人間椅子 Reading Club (unscheduled) 🪑

:chair: Welcome to 人間椅子 :jack_o_lantern:



This will be an unofficial and unscheduled reading club for the short story 人間椅子 by 江戸川 乱歩. It was first published in October 1925 and it is considered one of his creepiest stories.

Because of that, I chose it as my Halloween read and plan to read it in its entirety on the day :jack_o_lantern: (at 32 pages, it should be doable). However, it goes without saying that anyone can join at any time. Feel free to post questions and thoughts whenever - just remember to use spoiler tags!

Where to get it (free)

Aozora | Amazon | Bookwalker

There’s also a reading on YouTube and an Audible audiobook.

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for important events as we will read the whole story in this one thread and people will be reading at different times.
  • When asking for help, please (roughly) mention the page number or percentage. It might also be helpful to mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun!

Members List

Are you planning to read 人間椅子?

  • Yes
  • Not sure
  • No

0 voters

If yes, what is your current reading status? (Feel free to update your status at any time)

  • I haven’t started reading the story yet
  • I am currently reading the story
  • I have finished the story
  • I am no longer reading the story

0 voters

Happy reading everyone! :books:


Something short and creepy for Halloween sounds fun, I’m in.
I know absolutely nothing about the story yet, those covers sure look… interesting :joy:


Sounds fun!

After reading the Junji Ito version I’ve always been interested in reading the original, so this sounds like a good reason to give it a try :chair:


Wow, book’s almost 100 years old!


Ahhh I loved this story it’s so fun! I hope you all enjoy it! If it interests you there are some creepily voiced read alouds (朗読) of it on YouTube since it’s out of copyright!


Sure, why not! Free and short, sounds like a fun little project :slight_smile: .


Does even a short description about the story exist somewhere? I’m not into horror stories, but I wanted to see if this might be something I’d want to read/can tolerate. xD


Is the wikipedia あらすじ to your liking?人間椅子 (江戸川乱歩) - Wikipedia
Or is that too spoilery?


I can provide a very quick one from memory.

Non-spoilery summary

An author receives and reads an unusual and unsettling letter from a chairmaker.

Spoiler-y summary

General contents: It does not involve the supernatural and what happens isn’t intense in terms of standard horror elements/plot, but the descriptions are extremely creepy and unsettling. (in an exaggerated and grotesque way, not a ‘this could happen’ way)
Slightly more specific content description / warning: Involves detailed descriptions of personal space and privacy being profoundly violated without the victims being aware of it.
Fully specific description: Involves a first-person account from a man who describes building and secretly living inside of an armchair, enjoying the sensation of people unknowingly sitting in it.


Thank you, @downtimes and @rodan! I was surprised to find nothing at the two buyer sites, so thanks for providing links and your own ones. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

This weekend is plenty busy, and I have a few other things before it in the queue, but I might just try to read this as an experiment. :slight_smile:


Sounds interesting! It seems far beyond my level from the gradings on Natively, but seeing as it’s short and also free, I’m tempted to give it a go :eyes:


Just trying to get a feel for how long this is. It looks like maybe 50 pages on Amazon. Does anyone have a physical copy for scale?


Amazon says it’s 32 pages physical, is that what you are looking for?


Thank you, yep!


Also, I have the “江戸川乱歩ベストセレクション” edition with the flower on the cover, and in that the story starts on page 7 and ends on page 31 for 25 (bunko) pages of actual text.
(the pages are quite dense though, for what that’s worth, as it is low in dialogue and high in Ranpo-ish description)


I’ve been sent here by cat over on the Natively forums, glad to have this excuse to finally read my first 江戸川乱歩 story! (Fun to poke my head out on the WK forums again too.) I’ll hopefully get a chance to read it later today, and report back once I have.

I know nothing about the plot but I can only assume it’s basically this


:wave: It’s me!

I’m so excited so many people are going to read my favorite 乱歩 short story :heavy_heart_exclamation:


Aha, I wondered! didn’t want to accidentally tag a different cat though :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Also, I finished the story! I followed this 朗読 video, which is really nice because it has the text on screen as well. Also had the Aozora text open to do quick lookups, and paused quite often to do that. Pro tip: 凭れ(もたれ) means the backrest of a chair. That was a rough one to look up, seems like 背もたれ is the normal version now.

Spoilers in here

This was a great story, just the right amount of creepiness. I feel like I should have read it in a big armchair rather than at my desk for the full effect though!

The descriptions are so vivid, I half wondered if 乱歩 had actually closed himself in an armchair— and it turns out, according to the Wikipedia article, he did. Now that’s dedication to good storytelling! I always like reading wiki articles about classic works like this after finishing them, because they usually have good background information, and that’s no exception here. It’s pretty short so I’d recommend everyone check out the 執筆背景 section if you want to know more.

I also feel like I have a strange connection to this story, because in about 3rd grade we had a big and cheap (i.e. hollow) pullout couch at my house that I realized I could hide inside to scare my friends or parents by knocking on the inside or yelling as soon as they got comfortable. I don’t think assassination or romance ever crossed my mind, and I was never in there for more than about 5 minutes, but… he just like me fr.

In summary, this was a delightfully uncomfortable hour+ of my life well spent.

Looking forward to hearing everyone else’s thoughts after reading!


Oh that’s a great idea! I usually read the reviews on BookMeter after I finish something, but never thought to check the wiki.

:joy: I can picture this perfectly, I’d probably have done the same if I had the opportunity!


I’m only 10% in but I want to check my comprehension. Is the chair guy asking her to keep reading to the end and repeating about how detached he is from the world/humanity?