A word of warning… most of these books are really unsettling, but also pretty difficult to get a hold of. Only those with strong hearts should google each of these horror manga to read more about them and find translations of the stories online.
1. The Enigma of Amigara Fault by Junji Ito
Thousands of human-sized holes appear in the side of a mountain following an earthquake. It doesn’t take long for people to find holes that match them perfectly, and everyone who finds their hole becomes obsessed crawling in and being swallowed up by the mountain. What happens next will give you nightmares for weeks.
2. Homunculus by Hideo Yamamoto
3. Uzumaki by Junji Ito
4. Kouishou Radio by Nakayama Masaaki
5. Dragon Head by Mochizuki Minetaro
A train full of students derails in a tunnel during an earthquake. The few young survivors need to try to maintain their sanity as they find a way out, away from the wrecked train filled with the rotting remains of their classmates. But the world they’re trying to make their way back out to is not the same one they left behind.
6. Human Chair by Edogawa Ranpo and Junji Ito
Exactly what it sounds like. A short story about a chair that holds a dark secret. (It’s a person. It holds a person.)
7. Gyo by Junji Ito
Fish, sharks, whales and other sea-dwelling creatures grow spider legs and begin invading the land, which is somehow THE LEAST STRANGE AND REPULSIVE THING TO HAPPEN IN THIS STORY.
8. Jisatsu Circle by Furuya Usamaru
This series starts with 54 young women gleefully jumping in front of a train together and committing suicide… except for the one girl who manages to survive the incident unscathed, who then becomes obsessed with death and finishing what she started at the beginning of the series.
9. Emerging by Hokazono Masaya
A business man comes down with a mysterious illness and erupts in an explosion of blood in the middle of a busy Tokyo intersection, coating everyone nearby in blood and viscera. Before long, the illness begins to spreading faster than everyone in the sanitized city can handle.
10. Fasting by Umezu Kazuo and Hisashi Eguchi
A truly upsetting short story of a young girl who develops an eating disorder. As the pounds fall off, she gains the attention of the boy she’s always had a crush on… as well as an uncontrollable hunger.
11. Dokumushi Kozou by Hideshi Hino
12. Heads by Keigo Higashino and Motoro Mase
After getting shot in the head, Naruse Jun'ichi receives a brain transplant, and makes a miraculous recovery. But it isn’t too long before he finds himself repulsed by his girlfriend’s freckles, which he once loved. Then his whole life begins to change as the donor brain starts to take control.
13. Fuan no Tane by Masaaki Nakayama
A series of short ghost stories full of the sort of blank-faced, wide-eyed spirits you might expect if you’re familiar with Japanese horror films like Ju-On. The stories in this series are sometimes a little more light and sometimes a little more humorous than other horror manga on this list, but will still fill you with dread.