ByJodi Novotny, writer at
I love horror, but I also love the sea, and everything in it!
Jodi Novotny

Japanese urban legends are enduring modern folktales of either paranormal creatures and their attacks on (usually) innocent victims, or non-supernatural, widespread rumors in popular culture.

The former rarely include the fantastical or animistic yokai of earlier Japanese superstition, and are mostly based on onryo (Japanese ghosts who have become vengeful spirits and take their aggression out on any who cross their path). Modern urban legends tend to include Japanese schools and, similar to the yokai legends, incorporate cautionary tales into their stories, warning people not to bully others, walk home late at night, or talk to strangers. Although there non-supernatural urban legends in Japan's cities, such as the secret Tokyo tunnels or the corpse-washing job rumor, this list is consisted of what I believe to be some of the scariest urban legends that originate in Japanese culture!

10. Sunshine 60

A 60-story modern skyscraper in Tokyo that was... built on top of a notorious prison where Japanese war criminals were held. Eight men were hanged. It's said that this place is haunted. Who knows for sure?

9. Aka Manto (Red Cape)

If you've never been to a Japanese school bathroom or a Korean school bathroom, feel lucky. They are one of the creepiest places you can ever take a leak in.

Aka Manto is a ghost that haunts the last stall in the bathroom. As your sitting on the toilet, a voice will ask you if you want red or blue paper. If you say red, you're guaranteed to get sliced up into pieces. Say blue, and you're going to get strangled. Apparently, the correct way to escape this is to say, "No paper."

8. Kokkuri-San

This is the Japanese version of the Ouija board. In this game, the hiragana alphabet is drawn on a piece of paper, and two people hold a pen, ballpoint touching the paper, in the center. The participants ask Kokkuri-san a question and the spirit moves the pen, just like a spirit would on a Ouija board.

7. Cow Head

Apparently, the story is so haunted that no one can ever tell it without dying. The legend talks about the story.

Basically, a group of students is taken out for a field trip by a teacher. On the bus, he decides to tell a scary story and picks Cow Head. As he begins, the students, one by one, notice that the teacher becomes more intense and involved in the story. Soon, the students are screaming for him to stop, but he can't. Police find the bus in a ditch, all of the passengers foaming at the mouth, seemingly in a trance. They're able to shake them awake, and when asked what had happened, no one could remember how they ended up there, including the Cow Head story.


6. Red Room

An internet urban legend that's become infamous after the Sasebo Slashing in 2004. The killer (a schoolgirl) had bookmarked this particular video.

Two friends discuss a rumor about an Internet pop-up ad that asks "Do you like---?" (あなたは—好きですか? Anata wa—suki desu ka??). If someone closes the pop-up, he dies. The more skeptical friend does some investigation. At home, he researches it online but is unable to find anything about the site online. After he ends his search and begins looking at his usual websites, the message pops up, with a childlike voice asking: "Do you like---?"

Even after he closes the pop-up, it keeps re-appearing, repeatedly asking 'Do you like-?'. It then starts automatically reloading and the girl's voice becomes mangled till the boy eventually notices the question changed to 'Do you like red?'. The boy keeps clicking off the pop-up until a new part of the message is revealed, finally asking the completed question in a normal childs voice, "Do you like the red room?" (あなたは赤い部屋が好きですか? Anata wa akai heya ga suki desu ka??). Then a website with a list of names appears, with the boy's friend at the bottom. The boy becomes aware of something behind him.

The next day, there is a rumor and gossip at a school about two students who committed suicide, painting their rooms red with their own blood. Then, the protagonist's computer is displayed, with the protagonist's name at the bottom of the list. It then shuts off, along with an eerie sound.

After the video ends. if the user's browser has not disabled pop-ups, a pop-up resembling the ad from the story will appear.

5. Kuchisake-Onna (Split Mouth Woman)

Kuchisake-onna (Slit-mouthed woman) is a woman that walks around alone at night wearing a surgical mask. Okay, you say, so what? She's sick or something, and she's courteous enough to cover her mouth and nose to not get others infected.

WRONG! SO, SO WRONG! Listen to me. This woman is nothing but pure evil.

The woman will stop the child and ask, "Am I pretty?" If the child answers no, the child is killed with a pair of scissors which the woman carries. If the child answers yes, the woman pulls away the mask, revealing that her mouth is slit from ear to ear, and asks "How about now?" If the child answers no, he/she will be cut in half. If the child answers yes, then she will slit his/her mouth like hers. It is impossible to run away from her, as she will simply reappear in front of the victim.

Honestly though, who lets their kid walk around at night?

4. Teke Teke

According to some old story, a young schoolgirl was cut in half by an oncoming train after she had fallen on the tracks. Now she wanders around with a scythe, "dropping in" on unsuspecting victims and cuts them in half so that she is not alone.

There was a version of this story that I heard a long time ago:

There was this boy who was walking home alone, it was getting dark, and he was in an unfamiliar part of the town, so he started to pick up his pace. He walked for some time, all the while the sun setting and his surroundings becoming darker and darker. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a face, smiling at him from a window. Her elbows were on the windowsill, her hands on her cheeks. "Are you lost?" she asked. Thinking she was going to help him out, he walked closer to the woman. She suddenly jumped from the windowsill, revealing her disfigurement. Her legs and torso were missing. Before the boy could scream, she cut him in two, just like her.

3. Tomino

Urban legend has it, if you read the poem out loud, you will die. Check out this creepy video. Even the person who made it doesn't read it out loud themselves.

2. Hanako-San

According to the legend, a person who goes to the third stall in the girls' bathroom on the third floor and knocks three times before asking "Are you there, Hanako-san", you will hear a voice answer "I'm here". If the person chooses to enter the stall there will be a small girl in a red skirt.

Hanako-san is a popular widespread urban legend, often played by school children as a rite of courage, or a method of hazing for new students, similar to the Bloody Mary urban legend in Western school.

1. The Girl in the Gap

The girl from the gap is a spirit living in gaps (between furnitures, doors and drawers). There are many gaps and cracks in the house. If one day you meet her gaze she will ask you to play hide and seek.

The second time you see her eyes in a gap you will be taken to another dimension. (or to hell)

Well there you have it... my top 10 of the scariest Japanese urban legends!


So which one of the these terrified you more?


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