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5 Japanese Urban Legends

Updated on April 26, 2012
Teke-Teke | Source
Kuchisake-onna | Source
Hanako-san | Source
Aka Manto
Aka Manto | Source
Jinmenken | Source

Various types of folklore can be found all over the world. Japan in particular has some very interesting, as well as creepy urban legends. The majority of them are based on onryo, or vengeful spirits that have had something unfortunate or tragic happen to them when they were alive and who let their anger out on innocent victims- often by frightening and/or killing them.

The following is five urban legends that have become popular in Japan.


The Teke-Teke is the ghost of a young woman who was killed and cut in half after she jumped or fell in front of an oncoming train. Her angry and tormented spirit preys on anyone who crosses her path at night. She crawls on her hands or elbows, seeking out victims, while the dragging of her remaining upper torso along the ground is said to make a 'teke teke' sound.

Anyone she comes in contact with who is not quick enough to escape will be sliced in half to mimic her own tragic fate. Sometimes, these victims will also become Teke-Teke's.

The legend of the Teke-Teke is often told as a cautionary tale to keep children from staying out too late.


The Kuchisake-onna, also known as the slit-mouthed woman, is the vengeful ghost of a cheating woman who was killed by her jealous husband. Her mouth had also been cut from ear to ear to form an eerie smile.

She will approach victims wearing a trench coat and a surgical mask that covers the bottom part of her face. The woman will then ask the person, "Am I beautiful?" If the individual says "no", the ghost will take out a pair of over-sized scissors and cut off his or her head. However, if the person says "yes", the ghost will take off her mask to reveal her disfigured face and say, "Am I still beautiful?" If the person answers no, she will still cut the victim's head off. If he or she answers yes, she will slice the person's mouth from ear to ear so that it looks like her own disfigured face.

The only possible way of escaping from her deadly clutches is to answer her with something like "You're average" or "So-so", which will confuse her and give the person enough time to run away.

Hanako-san of the Toilet

Hanako-san is said to be the ghost of a young girl who committed suicide after constant bullying from her peers. She haunts the fourth stall of the girls' bathroom in Japanese elementary schools. Hanako-san usually needs to be summoned for the child to see her, but she can also appear for no reason.

To summon her, one must knock three times on the stall, then ask, "Are you there, Hanako-san?" If she answers, "I'm here", the child can push open the stall to reveal the ghost. She is also said to have glowing eyes, which will stare straight at the person who opens the door. Although certain versions claim she is only there to frighten children, others claim that she will pull them into the toilet and kill them.

Aka Manto

Aka Manto, or Red Cloak, is another ghost that haunts bathrooms- this time public women's bathrooms. While the victims are on the toilet, a mysterious voice will ask them if they like the red or blue cloak. If the answer is red, the person will be killed violently and be found covered in blood. If the answer is blue, the victim will be strangled until blue in the face. Answering with any other color will cause the unlucky person to be dragged by Aka Manto into the fires of hell.

The only way to avoid being viciously killed or being forced to an eternity in hell is to simply not answer the ghost's questions.


The Jinmenken are dog-like creatures that have the facial features of a human. Legend has it that they appear at night and can be seen running along roads at very fast speeds. They also have the ability to speak, and if they are approached, they will usually ask to be left alone.

Some say that they are the spirits of those killed in road accidents or are the results of scientific experiments that have escaped from labs. Jinmenken have also been viewed by the Japanese as bad omens and have been blamed for various unfortunate and tragic events.

What would be the scariest Japanese ghost/creature to run into?

See results

Read More About Urban Legends


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    • profile image

      mikeydcarroll67 2 years ago

      These are pretty weird!

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      They all sound like stories. I don't believe any of them enough to be scared.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      A creepily engaging hub! All of them are so scary - I voted up for the last answer in your poll! Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Awesome & Interesting. Voted up

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 5 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Wow, these Japanese legends are really violent and scary! I've enjoyed this hub and want to learn more about some of these legends now... except it's getting late where I live and it's dark LOL I think I will search for these legends more in the morning! :)

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Thanks for commenting mikeyd!

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Thanks for commenting vespawoolf. I hope I don't give you nightmares!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Oh my! Not a good idea to read hubs like this just before bedtime!

    • profile image

      mikeydcarroll67 5 years ago

      Eerie but good to learn these!

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      IWantFroyo- Thanks! I also feel the same way about this stuff. :)

      Kitty- LOL I would as well! Thanks for commenting. :)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      Wow! Talk about some pretty scary urban legends. The Japanese have scarier legends than I've ever heard of in the US. I would totally wet myself if I saw any of these ghosts.

    • IWantFroyo profile image

      IWantFroyo 5 years ago from Virginia, USA

      Wow, that's really creepy, yet somehow horrifyingly fascinating. Upvoted.

    • profile image

      Roronoa 5 years ago

      That's pretty crazy, though I was expecting like old folklore tales. but it was cool thanx

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      They are pretty creepy. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

    • baronhertzog profile image

      baronhertzog 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

      hah this was creepy!