Cover image for Kwaidan
Wakatsuki, Shigeru, 1914-
RSDL dual-layer ed.; widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio).
Publication Information:
[Irvington, N.Y.] : Criterion Collection, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 videodisc (161 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
Consists of four stories of the supernatural based on Japanese folk material. In The black hair, a poor young samurai leaves his first wife to marry a rich woman. When he is unhappy in his second marriage, he returns to his first wife, who at first appears unchanged from when he last saw her. In The woman of the snow, a woodcutter is spared by a mysterious ghost-like woman in the snow, but must promise never to tell anyone what he has seen. In Hoichi, the earless, a blind musician-monk named Hoichi is commanded by a gathering of ghosts to sing the saga of their ancient deeds. The head monk paints Hoichi's body with prayer verses to protect him, but unfortunately overlooks Hoichi's ears. In In a cup of tea, a writer wonders what would happen to a person who drinks another's soul and finds out.
General Note:
Based on the writings of folklorist Lafcadio Hearn (aka: Yakumo Koizumi).

Originally produced as a motion picture in 1965.

"Enhanced for 16x9 televisions" -- Container.

Special features: original theatrical trailer (in Japanese with English subtitles); color bars.

Program notes on container insert include an essay by film critic David Ehrenstein.
Black hair -- Woman of the snow -- Hoichi, the earless -- In a cup of tea.
Added Title:

Black hair.


Woman of the snow.

Mimi nashi Hoichi no hanashi.

Hoichi, the earless.

Chawan no naka.

In a cup of tea.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 65930 Adult DVD Media Room-Foreign Language Video

On Order



Kwaidan is an impressively mounted anthology horror film based on four stories by Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-born writer who began his career in the United States at the age of 19 and moved permanently to Japan in 1890 at the age of 40, where he eventually became a subject of the empire and took on the name Koizumi Yakuno. Hearn became a conduit of Japanese culture to western audiences, publishing journalism and then fiction incorporating traditional Japanese themes and characters. "Black Hair," the first tale, concerns a samurai who cannot support his wife; he leaves her for a life of wealth and ease with a princess. Returning years later, he spends the night with his wife in their now-dilapidated house, only to awake to a horrifying discovery which drives him insane. In "The Woman of the Snow" (deleted from U.S. theatrical prints after the film's Los Angeles opening; it is on the DVD version), two woodcutters seek refuge during a snowstorm in what appears to be an abandoned hut. A snow witch appears and kills one of them but lets his partner free. Years later, the survivor meets and married a lovely young woman, only to learn her true identity. The most visually impressive tale is "Hoichi the Earless," in which a blind musician is asked by the ghost of a samurai to play for his late infant lord at a tomb. The monks who house the musician cover him with tattoos to prevent any harm coming to him, but they forget his ears. He returns from the engagement with his ears cut off; however, his misadventure propels him to fame. "In a Cup of Tea" concerns a samurai who is haunted by the vision of a man he sees reflected in his tea. Even after he drinks from the cup, he still sees the man while on guard duty. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi