1. Junji Ito
Junji Ito does not need any introductions. The ever-popular mangaka reached international fame with its horror stories filled with psychological dread and heavily detailed visuals. Ito’s masterpiece is undoubtedly Uzumaki, a paranormal story about a curse linked to a mysterious spiral shape that naturally occurs in every day life… yes, a spiral. In Junji Ito’s horror, darkness can be found about anywhere, from holes to fish to chairs. It’s the use of this mundane elements with a paranormal, bloody twist that makes his works so creepily unsettling.
2. Kazuo Umezu
Kazuo Umezu’s popularity in Japan surpasses that of Junji Ito, despite the author not being as well-known outside of the country (possibly due to his most influential works being published back in the 70s, when manga were not as popular in the western world). Works such as God’s Left Hand, Devils’ Right Hand are masterpieces of horror filled with violent, bloody imagery straight off a nightmare.
3. Masaaki Nakayama
Nakayama plays heavily on the trope of the uncanny valley by distorting the human form and filling its stories with visually unsettling characters.
4. Hitoshi Iwaaki
Hitohi Iwaaki is best known for having created the horror-science fiction series Kiseiju / Parasyte , who won the 17th Kodansha Manga Award in 1993. It’s the story of an alien invasion by parasitic worm-like creatures that take control over their host’s brain by entering thorugh their ears or nose, and the fight for survival of a high-schooler who accidentally has one these parasites living in his right arm.