In 2009, Japanese national broadcaster NHK asked four outstanding Japanese directors to adapt stories written by a renowned writers for a TV anthology. Koreeda Hirokazu, Tsukamoto Shinya, Ochiai Masayuki and Lee Sang-Il, each directed one of the four stories which made up an anthology which alludes to the famous Kwaidan of Masaki Kobayashi (1964).
The horror of Kaidan takes the form of jealousy, lust, shame, wrath and regret; emotions with which the characters above all torment themselves. In The Arm, an aging man becomes obsessed by a beautiful young woman, asking if he can borrow one of her arms. The Nose is the story of a medieval monk who accidentally causes a boy's death. In The Whistler, a woman is jealous of her younger sister because of love letters she receives. In The Days After, a man and a woman are visited by their dead son. But is it really him?
“Of course, you know the traditional stories, with ghosts, spirits and other supernatural beings of that kind. This story is more about the phantoms coming from disturbances within yourself. From your own fears. And how you handle those”, says director Ochiai Masayuki (The Arm).
“That was actually one of the things that made me want to join this project, the fact that Kaidan can be something that is so different from J-Horror. I would never want to make a straight J-Horror film, also because I think I wouldn't be good at doing that. And I am glad that Kaidan-stories cover so many different topics and genres that I was able to find a story which I loved to work on”, says director Hirokazu Koreeda (The Days After).