Creepiest Japanese School Ghost StoriesBy MortimerTGraves for Creepy
Japan has always had a certain mystery to it. Everything from the history to the customs of everyday life. Remember this is the country that gave us the freaky cat-boy meow in The Grudge. So naturally the scary stories would also share this mystique.
Yes a few do have some of the same characteristics of Western urban legends, but most are in a league of their own. Take for example, we in the West celebrate thing that are horror related around October and Halloween. But in Japan, summer is the usual time of telling horror stories. We are going to explore some of the gakko kaidan or school ghost stories(no not the anime). If you are a fan of Asian horror, you will recognize a few of these. And yes many of them have to do with natural body functions, like the bathroom, or getting sick. But hey this is from the land of vending machines that sell used panties, so it isn’t that surprising. So turn off the lights, lock the doors and windows as we explore the scariest and creepiest Japanese school ghost stories.
The Snake Woman (Nure-Onna)
Do you enjoy a nice, cool swim on a hot day? So you go down to the pond on the school grounds for a nice dip. You put down your towel, and head toward the waves. But wait! You spot a woman in the water; long black hair flowing around her alabaster skin as she flails weakly. With heroic speed, you fling yourself into the calm waters and swim her way. You swim toward the endangered beauty, your eyes meeting as you work desperately to save the poor defenseless woman. O No. You seem to be paralyzed. Also, the beautiful lady now appears to be using her long, prehensile snake-body to gracefully close the distance between you. Perhaps, she simply wants to save you from this terminal case of full body cramps? Perhaps the piercing of your tender flesh by her snake-like tongue is some weird form of mermaid CPR? Nope, you are now being slowly digested by the Snake Woman, or, Nure-Onna.
The moral of the story should be fairly obvious: Don't try to save a drowning woman. She could be a snake-monster in disguise! I am going to guess lifeguard is not a popular job in Japan.
Human Pillars (Hitobashira)
If history has taught us anything, it's that there are a great many practical uses for the human body. Japan reminds us just how practical they can be by presenting the Hitobashira, or, Human Pillars. We have to admit the country is practically first at the technological forefront, so we have to assume that if Japan tells us, "It's okay to seal living people inside walls and foundations, that will make them more durable!", it has to be true! Right? Because screw cement!
Dating back to the 17th century, the story goes that as an offering to the gods. Living people could be sealed into buildings as sacrifices, which would apparently please their great gods(LEGO gods??) and ensure stability and longevity to the construct in question. So buildings and foundations have remains littered through them. They have been discovered sealed into the walls, standing upright, and laying under foundation. So make sure you don't abuse a building by writing graffiti or breaking a window. The spirits of the building will come get you. When we were in school, the worst we would get was suspended. Over there, deface a building and ghosts will drag you into the walls.
I have another theory why they did this: maybe Japan just gets really uptight if you abuse your smoke breaks one time too many. It’s just a though.
Red/Blue Cloak(Aka Manto)
Let's assume for a moment that you, like most of us enjoy the basic human function of going to the bathroom. Just think you've had a few too many tacos at lunch and make a mad dash for the ladies toilets(thankfully it doesn’t apply to guys unless you are horny teen that hide in there.) closest to you. As you enter the bathroom and try to avoid physical contact between your backside and the herpes-infested toilet sear, you suddenly hear a voice.
"Do you like the red cloak or do you like the blue cloak?"
After sitting uncomfortably for a few seconds, wondering what kind of weirdo just break the cardinal rule of keeping their mouths shut during toilet-time, you answer with hesitation:
"The Red Cloak!"
Now according to your answer, there are a variety of outcomes: If you answered "Red Cloak", you will be sliced apart like a onion on Food Network.
Screw that! You may be thinking, I'll just answer "Blue cloak"!
Good idea. Now take a deep breath! You're going to need it when the life is being slowly strangled out of you. The result leaves your tongue-lolled face a weird blue color. Sitting in your stall and ruminating on your options, you may be wondering which of these two you prefer? Well fear not! Due to the foresight of reading this article, you are well prepared! According to this legend, choosing a third color or choosing "Neither" will spare you a gruesome death.
I think the worst part of this story is the fact I have to talk someone while I’m copping-a-squat. Remember kids, always carry toilet paper, or some Kleenex in your pocket. It really could save your life.
Japan is to suicide what teenage sex is to Jason. Nowhere is it more prevalent, as the Japanese will check out for any reason: bad relationships to poor grades. Ghost stories are no different, as the majority of urban legends involving spirits usually stem from the unhappy spooks jumping headlong into the path of an oncoming train or stringing himself up from the closest available tree.
The Teke-Teke is a female student who either jumped or fell(depending on who you ask) in the path of an oncoming train and was cut in half. Seeing as being cut in half can ruin your day, her anguish and anger gave rise to the Teke-Teke. Now, she roams in the form of a torso, dragging herself along with her claw-like hands. The sound she makes while moving is described as a "teke-teke-teke" sound as she propels herself using her hands.
Assuming you haven't already left a trail of dust and urine in your wake, the Teke-Teke will launch herself toward you like the world's angriest sideshow attraction, produce a scythe, and cut your slow-poking butt in half. Teke-Teke produce more Teke-Teke this way, as you are doomed to become one yourself if caught.
Told mostly as a cautionary tale to keep children from staying out past curfew, we suggest you listen to your overbearing teachers and not stay out too late.
Split Mouth Woman (Kuchisake-Onna)
The moral of most Japanese urban legends seem to consist of "don't go anywhere by yourself. Ever." The story of the Split Mouth Woman is no different. Except that you are doubly unfortunate if you happen to be a child (We assume your legs are stubby and slow and she can outrun you). If you happen to be a snotty pubescent walking alone one day, you might consider taking a different route if you are suddenly approached by a female figure in a trench-coat. Now, before you assume that this will be a harmless display of bits and pieces, rest assured: You will be shown something. Unfortunately, it will not be boobies. The Kuchisake-Onna will appear as a tall woman in a trench-coat with long, black hair. Her most telling feature is the surgical mask covering the bottom half of her face.
She will approach you and ask you a question: "Am I beautiful?"
If you reply, "No!" Your troubles are over. Mainly because she will produce an oversized pair of scissors and remove your head. Ah! You're thinking, So I'll answer "yes!" In which case she will remove her mask to reveal her grotesquely mutilated face, her smile sliced from ear to ear. "Am I still beautiful?" She will ask again.
If you have some kind of Heath Ledger Joker fetish and reply, "yes", she will take the aforementioned scissors, chase you down, and slice you in half. If you reply "no", she'll do it anyway. Seriously some people just can't be satisfied.
If you don't fancy a haircut with a little too much off the top, your best bet is a neutral reply, such as "You're so-so", or "average". This will confuse the Split Mouth Woman, giving you just enough time to run like you're wearing meat pants in a dog pound (or in this case, a crazy ghost woman with a giant pair of scissors). So remember, be sociable in school and make lots of friends. It may save your life.
River Boy (He Tong)
Just like before, you go down to the school’s pond to do a little swimming, and you see instead of a drowning woman, but a creature resemble a turtle with webbed (and somewhat human-like) feet and hands. They’re about the size of small children, and they’re able to stand, walk on land and swim. If that isn't enough, they also have a small bowl or plate-like area on their head that must be kept wet or filled with water.
They inhabit water, usually staying in ponds or rivers. If the plate-like area dries out, the River Boy is said to lose its powers or even die. Some stories tell of how the plate can be covered to protect it from drying out, which allows them to travel farther away from their watery domain.
Primarily, the River Boy is used as a cautionary tale to children to be careful while swimming. They are tricksters that, depending on the story, are mischievous or downright malevolent. The more sinister stories have them luring people or animals, usually horses, into deep water so that all the River Boys can drag them down and drown them.
To be honest, wouldn’t a “No Swimming” sign work just as well on kids to stop swimming in the school ponds or adjacent rivers.
Hanako-San of the Toilet
Because Japan just loves to punish you for basic bodily functions, this urban legend takes place in surprise, the bathroom: specifically the third stall from the end of any elementary school washroom. Unlike the earlier urban legends, where the creatures will come at you unprovoked, Hanako needs to be summoned. Though the idea of luring a ghostly little girl into an empty bathroom falls further from "scary urban legend" and closer to "that paedophile on the news last week" than we'd like.
In order to call Hanako, you need to do the polite thing and knock three times on her stall door. This is usually accompanied by calling out, "Are you there, Hanako-san?"
If you are greeted with a reply, "Yes, I'm here!", apart from pissing your pants in terror, you can push open the stall door to reveal Hanako. Said to be a little girl with bobbed black hair and a red skirt, the outcome of your courage (or undiagnosed retardation) differs: Hanako-san will vanish or, for the more sh*t out of luck (in every sense of the word), you will be pulled into the toilet and killed.
If you knock on her stall and receive a reply (and assuming you don't immediately break the laws of physics during your escape), you still have the opportunity to walk away if you do not open the door. If, however, you insist on cornering little girls in toilet stalls, you may have just enough time after seeing Hanako to make a break for the exit and escape.
Mrs. Graves and myself have decided if we ever visit Japan, we are just going to squat in the street. We might be fined or even jailed, but it is better than being killed by a toilet ghost.
Vampire Tree (Kyūketsuki Ki)
A vampire tree that appears in former battlefields or any place where someone has been killed. It survives on human blood from people it grabs who are unfortunate enough to wander by. The tree doesn’t appear different from other trees, but if chopped down, bleeds blood instead of sap. So when naughty school kids climb them, they get gobbled up. So my advice is to never climb a tree without a bird or squirrel in it.
I have a question. How do you chop a vampiric tree down to see it bleeds blood without being grabbed and becoming its next victim? I’m guessing a really long chainsaw?