It is a pleasure to research weird internet mysteries, above all, when they come from Japan. Due to the language barrier and its distinctive online culture, creepy stuff that originated in this country seems unusually eerie even for the most well-versed fans of the uncanny.
Since I am a fellow seeker of disturbing content, I have compiled my own Top 7 Disturbing Japanese Urban Mysteries and Legends. If you are at least one bit of a weirdo like me, I bet these will be interesting enough to pique your interest. Just be careful! Grimoire of Horror is not responsible for all the hours spent falling into these unnerving rabbit holes researching.
Shoutout to Sakura Stardust’s YT channel for the info.
Disturbing Japanese Urban Legends & Mysteries
- The Disappearing Sand Statue
- Cursed Yahoo Answers Post
- Kisaragi Station
- Bukken Gazo Josei
- The Akihabara Tape
- Saki Sanobashi (Go For a Punch)
The Disappearing Sand Statue
AC Japan’s PSAs are not a joking matter. While most of them get their point across, others are just as effective as disturbing. Don’t believe me? Search “Kitchen Mother Japanese Commercial” on Youtube and watch.
Anyway, now for the really mysterious stuff. Another creepy PSA is named “The Disappearing Sand Statue”. There you can see two sand statues of an adult and a child in front of the sea. Some seconds pass, and, once the waves reach them, they fall apart. The message here is to warn about the danger of rising sea levels due to global warming.
Curiously, the mystery is not about them but about what you can see on the horizon. In the waves crashing in the top right corner, you can see a black shape resembling a person reaching out for help, only to later disappear. A popular urban legend says that the commercial might have caught on camera a drowning by accident.
This is not confirmed, and some say the shape was just a local surfer in the distance. Whatever it is, once you see it, you can’t unseen it.
Cursed Yahoo Answers Post
This one is a nostalgic return to the early 2000s internet days before Reddit. Yahoo Answers was often a hotbed of embarrassing questions that made you lose hope in humanity. One post in particular, reached new levels of cursed due to its subject matter.
In 2012 a worried mother asked for advice, explaining that her teenage daughter had a bad habit of…compulsively making herself happy. That’s not the reason why this post is disturbing, though. The woman then proceeds then to explain how she has been dealing with the situation.
At some point, she candidly admits that she has been researching ways to stop the problem surgically. She then explains that she is having trouble finding a willing surgeon to do the job, but that in Africa they do that with a knife or scissors, so that might be an option. When she mentioned this to the daughter, she obviously did not take it well and promised to stop. However, the mother is not convinced.
We can only hope this post is fake because if so, this is abuse plain and simple. If it is not real, I am relieved but also worried about the person who created this story. Seriously, WTF?!
The Kisaragi Station urban legend is an interesting series of posts made on 2chan in 2004. It tells the story of a girl named Hasumi who suddenly finds herself on a train that does not seem to stop. People around are asleep so she is the only one who seems to notice this oddity. Soon, Hasumi arrives at Kisaragi Station. She gets off and calls her parents for help. However, they can’t find the station on the map at all.
The posts stop when Hasumi says a strange man offered help and that she can hear the sound of drums in the distance. The legend says that Hasumi ended up in an alternative reality or the spiritual realm, and she has never been found since then.
Obviously, this is just a story, but you have to admit it is creepy. Many derivative works have been created from it, including a manga chapter, a song, commemorative train tickets, and a soon-to-be-released motion picture. One can only wonder if the author is aware of how popular their posts got and where they got the inspiration to write something so unsettling.
Bukken Gazo Josei
Looking for a new place to live is always a pain. You check real state listing after real state listing and most of the time you have no luck finding a place that is both nice and within your budget. However, sometimes you can stumble upon an apartment that might not be what you are looking for, but seems creepy in an interesting way.
In 2011, a listing for an apartment in the Okayama prefecture was posted. At first glance, the place looks okay until you reach a photo of the closet in the bedroom. There you can see what seems to be a woman with long black hair hiding behind the door. Someone familiar with movies like Ju-On and The Ring can only guess where this could go.
It is totally possible that the owner just wanted to be funny or that they posted a silly picture by accident, but it definitely did not do any favors for the property. I don’t know about you, but while the logical explanation makes sense, I would not be willing to risk it.
The Akihabara Tape
In the late 90s, during a shopping trip to Akihabara, someone bought a cassette tape for 50 yen in a discount box outside a thrift store. Surely, expecting to find nothing noteworthy and use the tape to record something over, the person stumbled upon something noteworthy.
At first, it seemed to be your usual mixtape full of the 80s-90s hits, but in the middle of it, the person found a song he could not recognize. It sounded ominous, and the lyrics had an eerie feel to them, talking about fading away tragically. Despite the internet’s efforts and tons of false leads, to this day no one knows where this song came from.
There are many theories, like being one of the last works of the late Yukiko Okada or being just a high-quality never released demo tape. However, this mystery became really popular when someone posted it to Nico Nico Douga and, allegedly, made the track time bar glitch out of nowhere. This, along with people commenting feeling “cursed” after listening, added more creepiness to the whole story.
True or not, it is fair to say the song is kind of odd for the usual city pop standards and it is even more surprising that no one can find the artist who made it yet despite all the searching efforts.
Saki Sanobashi (Go For a Punch)
While this mystery did not begin in Japan, it still deserves a place in this list because it is inspired heavily by anime. In 2015, someone posted on 4chan asking a simple question: “What’s the most ***** up thing you have seen on the Deep Web?”.
Skipping all the explanations as to why this question exudes naivety and inaccuracy on all things ‘Deep Web’, one reply stood out. Someone allegedly said to have seen something that really messed them up. The traumatized OP described an anime in which a group of high school girls is trapped in a bathroom with no food and no escape. Once their sanity started to slip, they began to kill each other or themselves in the most gruesome way possible.
According to this person, the anime was 30 minutes long, had an 80s aesthetic, and had no discernible title card or credit. However, they remembered something along the lines of “Go for a Punch” in the file title. Many efforts to find this OVA have been made but so far there is no luck.
There is a huge chance that Saki Sanobashi’s post was pure trolling, but it surely hit all the right nostalgic buttons. As it is, it probably does not exist, but we know it could definitely be somewhere in another form.
Do you remember a commercial that scared you when you were little? Maybe it wasn’t that scary, but somehow made you feel uneasy and break into a cold sweat when it was on TV. For many, “Hitogata” (White Humans) was that commercial.
The origin of this urban legend dates back to 2004 in the Japanese message board 2chan in a thread about memorable, scary TV ads. In one of the replies, someone described an ad where two white human figures appear on a black background. According to the OP’s account, there is a repetitive sound, while a voice says: “Every two seconds, a man dies on Earth”. Then, the figures disappear and reappear in tandem to the rhythm of the sound.
Many users remember seeing something similar and feeling just as frightened. However, no one could pinpoint exactly where and when they saw this commercial. That’s how the search for “Hitogata” began, and it keeps going until today. There is also a high chance this is nothing more than a mass delusion or a case of the Mandela effect, but it is interesting to see how many seem to remember something that might never have existed in the first place.
PS: There is a high chance this PSA is Hitogata, or it might have inspired the legend, but it’s still unconfirmed.
More on Folklore and Urban Legends
In 2015, someone posted on 4chan asking a simple question: “What’s the most ***** up thing you have seen on the Deep Web?” Skipping all the explanations why this question… “Probation officer Cathy Madden is given the task of rehabilitating notorious killer ‘Bloody’ Mary Laidlaw back into society after she was imprisoned 20 years earlier for butchering her husband with… Veteran actress Veronica (Alice Krige) has just undergone a double mastectomy and has decided to go to a secluded retreat with her nurse in order to heal both physically and… Ken Niimura is a Spanish-Japanese artist who employs a simplified, endearing style to share three stories in this volume of the taboo. Taking inspiration from the Japanese tales he heard…
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In 2015, someone posted on 4chan asking a simple question: “What’s the most ***** up thing you have seen on the Deep Web?” Skipping all the explanations why this question…
“Probation officer Cathy Madden is given the task of rehabilitating notorious killer ‘Bloody’ Mary Laidlaw back into society after she was imprisoned 20 years earlier for butchering her husband with…
Veteran actress Veronica (Alice Krige) has just undergone a double mastectomy and has decided to go to a secluded retreat with her nurse in order to heal both physically and…
Ken Niimura is a Spanish-Japanese artist who employs a simplified, endearing style to share three stories in this volume of the taboo. Taking inspiration from the Japanese tales he heard…
Hi everyone! I am Javi from the distant land of Santiago, Chile. I grew up watching horror movies on VHS tapes and cable reruns thanks to my cousins. While they kinda moved on from the genre, I am here writing about it almost daily. When I am not doing that, I enjoy reading, drawing, and collecting cute plushies (you have to balance things out. Right?)