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Creator: Junji Ito
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Junji Ito is one of the top leading mangakas in the horror genre, his most popular works being Uzumaki, Tomie and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. His Tomie series have been adapted into a series of movies and TV specials, eventually followed by a movie adaptation of Uzumaki.

He used to also work as a dental technician until the early 1990s, which probably explains a couple of things about his work.

Some of his works:

  • Black Paradox
  • The Enigma of Amigara Fault (short story)
  • Gyo
  • Hellstar Remina
  • Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection (16-volume compilation):
    • Flesh-Colored Horror
    • The Face Burglar
    • Falling
    • A manga adaptation of Frankenstein
    • Soichi's Diary of Delights
    • Tomie (anthology)
  • Mimi's Ghost Stories (compilation/collaboration with Nakayama Ichiro)
  • Uzumaki
  • Voices in the Dark (compilation)
    • A follow-up named New Voices in the Dark was also released.
  • Ito Junji No Neko Nikki
  • A licensed Franchise/Pokemon manga one-shot, believe it or not. According to the released artwork, it will focus on Banette.

Tropes commonly found in his works:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: A few of these. Kari in Groaning Drain Pipes, the neighbor in The Adjacent Window, and Ms. Fuchi in Fashion Model are all examples.
  • Action Survivor: The default for any heroic character who survives more than one chapter.
  • Adaptation Expansion: His take of Frankenstein - it is actually very faithful, with one exception as to why The doctor made a new creature. Doesn't even go too far off the fails.
  • All Just a Dream: The first two stories featuring Souichi Tsujii and his family (Secret of the Haunted Mansion and The Souchi Front) were established as being this (with the first story flat-out Retconned from the series canon). This is largely because the later stories involving the Tsujii family are mostly Lighter and Softer Black Comedies, in contrast to the outright horror and Gorn of the first two installments.
  • And I Must Scream: Many of his endings count as this.
  • Asshole Victim: Pretty much every character in Splatter Film.
  • Astral Projection: Possible subversion in Deadman Calling. The "ghost" of a criminal sentenced to death visits the home of his only living victims every night, begging for forgiveness. On the night when his sentence is carried out, the "ghost" stops appearing.
    • The Ghost of Golden Time centers on an unfunny stand-up duo becoming famous by astrally projecting to tickle the audience and make them all laugh hysterically. They also tickle the protagonist's friend to death because the protagonist could see spirits and guessed their secret.
  • Author Appeal: Hair and obsessions with beauty often appear in his works.
  • Bad Humor Truck: Ice Cream Bus. You are what you eat...
  • Bait and Switch: "The Town Without Streets". It begins with a girl dreaming about a boy, then he gets murdered, leading to her family becoming Properly Paranoid. Then halfway into the story, the girl finds herself in a town where houses are built over the streets.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: You can usually get a good idea of who's going to be a nice person/protagonist just by looking at them.
    • However, it is also equally obvious what the character is like if their "beauty" goes a tad over the top.
    • If a character's role in the story shifts at all, there's usually a corresponding shift in appearance. Compare Koichi (the balding man) on this page to a couple of pages later. Regaining one's sanity apparently makes you look a few years younger.
    • Inverted in Dying Young. Girls catch a disease which makes them extraordinarily pretty, but kills them soon after. A rumor is spread that killing another girl on a certain date will stave off death.
    • Downright subverted in Army of One (the short story at the end of Hellstar Remina), where the protagonist's crush was revealed to have stitched her parents together. Whether she became afflicted with the sewing madness by her loneliness and despair, or was one of the parties responsible for the incidents, is left unanswered.
    • Averted in Ice Cream Bus: The bus looks normal and the driver is handsome, but children are slowly turned into ice cream after they ride the bus.
    • Inverted in Memories: The protagonist has lost her memories of her childhood. Although beautiful, she has just one memory of herself with a hideous/deformed face, and is terrified of returning to that state. She eventually learns that her memory is of her twin sister, whom she murdered out of terror of becoming ugly like her sister.
    • Tomie is perhaps one of the biggest subversions of this trope. She is unbelievably beautiful and desirable but also vain, cold, cruel, selfish, chaotic, and enjoys tormenting people by making them become obsessed with her and then ignoring them.
  • Bee Bee Gun / Everything's Worse with Bees: The boy in Beehive who could control bees and used them to fend off hive robbers. Then, after the boy is killed and buried, they make a hive around the boy's head and start tending to him.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Subverted to Hell and back in Anything but a Ghost.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Bizarre Hikizuri Siblings.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Misaki in Anything But a Ghost, Shinobu in Back Alley, Satoko in Orphan Girl to name but a few. Tomie very often starts out as one of these.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Intersection Fortune Telling. Ryuusuke ultimately dies without protecting those he cares about or stopping the Intersection Pretty Boy, but the ending implies that he's actually become the Pretty Boy's Good Counterpart who can oppose him on his own level.
  • Black and White Morality: The Intersection Pretty Boy vs. the aptly-named White-clothed Pretty Boy AKA Ryuusuke in the Intersection Fortune Telling mini-arc.
  • Black Comedy: Creepy as they are, it soon becomes obvious that he's more interested in having fun with his stories than in treating them as matters of deadly seriousness. See also: Uzumaki's human jack-in-the-box and the continuing misadventures of Soichi Tsuji.
  • Body Horror: His work essentially runs on this trope.
    • In Hell'o Dollies, Doll's disease is turning children into dolls. And that's before things go From Bad to Worse.
    • To say nothing of Flesh-Colored Horror...when we see what Chikara's mother's idea of "beauty" is.
    • Uzumaki
    • The Enigma of Amigara Fault
    • Tomie runs on this. When you kill her, each part becomes a new Tomie. You get to watch her body slowly reform over the course of weeks. Also, the only way to kill Tomie is to burn her entirely. Any parts left are still alive and capable of speech!
  • Came Back Wrong: Soichi's grandfather in Coffin and Shibayama in The Supernatural Transfer Student
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Characters cheating on their wives/girlfriends will suffer horrific consequences as a result, such as Shigeru in Anything But a Ghost and Tomio in Shard of Evil (even though, in the latter case, it wasn't his fault and due to him being under a spell.)
  • The Chew Toy: Soichi Tsuji, the sinister, nail-eating villain of several short stories, tends to have his various evil schemes backfire on him in the most gruesome, humiliating manners possible, in marked contrast to the usual fate of an Ito antagonist.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: The titular Sword of the Reanimator always possesses its owner and makes them carry out its will, including Keiji after he acquires it.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: His stories hardly ever have a corporeal villain or a clear explanation for why horrible things are happening to people; instead, the source of everyone's misfortunes will be some unknowable, untouchable, faceless force like the spiral in Uzumaki or the titular enigmatic fault at Amigara.
  • Creepy Child: Especially Soichi and his potential son.
  • Creepy Twins: Soichi's Birthday gave Soichi an equally terrifying twin (whether a ghost or a conjured figment of his imagination isn't clear.)
  • Daddy's Girl: Akiko in Lingering Farewell is probably the best example. Miho in Heart of a Father was one until her father started turning against her.
  • Dead All Along: Furukawa in A Deserter in the House.
    • Lingering Farewell is based around a family that creates living "memories" of loved ones who have died, which linger for twenty years or so to give the family time to say goodbye, before disappearing forever. Yuka turns out to be such after having died from a childhood illness, as does Akiko, who was killed by a car on her wedding day and never knew she was dead throughout the story.
  • Death Glare: In the Valley of Mirrors
  • Determinator: The protagonist in Intersection Fortune Telling is The Atoner that accused as the devilish Intersection Pretty Boy who always give suicide-inducting advices, thus blamed for any death from the fortune telling, but nevertheless will do anything to catch the real deal. Not even being mobbed by a giant army of suicide ghosts and most definitely dead from the encounter stop him from continuing to oppose the Intersection Pretty Boy, becoming a Messianic Archetype in the process.
  • Disability Superpower: Because of a rare blood disorder, Souichi must have a constant supply of iron to live. He achieves this by feeding on carpenter's nails, which he also sticks between his teeth to bite people with, spits at enemies and hammers into voodoo dolls.
    • Souichi's Birthday implies that he used his curses to bring the condition upon himself. He didn't have it as a young child, and got his habit of carrying things in his mouth from his grandmother, who always had a toothpick in her mouth.
  • Downer Ending: The number of stories by him that don't end with the entire cast dead, Armageddon, or a combination of the two can be counted on one hand.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The Intersection Pretty Boy is based around girls being compelled to commit suicide after meeting a mysterious man at intersections.
    • The premise of Black Paradox is strange events happening after four people meet over the internet to arrange a group suicide.
    • Other examples include Yuina in Anything But a Ghost, Masao in Drifting Spores, Furukawa in A Deserter in the House and the father in Heart of a Father. Tomie's adoptive mother killed herself in one story although it's more likely Tomie possessed her to do it.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: The only difference between Ito's male and female protagonists, appearance wise, are that the guys sometimes have a longer face than the girls.
  • Dying Curse: The plot of The Will is based around this.
  • Ear Worm: A particularly malevolent in-universe version serves as the supernatural menace of the day in 'Songs In The Dark'.
  • The Eeyore: Piitan in Black Paradox (and subsequently the Piitan robot, even more so than the original.)
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: In Mold, Akasaka remembers that he was wary of the Rogi family because his dog growled at them while they were in his house.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: What many folks learn when they try to bend the various malignant forces in the stories to their own purposes. In Soichi's case, repeatedly.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: In The Will, the protagonist's "sister" turns out to be her cousin who was adopted by Hiroko's parents as a baby.
  • Fan Disservice: If there's nudity or skimpy clothing in his works, don't expect it to be played for titillation.
  • Grossout Show
  • Hikikomori: The main character in Army of One. Tomio became one in Futon
  • Hive Mind: A subversion in My Dear Ancestors. Risa's amnesia was caused by her seeing the scalps and brains of every member of Shuichi's family grafted to his father's head. The end implies that each one still actively thinks.
    • A main plot point of The Conversation Room.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Soichi, in almost every story.
    • In Back Alley, the girl whom Ishida was staying with turns out to have killed many of her classmates and buried them in the alley. At the end, she becomes trapped there and their ghosts advance on her.
    • Second-Hand Record is about a record which supernaturally compels people to listen to it, to the point of killing others to get it. At the beginning of the story, one of its victims kills her friend to get it back from her - and later dies herself when she is blockaded into an alleyway because she'd stashed her friend's body there.
    • Love As Scripted: A playboy makes a videotape for his girlfriend so that she won't feel bad after he dumps her. When he tries to break up with her, she stabs him in a frenzy, and then finds the tape he made for her. Unfortunately, she decides she prefers the tape to the real him, and finishes him off with a broken bottle rather than save his life.
    • Map Town: A couple are in a town where everyone magically loses the ability to navigate, forcing them to rely on maps everywhere. The husband is the only one unaffected by the curse. Later, he and his wife are pursued by a mob after stealing a treasure that was buried in the town. They destroy the maps so the townspeople can't find them - and then discover the curse has hit him, leaving them unable to find their way out of the town.
    • The Bronze Statue: A vain woman commissions several statues of herself from her ex-lover, a sculptor. She also has him kill the neighboring women who gossiped about her, by encasing them in concrete. After discovering that the body of her husband, whom she murdered, has turned into wax from being buried in a swamp, she comes up with a plan to drown herself and have the sculptor retrieve her and turn her into the most beautiful statue ever seen. Unfortunately, he dies just as he was going to fill the mold with liquid gold. Her conscious spirit remains trapped inside a plaster cast in a cellar forever.
  • Humanoid Abomination
  • I Ate What?
  • Idiot Ball: In Frankenstein, Henry Clerval is involved in the chance to make a female wretch... and then runs off on his own. Just like in the novel, he is killed by the wretch and Frankenstein is blamed for it.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Soichi's potential son.
    • And the mother of that son, who eventually eats Soichi for trying to run away from her.
    • Also all the customers at the Greasy Restaraunt, after Yui and her father kill her brother.
    • A weird subversion in Anything But A Ghost. Misaki doesn't eat people...she eats ghosts. And they bleed.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Soichi is genuinely nasty, mean-spirited, and all-around evil, but he's so bad at it that it's hard not to feel sorry for him all the same.
  • Lighter and Softer: Neko Nikki compared to the rest of his works.
    • Pretty much all of the works involving Soichi and the Tsujii family after the first two stories. The first two installments portrayed Soichi as an outright murderer with his family as a group of emaciated slaves, while the subsequent stories are mostly Black Comedies where nobody really dies and Soichi is more of a quirky neighborhood menace than an outright antagonist.
  • Living Statue: Inverted in The Earthbound, in which living people attach themselves to a certain spot, totally unmoving. Eventually, they turn to stone.
  • Love Before First Sight: Soichi for Ms. Fuchi, after seeing her in a magazine if the future with Binzo Tsujii is to be believed.
  • Monster Sob Story: To varying degrees. While the antagonists of his stories are often Eldritch Abominations or worse, there is the occasional antagonist who has more sympathetic motives.
    • For example, the father in Approval cruelly and repeatedly denies the hand of his daughter to a suitor because asking for his permission to marry is the only way that he can see his daughter's spirit.
    • The father in Heart Of a Father possesses his children's bodies against their will, forces both his sons to commit suicide, tries to do the same to his daughter and almost kills a boy who had pursued her romantically - but admits that he just wanted to be young and have fun again by living through them, as he missed out on his own youth.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Ms. Fuchi in Fashion Model. Binzo Tsujii, her possible future son with Soichi, has even more of them.
  • Murderous Mannequin: One short story was about an artist who made headless mannequins (though his reason was for people to appreciate the body-language, not the face). Then his creations came to life, began killing people, and placing the victims' heads on their necks. Yeah.
  • The Napoleon: Oshikiri in Hallucinations.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Souichi's grandmother, who appears once a year on his birthday and does not take kindly to anyone upsetting her beloved grandson.
  • New Media Are Evil: The Town Without Streets is a pretty blatant parable about the dangers of the internet.
  • New Transfer Student: The title character of The Supernatural Transfer Student is one.
    • Also features in The Dissolving Classroom.
  • Nightmare Face: The page image shows Binzo Tsujii with his demonic face. There are worse faces in most of his works.
    • The Adjacent Window. Hello, neighbor...
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Ito himself is a pretty clear example.
  • No Sense of Direction: In Map Town, the entire town of Shirube is cursed so its inhabitants have no sense of direction and are forced to rely on a complicated system of maps and signposts.
  • Older Than They Look: The ending of The Face Burglar implies this about Kamei.
  • Only Sane Man: A few of these, including Tsukiko in volume one of Tomie (and Yasuko in Tomie: Again). Koichi or Michina usually take the role in Soichi stories.
  • Only Six Faces: Particularly noticeable in his short stories. The character designs used for Kirie and Shuichi from Uzumaki appear all over the place with different hairstyles.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Murder Shot: This panel.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: The premise of Approval.
  • Perverse Puppet: Jean-Pierre in House of Puppets.
  • Playing Against Type: Neko Nikki compared to the rest of his works.
  • Planet Eater
  • Posthumous Narration: If there's any good in the world.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: See the list above? Yes, Junji Ito created a manga adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • Promoted To Parent: Kazuya Hikizuri. Haruhiko in House of the Marionettes seems to have been promoted to Natsumi's parent as well.
  • Pushover Parents: In Ice Cream Bus, it's a plot point that Sonohara is afraid to forbid Tomoki from riding the ice cream bus because Tomoki threatens to leave and go live with his mother instead.
    • Soichi Tsujii's parents often act this way, ostensibly because they see him as their youngest baby and don't believe he is a threat to anyone.
  • Rule of Scary: Applied liberally, in much the same way as other writers would use the Rule of Cool.
  • Self-Parody: Ito actually managed to draw a pet diary once. Needless to say, his fiancee wasn't amused when she became his signature scary woman with the Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Featured in one chapter of Uzumaki and in the short story In the Valley of Mirrors.
  • Surreal Horror
  • Tear Jerker: "The Gift Bearer" isn't particularly scary at all, and what little supernatural phenomena is present only serves to make the story more depressing.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A rather literal case of a cat biting back. Soichi curses the family cat, Colin, and lives to regret it.
    • Chikara from Flesh-Colored Horror gets back at his psycho mom by dissolving her skin suit with acid, dooming her to eventually mummify.
  • The Faceless: In Second-Hand Record, Paula Bell's face is never seen.
  • The Stars Are Going Out
  • Toilet Humor: One of his stories is titled A Shit to Remember. You can pretty much guess what it's going to be about.
  • Together in Death: An old man implied to be one of the main character's father who waiting for the illusion of his wife drowning in Roar of Ages, after thirty years of trying to save her phantom, finally jumps after her when she can't no longer hold his net.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Souichi is a plump, spoiled sadistic kid with awesome paranormal powers, usually employed to be little more than a pest and a nuisance with delusions of grandeur, always caught and punished by his family. However, in time with his powers increasing, he became a sharply dressed businessman, owner of an haunted mansion where he enacts his revenge over his cursed parents and siblings and keeps his cannibalistic son with a demoness. He's not actually any better at avoiding gruesome and humiliating consequences for forgetting that Evil Is Not a Toy, though — we're actually introduced to this version of Souichi before the child version, and those two stories kick off his long tradition of gruesome and humiliating defeats. But ...
    • All Just a Dream: The above turns out to be Soichi's dream as a child. And is yet another blow to him since it caused him to oversleep and miss out on playing outside.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Koichi Tsujii and his cousin Yuusuke look very alike, to the point where a girl with an unrequited crush on Yuusuke initially mistakes Koichi for him and faints on seeing Koichi.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Mold and Blood-Slurping Darkness have them.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Supernatural Transfer Student. As a zombie, Shibayama is constantly vomiting from his mouth.
  • Voodoo Doll: Soichi's in the habit of using them.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Mimi in Mimi's Ghost Stories.
  • With Friends Like These...: In Mimi's Ghost Stories, her friend Misa plots to kill her and shack up with Mimi's boyfriend.
  • World of Symbolism: Many of the reveals only make sense when taken metaphorically.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: If any chapter featuring Soichi seems to end with him happy and successful, it's the first part of a story that eventually ends badly for him.
  • You Are Worth Hell: In Den of the Sleep Demon, Mari's boyfriend Yuuji risks being turned inside out by a dream version of himself every time he falls asleep. When he finally passes out, Mari duct tapes her hand to his, hoping that it will keep him anchored and that his counterpart will not be able to crawl out of his mouth. It fails. When the counterpart's arm comes out of Yuuji's mouth, Mari finds herself being dragged in by the hand as he is turned inside out. Rather than try to free herself, she allows herself to be pulled in so she can stay with him.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Heart of a Father, the titular father is able to possess his children's bodies. He forced both his sons to commit suicide when he decided they weren't living up to his expectations, and later tries to do the same to his daughter, since his wife is pregnant again with her "replacement". Subverted, when you find out in the end, that his sons really did commit suicide by their own free will, and rushed to get his daughter and wife to stop leaving.

Johji ManabeMangakaJunya Inoue

alternative title(s): Junji Ito
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