10 Creepy Japanese Urban Legends
Every country has its
own cultural folklore. In the UK, you might be creeped out by black dogs. In
Australia, you might be terrified of the Bunyip. Below, read about 10 Japanese
urban legends that have been causing the Land of the Rising Sun nightmares for
10. The Noppera-bō
The The Noppera-bō, translated as “faceless ghosts,” are mysterious creatures that seem to delight in frightening humans. According to the legends about these strange ghosts, they look identical to humans, except for one significant difference: their faces are completely blank of features.
While the The Noppera-bō are basically harmless, encountering one is a harrowing experience. Typically, the ghost will appear to you in the form of someone that you know. Then, the features of that familiar face will slowly melt away, leaving behind a face of smooth, blank skin.
In other stories, the The Noppera-bō have been known to appear as beautiful women who beg you not to do something. If you fail to heed her words, she will stare at you while she wipes off her face. Although they are one of the more innocuous Japanese urban legends, encountering a The Noppera-bō is sure to be a terrifying experience.
If you’ve ever played with a Ouija Board, you can probably relate to the Japanese urban legends surrounding Kokkuri-san. Much like Ouija, Kokkuri-san is a simple form of divination that can be practiced by novices hoping to dabble in the spirit world.
Kokkuri-san can be translated as “to nod up and down.” The game is played by placing a pot covered with cloth atop a tripod made of bamboo sticks. The players touch the apparatus and ask questions of the spirits. The spirits respond by making the pot ‘nod.’
Those who believe in the truth of Kokkuri-san insist that the movement of the pot is the result of supernatural occurrences. Many scientists have attempted to denounce the urban legend by providing scientific explanations for how the pot could move on its own, but that hasn’t decreased the popularity of the game.
8. Sunshine 60
From 1978 until 1991,
Sunshine 60, a 60-story skyscraper in Ikebukuro, was the tallest building in
Japan. Despite this milestone, Sunshine 60 is more known for being the site of
one of the creepiest Japanese urban legends.
Sunshine 60 was built on
the site that used to house Sugamo Prison. The prison had a dark reputation for
holding and executing political prisoners. In fact, the developers gave the new
building a cheery name in an attempt to divert attention from the site’s
However, many who work
in the building have reported strange incidents. They say that you can often
see dark shadows darting around or hear laughter, groans, screams, whispers,
and chanting. Some have even had items yanked from them and hurled through the
air. These stories have made Sunshine 60 notorious as one of Japan’s most
“Hanako of the toilet,” is one of several Japanese urban legends that
center around haunted bathrooms. According to the legends, Hanako-san is the
spirit of a young girl who was killed while hiding in a bathroom. The cause of
her death varies: some say it was a World War II air raid, and others believe
she was murdered by a psychotic intruder.
According to the legend,
if you go to a school’s third floor, approach the third stall of the girl’s
bathroom, knock on the stall three times, and say “Are you there,
Hanako-san?” the ghost will show herself by answering “I’m here.” If you
enter the stall, you will find a small girl in a red skirt.
What happens next varies
based on the legend. Some say the girl will just disappear. Others have
reported finding a red handprint on the door of the stall. However, the most
terrifying legends state that inside the stall, you will be eaten by a three-headed
lizard that had been mimicking a young girl’s voice.
6. Tomino’s Hell
Tomino’s Hell is the
title of a poem that has been the focus of one of the most pervasive Japanese
urban legends. The poem was written by Yomota Inuhiko in a book called The Heart is Like a Rolling Stone. The
poem itself is gruesome, violent, and eerie. Years after it was published, a
rumor began to circulate that anyone who read the poem, either aloud or
silently, would have tragic things happen to them.
The legend spawned a
popular internet trend in which users would post videos of themselves reading
the poem aloud. Some of the users who posted these videos eventually posted
updates stating that nothing bad had happened. However, many of the users who
posted videos never posted again, leaving their followers to wonder if they had
met a tragic fate.
5. Aka Manto
Aka Manto is another of
the popular Japanese urban legends to revolve around public bathrooms.
According to the stories, Aka Manto was a beautiful man while alive. He was
hounded so much by admirers that he eventually started wearing a mask to cover
It is unclear how Aka
Manto’s life ended, but it was likely gruesome as he now haunts public
bathrooms. The stories say that you will be sitting in a stall and suddenly
hear a mysterious voice asking, “Do you want red or blue paper?” If you choose
blue, you will be strangled until your face is blue. If you choose red, you
will be sliced apart until your clothes are stained red with blood.
If you try to outsmart
Aka Manto by choosing a color other than blue or red, he will drag you through
the toilet into the underworld. Some say that Hanako-san helps him do this. The
only way to avoid a tragic fate is to tell Aka Manto that you don’t need any
4. The Teke Teke
The story of the Teke
Teke is one of the more terrifying and violent of the Japanese urban legends.
The Teke Teke is a form of vengeful spirit that violently kills those unlucky
enough to encounter it.
According to the story,
the spirit originated from a young girl who was walking alone on the train
tracks. She fell and was unable to move. Unfortunately, an oncoming train
sliced her body in half at the waist before anyone came along to help
The girl’s spirit was
transformed into a Teke Teke. She drags her legless body along the ground with
her hands or elbows, making a “teke teke” sound. If you hear the sound or see
the spirit pulling itself along, you should run immediately. Anyone who
encounters the spirit and can’t get away quickly enough is sliced in half at
the waist, just like the young girl who was killed to create the Teke Teke.
another violent and dangerous legend of a spirit out for revenge. She is also
known as the “slit-mouthed woman.”
The legend says that
Kuchisake-onna was once a beautiful woman, but was mutilated and killed by her
angry husband, who slit her face from ear to ear. Now, she walks the streets at
night as a spirit wearing a cloth mask to hide her disfigured face. If you are
walking alone, she will approach you and ask you to walk her home. As you walk,
she will ask you if she’s pretty. If you say no, she will kill you with a pair
of scissors. If you say yes, she will take off her mask, revealing her
terrifying face, and ask again. If you say yes again, she’ll cut your face to
look like hers. If you say no, she’ll cut you in half.
There are a few ways to
avoid a grisly death at the hand of Kuchisake-onna. One way is to never walk
alone at night so she won’t have a chance to approach you. Another is to reply
to her questions by telling her she is average looking. She will be confused by
this answer, and you’ll have a chance to flee.
2. The Kunekune
The stories of the
Kunekune are similar to those of the Western Slender Man. The Kunekune is a
humanoid shape, but long, thin, and white or black. Many describe it as looking
like a paper doll. It is most often seen around lunchtime on hot days,
typically near large fields or water. You’ll know it is the Kunekune if you see
a figure that wiggles as if blown by the wind, even on a still day.
If you see the Kunekune
from a distance and choose to ignore it and walk away, you will be safe. It
will ignore you as well. However, if you try to get a closer look at it, legend
says that it will cause you to go insane. If you touch the Kunekune, it will
kill you instantly.
1. Kashima Reiko
Kashima Reiko is one of
the most tragic and dangerous Japanese urban legends. According to the myth,
she will visit you within one month after you hear her story. If you don’t want
to be visited by her, turn back now.
Kashima Reiko was a
young woman who was violently abused by a group of men. She called for help,
but no one came. She crawled away in search of aid but collapsed on train
tracks. A train came by and cut off her legs. She now is said to wander in
search of her missing legs. Often, she appears in bathrooms, both public and
If you see her, she will
begin to ask you questions. She will ask, “Where are my legs?” to which you
must respond, “On Meishin Expressway.” She will ask, “Who told you that?” and
you must answer, “Kashima Reiko told me that.” She will then ask a trick
question: “What is my name?” The correct answer is not Kashima Reiko, but “Mask
Death Demon.” If you answer any question incorrectly, she will instantly tear
off your legs and leave you for dead.
This is a contributed post by Slapped Ham. Slapped Ham is a website that’s been covering all things strange, mysterious and creepy for over 5 years. They have a YouTube channel with over one million subscribers and have been noted for their eerie, binge-worthy content.
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29 Aug, 2019
10 Creepy Japanese Urban Legends
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