ポリグロット(数か国語に通じる人)を目指して~
中国人の父にオランダで育てられました。 日本語を勉強しながら、ベトナム人の彼氏と一緒に暮らしています。

Monday, 26 October 2015

Happy Halloween! - Creepy Japanese folktales and legends

















Since it's almost Halloween I couldn't post this next month. In this post I will share three creepy Japanese urban legends with you so you can entertain your guests on your Halloween party. Please decide for yourself if they are suitable for your audience. If you guys are interested I'll make another post with my top 3 (or top 5, or 10) Asian movies to watch this Halloween. If you would like me to post this just send me a message. Now let's turn the lights off!

Teke Teke
Japan is famous for many good things but unfortunately also for it's high suicide rates. Although you have many possibilities to commit suicide, it is said that Teke Teke san jumped in front of a oncoming subway leaving her body cut in half. I'm not entirely sure if she was upset because her suicide attempt didn't really work out or because she looked kind of unappealing the way she ended up. Anyways she became very angry. Now she is roaming the nights of Japan by dragging her upper body around with her claws which simulates a teke-teke sound. She will hunt you down if you are wandering the streets at nighttime and if she catches you, you will be cut in half as well.
This legend is told mostly by mothers to their children to prevent them from going out in the evening or staying up to late.

Kuchisake onna 口裂け女
Also this one is a popular among mothers to tell their children and has the same idea; don't go anywhere by yourself when it's dark outside! Kuchisake onna means 'split mouth woman' and though there are different opinions on how she looks most of the stories have all these things in common; she has long black hair, wears some kind of long dark cloak or coat and wears a surgical mask (yes, the one that all the Japanese wear when they have the flu). She will approach you when you are walking alone and will ask you a question; am I pretty? You might think; oh, this is easy, my girlfriend / wife asks me all the time, just say yes and she will stop blabbering. Think again! Because if you say yes, she will pull down her mask and show you her monster like smile which covers her face from ear to ear. She will ask you again if you think she's pretty, if you say yes, you get the same creepy smile and if you say no she will cut you in half. After reading this you might think; well I just say no the first time she asks me. Unfortunately she will cut you in half immediately. Oh, and before I forget to tell you, this all happens with a monster size pair of scissors.
So how can I get away from her? Well it's said that if you answer her question with something else than 'yes' or 'no' like 'average', you will confuse her giving you the opportunity to run away. Or, if you listened to your mother in the first place and didn't go out late it wouldn't happen at all.
For those of you who are interested, there is a movie about kuchisake onna called 'Carved'. I didn't see it for myself yet but you can check the IMDB review here.

Hitobashira 人柱
Hitobashira are 'human pillars'. It is said that in feudal Japan they would seal bodies into pillars while building dams, castles, bridges and temples to make them stronger and last longer. Back in the day, Samurai or other important people would sacrifice them self as hitobashira and commit suicide. Their bodies would be encased in the building to 'fend off evil spirits' and as an offering to the gods to prevent them from natural disasters. Some other stories say that they actually encased the humans alive and that they preferred to use kids. When an important building was about to be build, parents would pay extra attention on keeping an eye on their kids to prevent them from being kidnapped and never seeing them again. Other theories suggests that workers who had fallen working under harsh conditions were the ones who were buried inside the pillars. Whatever the truth is we will never now today. But how creepy it is thinking the souls of many humans can lie under such beautiful buildings..

I told my dad about the Hitobashira and he said these kind of stories were also quite commonly told in China. If you wonder how to celebrate Halloween a.k.a 'Hungry Ghost Festival' the Chinese way don't forget to read my post Chinese Halloween 鬼节 I'm sure you will enjoy it!
There were so many Japanese urban legends to choose from so I hope you didn't mind if your favorite is not included. I chose the one which I am the most familiar with.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and that you are not to creeped out. Let me know if you watched the movie 'Carved' or if you have any other spooky movie suggestions for Halloween.


 ~ mei mei