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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

"Kuchisake-Onna" 口裂け女 or Slit-Mouth Woman


A child walking home from school is approached by a strange woman. The woman asks "am I beautiful?"



Although her mouth is covered with an oversized surgical mask, the woman has attractive eyes and seemingly well-formed nose. So the child replies, "Yes, you are beautiful."

"Even if I look like this?" says the woman, taking off her mask and revealing a ghastly red mouth which is slit from ear to ear. While the child is too stunned to move, the woman takes out a scythe from inside her coat and hacks the child to death.

Kuchisake-Onna is one of the most famous faces in Japanese urban legends. Details of her appearance and background, and her method and instrument of killing differ from region to region. Above story is the most commonly told pattern. Her victims are almost always children.

Ways to avoid getting killed by Kuchisake-Onnna:
■When asked "am I beautiful?" you mustn't give her straight yes or no answers (either way you're done for) but give her ambiguous answers such as "so-so", "normal" or "average." Run away while the woman is busy puzzling over the meaning of the answer.
■Sugar candy is the woman's favourite sweets. Throw it to her and you can get away while she drools over it.
■Chanting the word "Pomade" three times would petrify her and buy time for you to run away.
Why "Pomade"?
The usual explanation for the woman's disfigurement is that it is the result of a plastic surgery gone awry. The surgeon who operated on her was wearing pomade and the odour of it was so strong that it made her sick; for that reason chanting "Pomade" to her would remind her of that traumatic experience; hence her reaction. Instead of chanting the word you can also throw an actual jar of pomade at her, which is a more effective form of defense. Smearing pomade into your hair is thought to have an effect on her too.

Her appearance:
She usually wears a long crimson coat, to camouflage the spatters of blood she gets from her victims. She is thin and pale-skinned, and about 20 years old of age. She always wears a surgical mask, but that is not so unusual in Japan where some people wear such masks to avoid passing their cold onto others.

Other rumours:
■Kuchisake-onnna can run 100m in 3 seconds.
■She is one of three sisters. The other two sisters have split mouths too.
■She likes the number 3. She often appears in places which have "three" in their names.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

あまりにも有名な口裂け女だね...横浜に住んでたころ小学生とかがよく話してたな.
その他の噂:に書いてあるのは初めて聞いたよ!

Sayaさんの通訳がダメダメって言ってないぞ.歌の途中から訳すのは無理だと思うと言ったんだよ.

SAYA said...

口裂け女については地域によってかなり違ったりするので、それを全部書くとすごい長い記事になってしまうでしょう。今回は簡潔にまとめましたが、そのうちもっと詳しく書くかもしれません。

たしかに歌の途中から訳すのは難しかったです。とくにあのambiguousな歌詞はね!

steeple333 said...

Oh, I remember this! But I also remember the "100m dash in 3 seconds" thing.

That phrase was also used in the games .hack//GU (vol. 1 specifically) when referring to an online PK (Player Killer - the setting of the game is a MMORPG =3) - "I bet he can run the 100m dash in 3 seconds". Someone else mentioned this monster, and another person replied that part of the story (the dash) was added to convince that you can't run away.

I also heard that throwing fruit at her will make her stop while she eats it.

I like the number three, too. XD Maybe I should make an account somewhere (Gaia, maybe?) with "Kuchisake-Onna".

Anonymous said...

Would telling her she's pretty without the surgical mask on stop her from killing you?

Spirit Kitty said...

Anonymous: Some versions of the story say that you should say she's pretty without the mask and then she won't kill you. However, other versions (and most versions I've seen) say that telling her she's still pretty will either just delay your death or make her angry because she'll think you're lying. Most versions I have seen are like the one Saya posted here.

The Nina said...

Heyya, Saya. Among all the stories here, I dunno why, but this seems to be my favourite. The others are superb too like Monkey Train 8"D

Love your stories. They're so creepy, the make me shudder and drive me into a hysterical state of paranoia which is equivalent to love, mind you XD

The vids are fun to watch but the flash.... *shudders* i watched and played them at 2am in a row so.... you get the idea ><""

More please, Saya-chan onegai~~
Zenbu wa hontou ni sugoi yo. Daisuki! <3

tweakerboy said...

the european version would probably be...bloody mary ;)

Lynn said...

oh i know this! it circulates in Korea as The Red Mask lady and takes the story further. In fact, after taking off the mask, she asks you again "Am I pretty?" if you say yes, she says "Then I'll make you like me" then split your mouth to look ike hers. If you say no, then she'll kill you anyway...

Catty said...

Reminds me of Bloody Mary.

Anonymous said...

For any foreign visitors that don't know, Bloody Mary is an urban legend in America/Europe/maybe other places.

The story goes if you go into a bathroom at night with all the lights turned off, face the mirror, and then say "Bloody Mary" 3 times a woman with a horribly disfigured face will appear in the mirror and kill you in some way, usually by scratching your face off or pulling you into the mirror. This "Bloody Mary" ritual is often performed at children's slumber parties.

See more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Mary_(folklore)

Anonymous said...

Idk if there's batman over there but i think kuchisake onna is the joker's aunt

Anonymous said...

I have seen her! And it was the scariest thing ever, no joke! I was in Japan on vacation, i remember my mom had bought me some candy, which was delicious, i was exploring by myself and went down a type of ally way, thats when i saw her, wearing a black long coat, and surgical mask walking my way. As i was passing her she stopped in front of me and asked if she was beautiful, she asked in japanese, i didnt understand so i didnt answer. Then asked me again but this time in english and of course i smiled and said yes. Then as i was pulling out my candy to eat just as she was pulling the mask off, i saw her face and was horrified, i couldnt move, she saw my candy in my hand and grabbed it, just then i ran as fast as i could. My mom didnt believe me, she thought i was crazy, im never going to japan again!

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What's with the spam?

And what would happen if you sent the Legmonger lady after this woman?

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Sahcnam said...

has anyone noticed that she loves the number 3? and that this post was posted at 3:10? and that this is the 30th comment?! and its 3:17am here... wonder if i want to stay awake until 3:33...

Adit said...

Damn those spamming anons.

Anyway I've read it somewhere that the slit-mouth woman story goes further. When the child saw the woman's slit mouth, instead of being hacked to death then, the child ran away as far as he could until he finds a peddler on a quiet street. Then the child tried to explain to the peddler what he saw before but then he realized that the peddler was faceless (e.g. no eyes, nose, mouth) and then the child froze in terror before being hacked there and then by the slit mouth woman.

This story the scariest of all Japanese urban legends, I think. What could be scarier than a woman with her mouth slit from ear to ear and can outrun and hack you to death you before you can even blink? *shivers*

Levy said...

Personally i like teke-teke better. I don't know why but somehow something creeping very very fast is so much scarier than something runing very fast. Especially if it's just the top half of the body-.-'

Unfortunately i dont really believe in curses. otherwie i'd curse those stupid spammers

Craig! said...

What if instead of giving an answer, one were to say something like, "If you are concerned about your looks, I can recommend an excellent beautician. Here's their business card.", and then leave?

Anonymous said...

HAHA I was reading the latest chapter of tasogare otome x amnesia and it talked about an elementary school student who saw the slit mouth woman. I was thinking "hmm... why does this sound so familiar? OH YEAH!!! I read it on the blog!!" LOL

Saya Yomino said...

@Anon (19 Sept 2013): I'm glad my blog has been an useul source of information to you! XD

Ju-on cx said...

I read one of the comments asking "what would happen if you sent the legmonger after her?" XD probably WWIII.

tragic harmony said...

oh my gosh number 3 is my MOST favorite number every :D

tragic harmony said...

There's a anime,Manga, and movie about it..i read it in wiki.