3 Creepy Japanese Urban Legends (Scary)

5:30 PM

In the spirit of October and all things spooky, I've compiled a list of creepy Japanese Urban Legends / Stories! (Things are about to get spooky on the blog and the Youtube channel.)
I've been a fan of horror and generally creepy stories for quite some time now. Japanese horror always seems to be the scariest. I've done some research into some scary Japanese urban legends as well as some creepy stories pertaining to Japanese culture. In my opinion, these three are the scariest and generally most creepy. With that being said, these are just legends and stories. Read at your own risk. The stories below might be scary or maybe not. You can decide for yourself!

Urban Legend #1
Aka Manto: Evil Spirits that Haunt the Toilet
Have you heard? Some public restrooms are haunted? When you go to the bathroom alone, you will find yourself in an interesting predicament. The stall will be out of paper. In desperation, you call out for anyone in the neighboring stalls to hand you toilet paper. A voice responds, “Red or Blue paper?” Both options seemingly unconventional.

If you pick the red paper, the spirit will crawl under the stall with a knife. They will take their time as they slowly peel off your skin, staining your clothes red.

If you pick the blue paper, the spirit will place their hands up on your throat. With violent force, they will squeeze until your face turns blue.

The only way to escape the spirit is to decline their help. With great embarrassment, you leave the stall without using any paper. Only then will the spirit depart.

The spirit is called Aka Manto. Its name is often translated as “red cape” because of the spirit’s appearance. It typically appears as a man wearing a red cape. In some iterations, the man appears to be beautiful, often annoyed with admirers who search for him. For this reason, the spirit may appear wearing a mask. Although beautiful in appearance, this spirit is classified as a malicious spirit because of its intent on killing humans in vulnerable positions. In other versions of the story, instead of choosing red or blue paper, you can ask for yellow paper. The spirit will attempt to drown you by placing your head forcefully into the toilet. This gives most people a higher chance of survival.

Urban Legend #2
Kuchisake Onna: “The Woman with a Split Mouth” 
One dark evening, a woman approaches you. She is dressed in an odd fashion. Although it is hot out, she is wearing a large trench coat and a surgical mask. She mumbles behind her mask and you can barely hear her. 

“Am I pretty?” she asks. 

You don’t know anything about this woman nor why she would be asking you this sort of question in the middle of the night. She reaches into her pocket, revealing a large pair of scissors. 

“Yes.” You say in a fright. 

With her other hand, she unclasps the surgical mask that has been covering her face. She reveals her mouth. Long slits of deliberate cuts run down her face, starting from her left ear and ending to her right. 

“You can be pretty like me too.” She says, placing her scissors inside your mouth. She presses down with a firm grip. You feel the metal cut through your skin, wishing you had never encountered this woman. You have just met Kushisake Onna (the woman with a split mouth) and I’m afraid it is too late.

The origins of Kuchisake Onna varies. The most common origin is that the malevolent spirit was a young and beautiful woman. She was married to a samurai, but had an affair with another solider. In a rage, her husband took his sword and cut her face, permanently disfiguring his wife. This made her no longer beautiful. She killed herself, vowing to avenge herself in the next life. In other re-tellings of the story, a coroner states that Kuchisake Onna was a deceased mentally ill woman who died in the 1970s. She was chasing children when she was hit by a car that ripped her mouth from ear to ear. The most recent sighting of Kuchisake Onna was in South Korea in October of 2007. People reported seeing a woman in a red mask chasing children.

There many different reiterations of the story. An alternative to answering yes or no to the spirit is saying “You are average” or asking the woman “Do you think I’m pretty?” This will confuse the woman, giving you enough time to escape.  

Urban Legend #3
Hitori Kakurenbo: "Hide and Seek Alone "
If you don’t scare easily, then Hitori Kakurenbo or “Hide and Seek Alone” is the game for you. In this game, you play a game of hide and seek with spirits. Sounds simple enough? First, you will need to gather a couple of items to play the game properly. You will need: a doll that resembles a human, rice, fingernail clippings, a knife or sharp instrument, a needle, red thread, a cup of salt water or sake, and a bathtub or sink filled with water. 

You must play this game properly and you must be alone when you play this game. If you play this game in somebody else’s home, the spirits might try to “find” them instead of you. Begin the game by naming your doll. Next, cut open the doll and remove its insides. When the doll is empty, fill it with rice and your fingernail clippings. Sow the doll shut with the needle and red thread. You will need to have enough red thread to securely bind the doll’s body.

When it is 3AM, take your doll to the bathroom where there is a bathtub or sink filled with water. Hold the doll in your hands and say out loud, “For the first game I’m (say your name) going to be it.” You say this sentence three times, then drop the doll into the water. Promptly, you turn off all the lights and walk outside of your house. Like a regular game of hide and seek, you close your eyes and count to ten. When you are finished, you may enter your house with a knife or sharp instrument in hand. Enter the bathroom and say, “I have found (you say the doll’s name)!” and then stab it with the knife. You have won the first round.

Be prepared to hide. It is time for the spirit to come find you. At this point in the game, always keep your cup of salt water or sake with you. People typically have good experiences hiding in closets. You might hear strange noises, experience a change in temperature, and smell horrible smells. The TV might turn on and off with the volume changing sporadically. Although you might feel like someone is pulling or touching you, it is important to stay hidden. The game does not end until sunrise.

It is important to properly end the game. When you have had enough, take the cup of salt water or sake and keep the liquid in your mouth. Do not drink the liquid. Return to the bathroom where you placed the doll. However, in most cases the doll will not be in the bathroom where you left it. Search the house until you have found the doll. It is important that you find the doll or the game cannot end.

Once you find the doll, quickly spit the fluid from your mouth on to the doll and say “I won!” three times. This ends the game. As quickly as you can, it is important that you burn the doll.

Although the game has ended, many people have reported feeling ill, fallen into a grave accident, or feel like something is actively haunting them. Play this game at your own risk.


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