9 Japanese Urban Legends That Will Make It Impossible For You To Sleep

Be warned, you should read these with the lights on… one super terrifying urban legend at a time.


Teke Teke

Tek Tek or Teke-Teke is the ghost of a girl who was cut in half by a train, and now crawls on her hands and elbows. Her movement makes a scratching “take take” sound. She carries a scythe, and if someone doesn’t run away fast enough (she moves surprisingly fast), she’ll cut them in half to make them like her.

The Red Room Curse

The Red Room Curse

The Red Room is about an internet popup that appears on a person’s computer screen with an image of a simple red room. It advertises one thing and one thing only: your imminent death. A supposedly cutesy voice will ask, “Do you like ____?” and if closed, the pop-up will continue to reopen until the voice completes its question: “Do you like the red room?” Those who see this popup, will soon be found dead, their walls and door painted red with their own blood.

Kuchisake-Onna (Slit-Mouthed Woman)

Kuchisake-Onna (Slit-Mouthed Woman)

Kuchisake-Onna is the legend of a Japanese woman, mutilated by her jealous samurai husband who murdered her for infidelity, scarring her horribly and leaving her repulsive.

Her jealous ghost still haunts places in Japan, usually on foggy nights. She wears a surgical mask, and she will approach people and ask shyly: “Anata wa watashi ga utsukushii toomoimasu ka?” (Do you think I’m beautiful?) The person usually responds, “Yes”.

She then pulls down her mask to reveal an ear to ear grin, cut by her jealous husband to mark her for her life. “How about now?” she will persist. If you answer no, she will reveal a pair of scissors and kill you. If you answer yes, she will cut the same smile onto your face.

There are several ways to prevent this terrible fate. One, to confuse Kuchisake-Onna by saying: You are average. Two, present her with hard amber candy, which she’ll take much delight in and let you go. Three, say ‘Pomade’ six times, she will then flee. Four, ask her if you are beautiful, which will confuse her hopefully long enough to escape. Be wary, she is said to be incredibly fast and will be unlikely to stop.

She has been seen from the 1970s til the early 2000s, often seen lurking near children whose innocent answer of yes when asked if she is ugly, will lead to their deaths.

Tomino’s Hell

Tomino's Hell

It is rumored that whoever reads this poem aloud, tragic things will happen to him or her. Hence you should only read with your mind, and never out loud. The poem is about Tomino, who dies and falls into hell. It is written by Yomota Inuhiko in a book called “The Heart is Like a Rolling Stone”, and was included in Saizo Yaso’s 27th collection of poems in 1919.

This story used to be very popular on Japanese forum 2ch, and many people took pictures and videos as proof of having recited the poem and posted them online. There were many users that said that nothing happened, but there were also many posts that didn’t have the user come back to post the results.

If you were to read it out loud, it’s better to read it in Japanese rather than the translation.

Aka Manto (Red Cape)

Aka Manto

A dead, masked man haunts the last stall in women’s bathrooms. If a woman goes in alone, he might ask her if she prefers red paper or blue paper. The answer “red” will result in him killing her violently and drenching her in blood. The answer “blue paper” will result in him strangling or blood-letting her body so that her face turns blue. If she asks for a different color, his hands will reach from the toilet and drag her to hell. The only way to avoid death is to refuse his offers.



A ghostly apparition that looks like a slender paper mannequin will appear in fields or another empty, rural location. It will wiggle while anyone looks at it, and anyone who approaches it will go mad and die if they touch it. Slenderman may be based upon this story.

Hitobashira (Human Pillars)


In ancient Japan it was believed that sealing humans within the foundations of structures pleased the gods, who fortified those structures to last longer. It is believed that the ghosts of people within the pillars and walls of ancient buildings haunt those grounds upon which they were trapped.”

Gozu (Ox-head)

Gozu (Ox-head)

Gozu (Ox-head) is about a fictional story called ‘Cow Head’. Supposedly the Cow Head story is so horrifying that people who read or hear it are overcome with fear so great that they tremble violently for days on end until they die. One variation involves a teacher who tells a bored group of school children the story, resulting in both children and teacher becoming catatonic and losing their memory.

Kiyotaki Tunnel

Kiyotaki Tunnel

The Kiyotaki Tunnel was built in 1927. Its length is 444 meters (4 is a cursed number in Japan, like 13 for western people). This tunnel has been haunted by all the workers who died while building it under harsh work conditions (like slaves), and those who died in the tunnel because of them.

It is said that ghosts can be seen in this tunnel at night, they can even get in your car and scare you, leading to an accident. There is a mirror in the tunnel. If you look at it and see a ghost, you will die a horrible death.

The length of the tunnel can vary depending on whether you measure it at night or on daytime.

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