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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Suspension Bridge

(Translated by Saya)
This is a true story that really happened to my friend, although he never told me the exact location where it took place.
The incident caused two deaths, and he himself had to be quesitoned by the police over and over again.
I heard the story in question from my friend while we were still at college...

It happened when my friend and his six coworkers at his part-time job went for a drive to a suspension bridge in a certain prefecture in the Chugoku region.*1
They split off and drove separately in two cars.

My friend was the driver of the second car.
In the first car which drove ahead of him, there were the manager and a couple, and in his own car there were the remaining four people including himself.

Although they set off in the morning, due to the many stops they made on the way, the sun was already setting when they arrived at the suspension bridge.
The suspension bridge ran across a deep valley in the middle of a mountain.
As they approached the bridge, it began to drizzle, and fog started swirling around them.

There was an open space in front of the bridge, and if the weather were fine, they would have parked their cars in there and crossed the bridge to the other side on foot and come back.
(The other side of the bridge was a dead end. The bridge was left there for sight-seeing.)
However, the moment they reached the open space, the first car came to an abrupt halt. 
"What are they doing...?"
The four people, who were inside the second car which also stopped about 10 metres behind the first car, had no clue as to why the manager stopped his car. For some minutes, those in the second car just sat there looking on.



But the first car made no attempt to move, so my friend tried to open the door and go over to there to see what was happening, but right at the same time, the couple who sat in the back seat of the first car flew out of the car.
Alarmed, my friend too got out of his car, and tried to walk over to them and ask them, "What happened?" but the couple, with their hands joined, started sprinting, and in a flash, they climbed over the guard rail at the edge of the open space, and threw themselves down the valley.
The four of them were totally astounded, and ran to the guard rail and looked down the valley, but they couldn't see anything because of the thick fog.

They couldn't believe what had just happened and stood in a daze for a moment, but soon they remembered about the manager and walked back to the first car to see if he was alright.
The manager was in the driver's seat, his hands tightened on the steering wheel until the white of his knuckles showed through his skin; and he kept muttering under his breath:
"Mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go."

They couldn't do anything else but call the police.
The police soon arrived on the scene, and the deranged manager was taken away in an ambulance.

As might be expected, the couple was later found dead.
The rest of the people in the group had to endure a seemingly endless interrogation by the police, but in the end it was concluded that the couple committed a double suicide.


My friend later paid a visit to the manager in the hospital, and asked the manager what happened on that day.
The manager told him that, as they drew near to the bridge, a girl dressed in an old-fashioned kimono suddenly appeared out of the fog.
The startled manager immediately stepped on the brake and stopped the car.
The girl wore her hair short and was dressed like someone in a historical drama or from the Meiji period*2, and she was somehow smiling at him.

A girl with short hair in kimono
He was creeped out and thought perhaps he should run away, when he realised that the car was already surrounded by a group of children who were dressed in a similar fashion to the girl.
The manager sensed he was in a danger and promplty began chanting a mantra.
The children who surrounded the car joined their hands together and started singing:
"Kagome~ Kagome~ The bird in the cage ~..." *3
At the same time, the manager heard the children's voices in his head, saying, "Come with us, come with us, come with us..."
The manager gripped the steering wheel and muttered "mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go mustn't go..." and kept chanting the mantra.
Then the next moment, the couple who sat in the back seat got out of the car,  joined their hands with the children, and together they all started running.
And then they climbed over the guard rail... towards the valley....

"Of course the police didn't believe my story. I'm not even sure myself whether it was real or not."
The manager said at the end of his story.

Another person who was with us and listening to my friend's story chuckled, saying, "You sure are good at making up a story!"
But my friend said, "It's true, that was how they died."
I also think it is true.



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The Chugoku Region
*1 The Chugoku region - the westernmost region of Honshū, the largest island of Japan. It consists of the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. (Wikipedia)

*2  The Meiji Period - a Japanese era which extended from October 23, 1868, to July 30, 1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which Japanese society moved from being an isolated feudal society to a Westernised form. Fundamental changes affected its social structure, internal politics, economy, military and foreign relations. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji (Wikipedia)

Children playing kagome kagome
 *3 Kagome Kagome - is a Japanese children's game and the song associated with it. One player is chosen as the oni (literally demon or ogre, but similar to the concept of "it" in tag) and sits blindfolded (or with their eyes covered). The other children join hands and walk in circles around the Oni while chanting the song for the game. When the song stops, the Oni tries to name the person standing directly behind them.

The song is a subject of much interest because of its cryptic lyrics which vary from region to region, and many theories exist about its meaning, but neither have been definitely explained. (See Wikipedia  for the meaning of lyrics and some of the theories regarding the song)

The video below: Kagome Kagome song


Here is a theory that was not on Wikipedia:
In olden times, it was not rare for the families in poor villages to sell their own children.
Kagome Kagome was a ritual to decide which child would be sold.
When they finished singing "Who stands behind you now?" the child who stood behind the child at the centre was chosen as the one who would be sold.
The child at the centre would normally be Oni, but in this ritual the child would act as a god's medium.
Because it was considered as a god's will, no one could raise an objection against the decision. 

24 comments:

  1. So creepy..and if the theory is true, so sad!

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    1. There is another theory that says the song is about miscarriage. Either way it's sad and creepy!

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  2. If I'd been in the manager's shoes, I would have started shouting "I AIN'T COMING WITH ANY SPOOKY GHOST CHILDREN! BEGONE!".

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    1. You are gonna scare the poor ghost children... XD

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  3. Isn't there an extra person of the group? 3 in the 1st car and 4 in the other. I suppose one person of that couple in the first car could be from anothet realm.

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    1. My count was off. It has the right number of people. Now my second thought was the 2 cars can only hold 4 people each and the manager's car has a vacant space to invite something over, so only those occupants could see the kids.

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    2. Interesting! Thank you :D Reminds me of one of the My Master series episodes!

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  4. Of course it had to be children. I, as an adult, always have my guard down when it comes to children. If a child ghost were to abduct me I would be gone.

    Also, the couple "flew" out of the car? Did they hurriedly get out or did the ghost children carry them?

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    1. It meant they hurriedly left the car, but ghost children certainly had a role in it! :D

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  5. こわいですね. I don't think I have ever seen a television show, movie, or anime where the Kagome song does not lead to something supernatural and bad, Very creepy.

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    1. 本当にこわい!:D I was surprised to find quite a lot of web pages dedicated to the Kagome song, both on Japanese and English websites.

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    2. Did not know the kanji for ほんとう but I guessed that is what that was and this time I was right on my guess!

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    3. Well done! :D ほんとうに、すごい!

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  6. Such a great story, gave me the chills! Spirits in bridges and on the road are just always so spooky. The manager really dodged a bullet there, I think he'd have been entranced and driven to his death if he didn't chant the mantra... kind reminds me of sirens, now that I think about it.

    And just like George said, the Kagome Kagome song seems to always lead to creepy stuff, I've seen enough horror movies with it involved xD! I do find it to be cool though, and I've memorized the lyrics thanks to Fatal Frame 2 (iirc).
    Kagome kagome, kago no naka no torii wa, itsu itsu deyaru, yoake no ban ni, tsuru to kame ga subetta, ushiro no shoumen daaare? :D
    Anyway, thank you very much for your hard work translating stories for us, as usual! Take care and stay safe

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    1. Oh hey, I just finished Fatal Frame 2 recently! What a wonderfully creepy game that was :D

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    2. Hey, that's really nice, glad to hear there's still people playing it (and enjoying it!) nowadays :D! It's easily my favorite horror game, the atmosphere, the OST, the story... everything is perfect.
      I've been meaning to replay it, will try to do it in my vacations this year.

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    3. I have never played Fatal Frame! What a shame!

      Wow you are so good that you hae memorized the lyrics! XD

      I played Kagome Kagome as a child too. At the time I didn't know that it came with so many creepy urban legends! XD

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    4. Oh and Gabriel, thank you for your kind words as usual! Take care and be happy too! :D

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    5. Aw it's a shame you never played it, but that means you could do it some day :D! And aw thanks, I think I memorized it just because it's kinda catchy? And it isn't too complicated xD

      And wow to think you played it, I did wonder if it was still something kids would do nowadays or just an old tradition! But I guess a lot of nursery rhymes can kinda have a spooky meaning to it if you think about it. Like, "There was a crooked man who walked a crooked mile"... and such!

      Anyway, thanks a lot for your kindness as well! Likewise, wish you a happy weekend ^^

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  7. Ohhh. I watched a movie where ppl play Kagome Kagome too.. And it doesnt end that well too. Well.. It was smt i hope i dont have to watch see anymore in a movie. The movie was Kami-sama no Iu Torii by the way

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    1. Oh nice :D I will check out the movie, haha. Thank you.

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  8. kagome kagome was always a creepy song to me

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  9. ahh kid ghosts... always tricky. i feel like if a bunch of kids surrounded my car id be like, hey this is dangerous! and beep my horn a bunch.

    kagome kagome does appear in a lot of horror! just like in english, there's a lot of us horror movies that feature spooky children singing too. i think "ring around the rosie" is the most popular, and like kagome kagome also has a popular, scary interpretation about its lyrics being about the bubonic plague in europe. especially since the last lines are "we all fall down", like fall down dead.

    fun how theres cross cultural similarities in horror!

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    1. It does remind me of Ring a Ring a Roses too! :D

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