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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that Hideo Nakata’s 1998 film Ringu—together with the broader genre of J-Horror within which it is positioned—both thematizes and exemplifies a phenomenon of cultural contagion. Like the film’s haunted videotape (which kills its viewers unless they help the tape reproduce by making a copy of it), Ringu is very much a product of its own infectious self-reproduction. Koji Suzuki’s original 1991 novel has inspired a wide range of adaptations, sequels, sequels of adaptations, and adaptations of sequels in media ranging from literature to radio, television, film, manga, and even video games. A key element in the original novel, and one that recurs either explicitly or implicitly in all of its adaptations and sequels, is that of the virus, and this article uses the figure of the virus as its entry point into an analysis of Nakata’s film and the broader cultural context within which it is embedded.

Keywords: Hideo Nakata, Ringu, J-Horror, cultural contagion, virus

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