Tracing Terror-Bytes: Ring: Saishusho as Japanese TV horror, Online Transcultural J-horror Fan Object, and Digital Only-Click Television

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Whilst extensive academic research has focused on the Japanese horror Ringu as a transmedia franchise (Lacefield 2010:3), its televisual iteration Ring: Saishusho (1999) has received minimal attention. Addressing this, the chapter begins by analysing the series specifically as J-horror TV, arguing that the franchise’s central iconography, TV screens, hold additional uncanny synchronicity that other Ringu texts do not so readily offer. Resultantly, whilst reinforcing the franchise’s ‘virtual Gothic’ discourse (Tomlinson 2010:177), the utilisation of Gothic suggestive horror, episodic structuring, and heightened use of melodrama central to Japanese television dramas, Saishusho is resolutely TV horror about TV horror.
The chapter then analyses how Saishusho is discussed on the Snowblood Apple online forum. Unlike transcultural fans ‘reading-for-cultural-difference’ that champion the rich textual quality of the film Ringu in comparison to its Western remake (Hills 2005:168), discourse centres on the rareness and novelty of J-horror TV. Moreover, discussions arise during the ‘mainstreaming’ of J-horror by the flurry of Hollywood remakes. Thus, the chapter argues Saishusho serves part of an archival function, allowing fans to find and discuss earlier ‘authentic’ J-horror texts during times of ontological insecurity perpetuated by new ‘inauthentic’ Western versions. Moreover, the chapter’s audience-based approach provides empirical data often neglected in studies of J-horror media (Pett 2017).
Finally, the chapter explores how Saishusho is kept in transnational circulation via individuals uploading the series to YouTube and the value this serves the fan community, through what I am conceptualising as ‘Only-Click’ TV: broadcast television solely available online via digital, often illicit, means. Furthermore, despite circulating within a post-TV climate (Lotz 2014:35), Saishusho maintains its televisual structural qualities via fans uploading episodically. Consequently, the chapter demonstrates how Only-Click offers a useful model for exploring (in)formal media ecologies and transcultural audiences’ consumption practices of global TV horror within a twenty first century context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal TV Horror
EditorsStacey Abbott, Lorna Jowett
PublisherUniversity of Wales Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1786836960, 978-1786836977, 978-1786836953
ISBN (Print)978-1786836946
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • horror
  • horror studies
  • horror film
  • Japan
  • post-TV
  • Digital Media
  • Fandom
  • Television
  • informal media ecologies
  • transcultural
  • ghost story


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