Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Ghost Stories in Japan

Photo: L.C. Nøttaasen on Flickr

Ghost Stories in Japan

Sanny Soedjatmiko Hartanto

Do you know about the ghost stories in Japan? In my country, the Japanese ghost stories are known as the best scary stories in the world. Years ago in Japan, there were a tradition where people would gather in a room and light candles. Then they would start telling scary tales and ghost stories. After they finish one story, they would extinguish a candle. Because of it, the room will get darker and darker and the stories would become scarier and scarier than before. Let’s learn more about the most well-known ghost stories in Japan.

Kuchisake Onna

Kuchi” means mouth in Japanese, while “Sake” means slit, and “Onna” means woman in Japanese. So, it literally means “Slit-Mouth Woman”. This story tells about disfigured Japanese woman who brandishes a large scissors and preys on children. In the story, she walks on the street of Japan wearing mask and hunting for children. If you cross her path, you will be stopped and questioned by her. If you give the wrong answer, there will be such a horrible consequence of it.


Photo : David Pursehouse on Flickr
Maybe some of you have heard about this ghost story. Kappa is the most famous legendary Japanese monsters. He represents a cross between monkey, frog and turtle. He usually loves to play pranks, such as delivering loud, smelly farts, and peeking up women’s dresses.

No Face

As the name described, it is a human features with no eyes, nose, and mouth. It is known that it is just an illusion.


Photo : dirtyboxface on Flickr
This is a legend about a ghost of young girl that haunts school toilets, opening and closing doors, and scaring anyone who enters the bathroom, and etc.

But... there is an exception

Ghosts should be scary and horrible isn’t it? Surprisingly, in Japan, there is an anime of supernatural monsters that is really popular among children in Japan. The most interesting part is the story and the appearance is not scary at all, it is really a cute anime. So, let’s learn more about that anime!


Photo : Kurt Komoda on Flickr
Yokai are a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore. There are so many variety of Yokai in Japanese folklore. The most well known aspect of Japanese folklore is the oni. Oni means “demon” in Japanese.

Yokai Watch

Photo : MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr

This is the title of the anime, “Yokai Watch”. At first, I can’t believe how the ghost can be so cute in this anime. Yokai watch is a device to call a Yokai named Whisper in the anime. This anime is so popular among Japanese that they also produced video games. The most interesting part is the “Yokai Taisou”, which means the new cute version of “Radio Taisou” in Japan. “Taisou” means “Morning exercise” in Japanese. You can search it from YouTube if you want to know how cute is the exercise. The ghost that should be such a scary thing turns into such cute anime, which all children love to watch it. Maybe this kind of thing can only happen in Japan.