Ono Fuyumi Long Interview Part 3: Rewriting Ghost Hunt

This is the last part of the interview with Ono Fuyumi from Da Vinci‘s December 2010 issue, in which Ono talks about rewriting the original Ghost Hunt series. Please go to part one “The Ghost Hunt Series Reprint” to read the interview from the beginning.

Ono Fuyumi on rewriting Ghost Hunt.

Now it’s 2010. Approximately 18 years have passed since the completion of the series, and Shibuya Psychic Research returns in front of us. Though the fully rewritten edition keeps the atmosphere of the old series, it will also be able to put up with the aesthetic senses of adult readers. It will be finished into a long horror novel of extremely high quality.

Of course, I altered the writing style, but the vignettes and the composition were changed quite a bit as well. Due to the circumstances with the pages back in the day, I was only able to change the story once. In principle, the story should have been made to change once or twice. This time, I was finally able to write it how it should have been.

Ono Fuyumi's library
Left: A book collection with a high quantity of books in the basement’s archive. Right: Literature on legends and occult in a bookshelf.
As a result, you filled the vignettes in down to the details, and you also increased the fear factor exceptionally as a horror novel.

When I reread it again, I realized that I didn’t write that many scary scenes in the old edition. Rather than increasing the scary scenes, I had a feeling of giving importance to the scariness of the content itself. I think my writing style changed in that regard as time passed.

You also worked on shifting the period setting of the narrative by several years, taking the current readers into account.

There were several words that were difficult to introduce remained from the old edition, showed up. For example, “West Germany”[ref]Ono changed “West Germany” in the original to “Germany” in the rewrite (p. 47).[/ref]. There’s no point in leaving in a part like that, so I shifted the time setting of the narrative in an unaffected manner as much as possible. I haven’t established what year it is, but personally I think it takes place before 1995. Because I feel like the borders of reality have greatly changed because of the Great Hanshin Earthquake and the Aum Shinrikyo incident after that. But this has nothing to do with the readers, so I’d appreciate if you could assume it takes place vaguely before the popularization of mobile telephones.

Couryard, feeding station, and a collection of obi.
Left: The courtyard is visible from the living room. Right: Wild birds visit the feeding station daily in the garden. Bottom: A collection of rare youkai-patterned obi.
You were roughly completing the rewrite work at an earlier point of time. Just after that, it carried on a serial publication starting from November 19. When it comes to the developments that follow beyond that, anyone would probably be curious. I wonder if there’s a chance that you will write a sequel of the series hereafter?

My love for the series itself is deep even now. What I find very tough to abandon in particular, is the setting of assembling a team of spiritualists who vary in their fields of expertise. The way of attaching a conclusion in horror is incredibly difficult, but with this setting I can attempt many variations. It’s most suitable for writing a serial horror. If I had the opportunity from now on too, I would like to try writing a new non-serial work, I think. I can think as much as I’d like to, but I am slow at writing… (lol).

Ono-san currently has a work titled Kidan Soushi serialized in the ghost story specialized magazine Yuu. Were you aware of the fact that there is a deep connection between this work and the Ghost Hunt series? In this work Ono-san reorganized and wrote the vast amount of stories of personal horror stories which she received from her readers while she was writing the old series. The social exchanges of Ono-san and the fans in those days, continues furthermore in a shape like this today.

Speaking of the numbers, there may be several hundreds, but perhaps more. At any rate, I gathered many ghost stories. I thought, there’s no point if I leave them piled up like this. I had to sort them precisely in some form. The ghost stories I received, even the ones I didn’t use in Kidan Soushi, are all digitalized and carefully stored. It’s a treasure of a lifetime.

Ono Fuyumi's cat
At the end of the interview, one of her pet cats shows up.
Great works are timeless. I always desire for as many new readers as possible to appear, and will have a happy meeting with the Ghost Hunt series on the occasion of this reprint. Lastly, please pass a message to the readers.

You’ve waited a long time, but I can at last send you this work. Although it’s a horror, it’s a work you can read cheerfully. So please read it without prejudice. With this as a start, I would be happy if it makes you think that ‘horror isn’t bad either’.

Ono Fuyumi

Born in Oita Prefecture. She was a member of the Kyoto University Mystery Club while enrolled in Otani University. Her writer’s debut was in 1988. Among her literary works are Shadow of the Moon, Sea of the Shadow; Sea of the Wind, Shore of the Labyrinth of The Twelve Kingdoms series, and Sugiru Juunana no Haru, Toukei Ibun, Shiki, Kokushi no Shima, Kura no Kami, and others. Currently, her work Kidan Soushi[ref]As of 2012, these stories are published in the book Kidan Hyakkei.[/ref], inspired by letters from readers, is serialized in the ghost story magazine Yuu.



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