Day 1: Nihongo Legends- Urban Legends

Hey! Welcome to the first day of Otakutober! And we’ve decided to start this year off with one of our series of blogs that’s all about the myth, legends and folklore of Japanese culture. Weirdly enough, we hadn’t done Urban legends before, so, no time like the present! Let’s talk about the ghosts teens use to scare each other and the stories behind it. So the first thing to understand is what an urban legend actually is. Speaking honestly it’s the ghost stories that sometimes follow a situation or are location specific. Most places have a famous ghost story, Japan’s is just creepy haha.

The first type of ghost story I’d like to mention is the older legends. These particular stories still stand the test of time. Even though the orginal may have come from an ancient time-period the image of the ghost appears the same. Kuchisake- Onna aka the Slit-mouthed woman is one of these stories. This one I found to be interesting because she is the product of a jealous husband. But he isn’t the only one to blame. She was quite flirtatious and her husband didn’t like that. SO naturally, he split open her and mutilated her face so no other man could love her again. I guess the story goes, she will try to carve or kill those who answer wrong when she says if she is beautiful. Nowadays, she runs around with scissors and unless you tell her she’s average she’ll just kill you. Along the same vein, is Toire no Hanako-san, following the death of a young school girl around the time of WWII it is Japan’s version of Bloody Mary. When asking if Hanako is there in an empty school bathroom beware of any reply unless you want to be dragged away forever through the toilet.

Then there’s the more centered stories that focus around signifigant events or loactions like, the tsunami in 2011 where taxi driver’s reported picking up people only to have them disappear when they reach their destination. Some say they are the souls of the people who died in the Tsunami trying to find their way back home. Apparently, in Inokashiro Park there’s a vengeful goddess who will curse all couples the go boating. Or a mystical train station called Kisaragi Station that appears only to spirit away unsuspecting people.

These stories add so much culture to a place and with a vast dense land like Japan many stories of experiences are documented and retold throughout the years. There is more to come as more stories surface. Look forward to day 2!




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