Scary Urban Legends from Japan

Mar 15, 2019 | Japan, What!, What.Japan

Breaking Asia | Editor

Will the slit-mouthed woman pay you a visit tonight, too?

Japanese urban legends and Internet lore are among the “best in class” on the Web and newer variants are popping up all the time. But if we were to pick the craziest ones, these would have to be them:

Hanako-san is a take on the trope of the creepy ghost girl.

There are probably dozens of variations of this story, but the Hanako-san tale takes off quite familiarly from the older Bloody Mary story, where you can call to the spirit and you will either 1) die a horrible death in the hands of the supernatural presence or 2) you will simply see the apparition.

The common take on Hanako-san was that she was killed during an air raid in Japan during World War 2. So she was technically killed by America’s intervention during WW2.

It is said that she haunts bathroom stalls (one of the naturally creepy places in schools and other buildings) and if you want her to come, you simply have to knock three times and say “Hanako-san, are you there?”

At this point, the lore starts to branch off. Some say that a three-headed lizard will kill you, or you will hear Hanako-san’s poor, lost soul saying that she’s there. Either way, you’re in a bind, right?

Slit-mouthed woman is a take on domestic violence, this time with a woman named Kuchisake-onna, who was mutilated and murdered by her husband all in the same night.

Kuchisake-onna’s face is torn from cheek to cheek, and when she talks, you will see her gums and everything else past the torn cheeks. It is said that the tormented soul of this ghost will approach men at night with a scarf around her face.

She will then ask the victim, which is always a man, if she is pretty. If he answers yes, she will remove the scarf.

Any harsh reaction to her face and Kuchisake-onna will immediately dispose of the victim, right then and there. If the man still says she is pretty after seeing her horribly disfigured face, the ghost will walk away but will stalk and kill her victim later on.

One way to combat this ghost, they say, is to throw at her candy or anything of value so you can run. But then again, you know it’s a crazy urban legend when you can stop a crazed and tormented soul with candy. Nuts!

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