ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Since the J-horror boom brought excellent Japanese horror movies such as Ring, The Grudge and Dark Water to the world's attention, Japan has been a respected horror powerhouse.

It's not just in the movies that Japan brings the jitters - check out 3 bizarrely horrifying tales from Japanese history and legend...

1. Underworld Underwear

Near the end of 1932, Tokyo's Shirokiya Department Store burned to the ground, killing 14 people. However, the incident is remembered just as much for the peculiar urban legend surrounding it as the tragedy itself.

The legend goes that several female employees were urged to climb down a safety rope from the roof of the building. They were dressed in traditional kimonos and, like many traditional items of clothing, wearing no underwear underneath. As the women climbed down, a gust of wind blew the material up around them and they let go of the rope to cover their modesty - and fell to their deaths. It seems an unlikely twist to the tragic tale, but sales of underwear supposedly skyrocketed in Japan after the Shirokiya incident.

2. Killer Kleenex

Is there anything less terrifying than an itsy bitsy little Kleenex? Or maybe you just don't know the strange urban legend that grew in Japan, scaring a whole generation of people. The '80s saw a slightly odd Kleenex campaign, running ads starring a lady in white and a little ogre, with Jane and Barton's 'It's a Fine Day' playing in the background. A little weird, but nothing frightening.

However, rumors went around that the music was secretly a cursed German folk song with lyrics saying, 'Die, die, everyone is cursed and will be killed.' Hundreds complained about the 'cursed' commercial,' but it was too late to pull the video. People believed that the woman in the ad was pregnant with Satan's spawn, and every crew member on set had died mysteriously. Watch it yourself, if you dare.

3. The Inokashira Park Incident

The park has always been cursed - legend has it that any couple taking a boat ride on the park's beautiful lake will fall out of love forever. Still, this local legend has nothing on the real, grisly crime that occurred early one morning on April 23, 1994.

In the dewy grass, maintenance worker found several body parts in Inokashira Park. Two hands, two feet, an ankle... The pieces were identified as those of a famous Japanese architect, though they'd been sliced to a minute 1cm thickness with an electrical saw and totally drained of blood. Most frightening of all, the tissue showed signs of internal bleeding, meaning that the poor man may have been cut up while he was still alive. The head and genitals were never found.

Sources: Wiki


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