in the anime know, Kaonashi is the Japanese name of No-face, the character from Miyazaki’s Spirited Away who is corrupted by the bath house he enters. He’s a fascinating character, neither malevolent or benevolent but his face is changed, influenced by those around him.