Creepy Japanese urban legends

Having just returned back from Japan (apologies for the lack of posts) I realised how big Halloween in Japan actually is! Every shop, museum, library, gallery, departments stores all around Japan had a Halloween theme going! I thought I’d share some popular Japanese creepy urban legends…

Her name means “the woman with a split mouth”. If you are going somewhere late at night by yourself she may jump out at the corner of the street. You can’t run away from her because she can teleport herself in front of you. She can be seen wearing a surgical mask and a trench coat. The woman will ask you “Am I pretty?” if you say no, she will chop your head off with a big pair of hedge trimmers. It your answer is yes, the woman pulls away the mask, revealing that her mouth is slit from ear to ear, and asks “How about now?” If your answer is no, you will be cut in half. If you say yes, then she will slit your mouth like hers!!

Hitobashira or “Human PIllars” in English. In ancient Japan, people believed that sealing human being in the construction would make it stronger and stable. By sealing people in the pillars and in the walls they made sacrifices to the gods. So if the gods are pleased the construction will last longer. Buildings with human pillars are said to be haunted by the ones sealed within.

Teke teke teke is the sound this creature makes while moving on its elbows!. She was once a nice lady who fell in the path (or jumped- there are different versions) in a subway station. She was cut in half by the train but her anger and grudge was so intense that her torso is still looking for vengeance. Despite the lack of legs she can move very fast and if you are unlucky enough to get caught she will cut you in half with a scythe she produces.

Aka Manto means red cape/cloak. It’s basically an evil spirit haunting the toilets. It will appear when you sit on the toilet and there is no paper. It asks “do you want red paper or Blue paper?” (red cape/blue cape in some versions). If you take the red paper you will be cut into pieces. If you take the blue paper you will be strangled. According to some other versions if you choose the red paper your skin will be ripped off and if you choose blue paper all your blood will be drained out from your body.

Tomino’s Hell is a cursed poem that kills people who read it out loud. If you are lucky you won’t die but shits will happen anyway. “Tomino’s Hell” is written by Yomota Inuhiko in a book called “The Heart is Like a Rolling Stone”, and was included in Saizo Yaso’s 27th collection of poems in 1919. The poem is about a Tomino who dies and falls to Hell.

Cow head is a scary story which can make you die from fright. One day during a school trip which involved bus travelling, the teacher started to tell scary stories to entertain the students. When he started to tell a story called Cow Head all the students started to scream and beg him to stop but the teacher was in some sort of trance and he couldn’t stop. When he recovered the bus driver and the students had fainted and were foaming at the mouth. Some of them couldn’t stop sweating and shivering and died a few days after.

Okiku Doll is a doll wearing a kimono. It once belonged to a little girl, Okiku. Once she died of a cold, her spirit possessed the doll. It is said that her hair grows. The doll is now in the Mannenji temple. First its hair was short but it grew over time and it now has long hair. Nobody knows how the hair continues to grow but scientific researchers concluded that its hair is that of a young child, maybe Okiku’s.

Creeped out yet? I’ll be going deeper in to the above scary legends soon, so if you have the guts keep an eye out for them.

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