This week, I decided to turn back to one of my favorite stories…. The Human Chair by Edogawa Rampo. This short story is anything but gory or overly horrifying. Rather, I would like to describe this story as creepy. It was adapted into a movie by Toshiyuki Mizutani and into a manga by Junji Ito (from which comes the cover art).
This story can leave you wondering if the occurrences took place as stated or if it really was what the story says it is. I’ll leave you readers to decide….
So, let’s jump in with a little summary (a poorly written one by yours truly)! For those of you who want to read it for yourselves, there will be some SPOILERS, so stop now! You can purchase Edogawa Rampo’s works (including The Human Chair) here.
The story starts with a famous authoress reading fan letters. She comes across one particular letter, which could be described as a “strangely gruesome narrative.” The letter is from a stranger who begins by stating that he bares an absurd ugliness and that the ugliness is keeping him from his dream: a life of luxury. The stranger is a master craftsman of chairs and becomes attached to one of his finest pieces of work. That chair was to be sent to a luxury hotel. An idea appears in his head and he decides to build a compartment inside said chair, where he could live and steal from the hotel. This compartment comes with a peephole, better acoustics, and an area where he could relieve himself.
At first, his motives proved beneficial because he managed to steal a small fortune (which caused the hotel to have money problems and eventually sell his chair) but he discovered his love of having people sit on him… especially those of the female sex (you know where this is going). He stayed at the hotel, inside his chair, for several months before being sold to a Japanese family. His chair was placed in a study where the house’s missus normally frequented. The stranger fell head-over-heels for this lady and he tried his hardest to be the best chair he could be for her.
Eventually the stranger could not bare his emotions any longer and begged to meet with the young lady… the authoress reading this letter. The lady was horrified (as any normal person would be). According to the rest of the letter, the stranger would be roaming near her house until she gave him the okay to come inside by placing a handkerchief on a flowerpot.
What happens next, I will leave for you readers to discover! Please check out the rest of this short story and let us know what you thought of it down in the comments! You can also let us know by commenting on our Facebook page!
And remember, there is a whole plethora of wonderful stories out there, waiting to be discovered by you! Dive right in! You never know where that adventure might take you!
This Blog Posting was approved by Hagar (office cat extraordinaire).
Itō Junji, et al. Venus in the Blind Spot. VIZ Media, LLC, 2020.
Rimer, J. Thomas., and Van C. Gessel. The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature. Columbia University Press, 2011.