The Human Chair


"The Human Chair" (人間椅子, 1925) by Edogawa Rampo isn't so much a scary tale as it is a deviant's disturbing fantasy come to life. An ugly furniture maker crafts a chair into which he can slip to sit unbeknownst to those (mostly women) sitting atop him. You can hear the wheels turning in Rampo's head as you read this; everything you might want to know about holing up in a chair is covered here. It's a fun story written in a serious tone. It also embraces that typically Japanese form of horror that's rooted half in the quotidian and half in the frightfully bizarre. Put another way, Eugene Thacker, writing for The Japan Times, described it as "exemplary of a particular trope in Japanese horror where an innocuous, everyday event sends a character chasing a single idea — methodically, bit by bit — to its logical and terrifying conclusion."

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