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Manga Reading Recommendations

Your Guide To Junji Ito: The Master Of Horror Manga

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You can’t talk about horror manga without mentioning Junji Ito. He’s a modern master. Since 1987, he’s been disturbing readers with short and long-form stories that blend several subgenres, such as psychological and body horror.

While many horror creators are coming out of Japan, Junji Ito has risen to the top due to his imaginative scenarios and over-the-top imagery. If you’re familiar with his name, then you’ve probably seen some of his art online and know what I’m talking about. If not, you’re simultaneously in for a shock and a treat.

This guide acts as a basic introduction to the horror master. It lists all his works available in English and gives a brief overview. This is handy for anyone who wants to start reading Junji Ito’s works or wants to track down a specific short story.

What kind of horror is Junji Ito’s work?

Junji Ito blends different styles of horror together, often combing them with other genres.

Body horror is what he’s most known for. The result is all kinds of terrifying body contortions – as made famous in works such as Uzumaki and Shiver. It’s often this imagery that circulates online and has brought in readers.

Psychological horror is also prevalent throughout his work. Characters will often be tormented by supernatural forces or driven mad by a compulsion. Ito will amplify these scenarios through his method of illustrating eyes, often up close and with extreme intensity.

Other subgenres featured in his work include creature features and cosmic horror. These and other varieties of horror can be found alongside science fiction and folklore.

Who publishes Junji Ito’s work?

The majority of Junji Ito’s work in the English-speaking world is published by Viz Signature, an imprint of Viz Media. However, there are two books (Dissolving Classroom and Junji Ito’s Cat Diary) that are published Kodansha Comics.

The now defunct ComicsOne published some of Junji Ito’s early work. However, these editions are hard to come by and it’s likely that you won’t encounter these.

Where can I find Junji Ito manga?

Junji Ito’s books can be found at all good comic book shops, online retailers, Amazon/Kindle, eBay, and book stores. A library near you may also include his books in their collection.

Find out more about where you can find comics with this extensive guide.

What Junji Ito books are available?

Take a look below to find out which Junji Ito manga has been translated in English.

Tomie cover by Junji Ito.
Tomie cover by Junji Ito.

Tomie

This is a collection of stories that centre around the central character of Tomie. She is a femme fatale who can seduce nearly any man and drive them to murder. With a mix of psychological horror and the supernatural, each story tells of her seducing a man and its aftermath.

Tomie was Junji Ito’s first major work, originally published in Japan between 1987 and 2000. In 1989, he won the Kazuo Umezu Prize.

The series was first published in three trade paperback volumes. First by ComicsOne (now defunct) and then by Viz Media. An all-in-one hardcover was later published by Viz Signature (an imprint of Viz Media) and is the easiest version to find now.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Fragments of Horror cover by Junji Ito.
Fragments of Horror cover by Junji Ito.

Fragments of Horror

Published by Viz Signature.

Fragments of Horror is a short story collection that features the following stories:

  • Futon
  • Wooden Spirit
  • Tomio/Red Turtleneck
  • Gentle Goodbye
  • Dissection-chan
  • Blackbird
  • Magami Nanakuse
  • Whispering Woman

Many of these stories have been adapted as part of the 2018 Junji Ito Collection anime anthology series.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Shiver: Junji Ito Selected Stories cover by Junji Ito.
Shiver: Junji Ito Selected Stories cover by Junji Ito.

Shiver: Junji Ito Selected Stories

Published by Viz Signature.

Shiver: Junji Ito Selected Stories is a short story collection that is currated by Junji Ito himself. In my opinion, this is the best of the short story collections.

It features the following stories.

  • Used Record
  • Shiver
  • Fashion Model
  • Hanging Blimp
  • Marionette Mansion
  • Painter
  • The Long Dream
  • Honored Ancestors
  • Greased
  • Fashion Model: Cursed Frame

Many of these stories have been adapted as part of the 2018 Junji Ito Collection anime anthology series.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.
Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.

Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection

Published by Viz Signature.

This book contains an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and a number of short stories. These include:

  • Frankenstein
  • Neck Specter
  • Bog of Living Spirits
  • Pen Pal
  • Intruder
  • The Strange Tale of Oshikiri
  • The Strange Tale of Oshikiri: The Walls
  • The Hell of the Doll Funeral
  • Face Firmly in Place
  • Boss No-non
  • Hide-and-Seek with Boss Non-non

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Gyo hardcover cover by Junji Ito.
Gyo hardcover cover by Junji Ito.

Gyo

Published by Viz Signature.

What if fish had legs and started walking out of the ocean? This long-form story details what happens when the fish invade the land and begin to cause havoc. After a while, the tale evolves from a creature feature to incorporate body horror and nauseating artwork.

The series was inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. In an interview, Ito mentioned, “He masterfully captured the essence of fear in the form of a man-eating shark. I thought it would be even greater to capture that fear in a man-eating shark that goes on land as well as sea.”

Gyo is accompanied by two short stories – The Sad Tale of the Principal Post and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. The latter is one of Junji Ito’s best-known short stories and tells of a cliff face with human-shaped holes. People are compelled, to the point of obsession, to go in them when they realise they perfectly match them.

Gyo was initially published in two trade paperback volumes but is now easier to find as a single hardcover.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Uzumaki hardcover by Junji Ito.
Uzumaki hardcover by Junji Ito.

Uzumaki

Published by Viz Signature.

Uzumaki is Junji Ito’s most famous work. Sinister spirals have begun to appear everywhere in a small town. These spirals drive strange obsessions to the point that it ruins their life. Other instances show spiral-themed horrors, which incorporate a variety of terrifying and creative body contortions.

A long-delayed four-part animated miniseries will be produced in 2023 in conjunction with Toonami and IG Production.

Uzumaki was originally published as three trade paperback collection but is now more widely available as a single hardcover.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Dissolving Classroom cover by Junji Ito cover.
Dissolving Classroom cover by Junji Ito cover.

Dissolving Classroom

Published by Vertical Comics/Kodansha Comics.

This is a short story collection which revolves around a pair of siblings who cause chaos everywhere they go.

  • Dissolving Classroom
  • Dissolving Beauty
  • Dissolving Apartment
  • Chizumi in Love
  • Interview with the Devil
  • The Return
  • Children of the Earth

Kodansha Comics released a special edition of Dissolving Classroom in 2022.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & Mu cover by Junji Ito.
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu cover by Junji Ito.

Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu

Published by Vertical Comics/Kodansha.

Junji Ito has dabbled in other genres too. Most notable is Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu.

These diary-style comics explore his relationship with his cats, with all kinds of silly misadventures. Many of the story techniques Ito uses for his horror comics are flipped on their head and played as humour.

Check this comic out if you need a palate cleanser after reading Junji Ito’s horror stories.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.
Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.

Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection

Published by Viz Signature.

This short story collection features the following tales:

  • Bloodsucking Darkness
  • Ghosts of Prime Time
  • Roar
  • Earthbound
  • Death Row Doorbell
  • The Mystery of the Haunted House
  • The Mystery of the Haunted House: Soichi’s Version
  • Soichi’s Beloved Pet
  • In Mirror Valley
  • I Don’t Want to Be a Ghost
  • Library Vision
  • Splendid Shadow Song
  • Smashed

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

No Longer Human cover by Junji Ito.
No Longer Human cover by Junji Ito.

No Longer Human

Published by Viz Signature.

No Longer Human is a manga adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s novel of the same name.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Venus in the Blind Spot cover by Junji Ito.
Venus in the Blind Spot cover by Junji Ito.

Venus in the Blind Spot

Published by Viz Signature.

Venus in the Blind Spot is a short story collection, which features new and previously published tales.

  • Billions Alone
  • The Human Chair
  • An Unearthly Love
  • Venus in the Blind Spot
  • The Licking Woman
  • Master Umezz and Me
  • How Love Came to Professor Kirida
  • The Enigma of Amigara Fault
  • The Sad Tale of the Principal Post
  • Keepsake

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Remina cover by Junji Ito.
Remina cover by Junji Ito.

Remina

Published by Viz Signature.

Remina is a science fiction horror, where a newly discovered planet has emerged from a wormhole. While it’s a huge discovery, things turn to despair when scientists realise that the planet is on a crash course with Earth, eliminating other planets in its path.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.
Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.

Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection

Published by Viz Signature.

This is a collection of short stories that were originally created in the mid 1990s. These include:

  • The Beautiful Boy at the Crossroads
  • A Woman in Distress
  • Shadow
  • Screams in the Night
  • The Boy in White
  • Narumi’s Boyfriend
  • The Seance
  • The Mansion of Phantom Pain
  • The Rib Woman
  • Memories of Real Poop

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Sensor cover by Junji Ito.
Sensor cover by Junji Ito.

Sensor

Published by Viz Signature.

Originally published as Travelogue of the Succubus, Sensor is Junji Ito’s take on cosmic horror. It involves cults, a omnipotent being, and more familiar elements of Ito’s work like body horror and obsession.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.
Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection cover by Junji Ito.

Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection

Published by Viz Signature.

This is a collection of some of Junji Ito’s earliest works. Stories featured include:

  • Bio House
  • Face Thief
  • Where the Sandman Lives
  • The Devil’s Logic
  • The Long Hair in the Attic
  • Scripted Love
  • The Reanimator’s Sword
  • A Father’s Love
  • Unendurable Labyrinth
  • Village of the Siren
  • Bullied
  • Deserter

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

The Liminal Zone cover by Junji Ito.
The Liminal Zone cover by Junji Ito.

The Liminal Zone

Published by Viz Signature.

The Liminal Zone is a story collection that features four tales. Unlike other collections, the stories featured in this one are much longer than other books.

  • The Weeping Woman Way
  • Madonna
  • The Spirit Flow of Aokigahara
  • Slumber

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Black Paradox cover by Junji Ito.
Black Paradox cover by Junji Ito.

Black Paradox

Published by Viz Signature.

This series focuses on four people who meet on the suicide website Black Paradox. Each person goes in search for the perfect death, which opens themselves to a truly bizarre experience.

Black Paradox contains a bonus story called Strange Pavilion.

Buy: eBay | Amazon/Kindle

Tombs: Junji Ito Story Collection

Published by Viz Signature.

This is an upcoming collection of short stories. The stories that will be collected are:

  • Gravetown
  • Clubhouse
  • Slug Girl
  • The Window Next Door
  • Thing That Drifted Ashore
  • The Story of the Mysterious Tunnel
  • Bronze Statue
  • Drifting Spores
  • Blood Sickness of the White Sands Village

Tombs: Junji Ito Story Collection is available from 28th March.

Buy: Amazon/Kindle

Which Junji Ito book should I read first?

It’s totally up to you! Each one is self-contained, which means you can pick up any of them and get a self-contained story. Read any of the ones that appeal to you or pick one randomly.

Alternatively, you could start with some of the best-known stories, such as UzumakiTomie, and the Shiver short story collection and then branch off from there.

Will there be more Junji Ito stories?

Yes. Junji Ito is still active as a creator. As a result, there will be future works and it’s likely that an English-language publisher will pick these up.

Other Junji Ito books

Need more Junji Ito in your life? You can also get the following books that incorporate his art.

The Art of Junji Ito: Twisted Visions cover by Junji Ito.
The Art of Junji Ito: Twisted Visions cover by Junji Ito.

The Art of Junji Ito: Twisted Visions

Are you drawn to Junji Ito for his detailed and terrifying imagery? This art book could be for you. It’s a nice hardcover that spotlights a number of his wilder pages and panels, along with other spectacular and creepy images.

Uzumaki Colouring Book

Colour in the art of Junji Ito’s most famous work, Uzumaki.

Which stories have you read?

Which Junji Ito stories are your favourite? Share you thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook, Twitter, or Mastodon.

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