Japanese ghost story from 1911: Night Fishing

For this All Saint's Eve, here's a creepy, 1911 ghost story called "Night Fishing," written by Izumi Kyōka, a writer "heavily influenced by supernatural and grotesque themes from Edo-period literature and folklore." The translation's brand new, from Matt Treyvaud, and the story reads like a Japanese-inflected Poe piece.
It late November. An unseasonably muggy wind had blown all evening. Humid clouds swelled overhead. People too near a brazier were damp with sweat, wishing they could remove their coats. And now the sun was setting. Iwa-san left work and wound through the alleys of the Gyōgan temple grounds to the longhouse where he lived with his family. But once he got there, he seemed agitated by something and in a great hurry. Without even making his usual visit to the bath-house, he wolfed down his rice and tea, said that he was going to visit a friend, and left the house.

While he was gone, the wind grew ever fiercer. The doors and shoji screens rattled. The dark mouths of the shutters yawned and slammed. The skies, despite all this, were clear, stars still and twinkling even as the gale grew wild. Gray clouds like piles of cotton swelled into view from time to time, shedding a few drops of rain. But just when it seemed about to pour, the wind would grow wild and blow the skies clear.

Link (Thanks, Bill!)


  1. If you like this, might I suggest Kwiadan from Timfire Publishing. It’s a collection of Edo-era scary stories translated by Lafcadio Hearn and collected into a really sexy book.

    (Also, if you’re of the geeky role-playing persuasion, Timothy Kleinert also wrote a pen-and-paper RPG called The Mountain Witch where you play ronin scaling up Mt. Fuji to kill The Mountain Witch while wrestling with the trust between your fellow ronin and struggling with your secret pasts. Real good stuff and nothing like you’d expect from a P&P RPG. It was inspired by this type of Japanese folklore.)


  2. I’m sorry to say that I do not understand the ending of this story. Is it meant to be told rather than read, accompanied with physical cues?

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