Organized Panel Session
The Peony Lantern plot paradigm, featuring an amorous ghost who kills her lover, circulated transnationally in early modern Asia, originating in Qu You’s classical tale Jiandeng xinhua (1378). In Japan, the story resonated across time as it was appropriated in various media from popular fiction to medical texts, ukiyo-e, oral tales, theater and performances, and eventually films, and sound recordings. Our panel approaches the Peony Lantern as a site for transmedia storytelling and examines it in terms of plot, historical sites and monuments, images, sounds, and even types of affect. Fumiko Joo’s paper explores the layering of fiction and history in the ghostly temple sites referenced in Qu You’s “Peony Lantern,” set in Ningbo, China, and in Sanyūtei Enchō’s Kaidan botan dōrō, set in Tokyo, through the mid-Qing scholar Quan Zuwang and Irish-Greek writer Lafcadio Hearn. Clarence I-Zhuen Lee delves into popular medical writings of the long eighteenth century that discuss strange symptoms such as Rikon-byō (wandering spirit illness) and its connection to the Peony Lantern and other supernatural narratives. Laura Moretti considers the expansion and transformation of the Peony Lantern story world now reduced to visual objects in nineteenth-century popular illustrated fiction by Ryūtei Tanehiko as nodes forging links to other story paradigms. Finally, Satoko Shimazaki’s paper features a visual-auditory reading of Enchō’s Kaidan botan dōrō in the context of the late-Tokugawa embodied spectacle of kabuki, yose, and sideshows, considering Enchō’s performance independently from its significance as a shorthand book.