Don’t Read This Before Bed! Creepy Japanese Urban Legends To Scare You Senseless

Urban legends grow out of old folklore and reflect complex societal and psychological beliefs. They also have relations to the supernatural world and open doors we would rather avoid.

These creepy, crawly Japanese urban legends will surely make the hairs on your arm stand straight up. If you ever run into any of these legends, just breathe and walk away slowly.

1. Kushisake Onna

Literally translated as “the woman with a split mouth”. She was brutally mutilated by her husband. Imagine yourself on a dark street when a woman in a surgical mask and trench suddenly appears. Don’t try to get away because she uses her power of teleportation to block you. She only wants to ask you a question.

“Am I pretty?” Don’t offend her. Saying ‘no’ will cause her to draw out a pair of scissors and chop your head off. And what if you say ‘yes’?

Kushisake Onna takes off her mask, revealing a mouth split from ear to ear. She asks again, “how about now?”

Say ‘no’ and she cuts you in half. If you say ‘yes’ though, she will slice open your mouth to look just like hers.

Police records show a woman in Japan from the 1970’s who had died from a car hitting her. She had been chasing little children around. When they got to the scene, they found her dead with her mouth ripped open ear to ear.

2. Hitobashira

In Japan, people practice Hitobashira or “Human Pillars”. When new buildings get constructed, they make sacrifices to the gods to ensure natural disasters will not harm the buildings. The Japanese will bury humans alive inside the structure as a sacrifice. This happens in or near large buildings like dams, bridges or castles. The buildings may last a long time, but the ghosts of those buried alive will forever haunt the construction. A bit of a catch-22.

3. Teke Teke

Teke teke refers to the sound this creature’s elbows makes when it moves. A young woman, or girl, depending on the story, fell on a subway line. She couldn’t escape in time and the oncoming railcar sliced her in half.

Her spirit crawls around carrying a saw or scythe. When she runs into anyone not fast enough to avoid her, she takes it out and cuts them in half, so that she won’t be so alone.

4. Aka Manto

Aka Manto translates to red cape or red cloak. It centers on a mysterious male spirit who haunts public and school toilets. When he sees a pair of legs sitting down, he will ask if they want red or blue paper.

Those who answer red get cut to pieces as their blood stains the toilet paper red. Those who answer blue get strangled to death. Those who don’t answer get taken to the underworld, forever haunted in a world of lost souls.

The only answer that saves your life: no paper.

5. Tomino’s Hell

A popular poem, “Tomino’s Hell”, tells the story of Tomino who dies and falls into Hell. Yomota Inuhiko included it in a book entitled The Heart is Like a Rolling Stone. Saizo Yaso also included it in a book of poems published in 1919.

Anyone who reads the poem must read it silently or in their head. Reading it aloud will cause great tragedy or death for the speaker.

One person once read it on air for a radio show, “Radio Urban Legends”. Halfway through they became ill and threw the book away. Two days later they hurt themselves and needed 7 stitches. Coincidence? Or perhaps the power of the poem.

You can read the poem here if you dare. We take no responsibility for your actions though.

6. Gozu

Gozu, or “Cow Head”, is a story that captures listeners attention so much they cannot stop listening. It causes tremendous fear though and leads to continuous trembling. Their body eventually gives out and they die.

Legend has it that a schoolteacher told it on the bus to entertain bored students. The students started listening but began to get frightened and begged the teacher to stop. The teacher was too engrossed in the story and didn’t stop though.

The students and bus driver began to convulse, but the teacher was blind to their convulsions. When the teacher finished telling the story, the dead bodies of the students and bus driver surrounded the teacher.

7. Okiku Doll

A temple in the town of Iwamizawa safeguards the Okiku Doll within their confines. The doll was named after Okiku, the doll’s two-year old girl owner. She loved the doll which her older brother had bought for her. However, she suddenly died one day from illness.

The family put the doll in an altar at home and prayed to it daily. Gradually, the doll’s hair started to grow. They believed their daughter’s spirit had overtaken the doll. They eventually moved and gave the doll to the temple.

The doll’s hair kept growing at the temple, reaching 10 inches in length. It would grow right back even when trimmed. No explanation existed. They called in a scientist to examine the doll and he had one conclusion.

The doll’s hair indeed was human hair. And the hair was that of a young child.

These stories will certainly keep you awake at night. The world of the supernatural can give us the heebie jeebies.

Share these with a friend and see if they can resist the powers of the unknown.