When studying the occult, you will learn that each culture has its own dealings with the concept of magic. Be it through divine blessings, nature spells, or via the influence of mythical creatures, humans have long had access to a variety of supernatural abilities. But, what about curses? They are the most wretched and wrathful way to use magic since their purpose is to either cause another person hurt or use their pain in your favour.

Japanese curses are particularly terrifying since method, execution, and result are usually all cruel in nature. I am Victor Lacerda and today I’m gonna guide you through Japanese Curses, their methods, and what they do. So come and join me… at your own risk.

The Kotoribako

Everyone likes a good surprise in a box, right? Be it cookies, assorted chocolates, toys, or even digital items with no real-world value, anyone gets an adrenaline rush from getting something cool from a surprise box. That’s the best-case scenario, of course. At worst, you, your family, and all other loved ones are condemned to suffer for the rest of eternity, generations doomed from the very second they’re born for the fact that someone once held a grudge against you. You probably won’t even know the box was ever there!

This is the true horror of the Kotoribako, the Japanese curse box, a cursed item capable of destroying multiple generations of a family to the point of toppling whole governments and maybe even causing citywide disasters. Before we get deeper into this, I’d like to say that I DO NOT RECOMMEND you try this curse. This one is especially dangerous and its consequences will not only befall your enemies but you as well.

The purpose of the Kotoribako is to destroy your target in every possible sense, along with their entire family for generations. Some people believe this curse has its basis on Kodoku, which we discussed some time ago, but this is not confirmed. To work this ritual, you will need a wooden box and a child sacrifice, preferably someone from the target’s family.
After the sacrifice has been… sacrificed. You need it in pieces. Teeth, hair, nails, fingers, blood, all of it goes into the box, which then gets sealed and buried in the targeted family’s land, which will lead them into disaster for years to come.

Like Kodoku, the Kotoribako can be seen in many anime and manga. It’s an important element in the plot of Occultic;Nine and in the manga version of Otherside Picnic, which means we’ll probably see it in the anime’s second season. If horrible things start happening to you and your family out of nowhere for no apparent reason, look for suspicious spots in your garden, places where someone might bury something. Dig the box up and immediately look for a priest or something similar. They might be your only chance.

The Kodoku

Kodoku Japanese Curse

Do you like bugs? I do! Besides looking cool and beautiful, they can do all sorts of crazy stuff and some of them are pretty spooky, more so to some people than to others. Unfortunately, these amazing creatures aren’t for everyone. Most are scared of them, which is understandable, fear of insects is a trait mankind developed to protect itself from them, after all.

The thing about bugs is that they’re very useful. Like them or not, they have an important part in the making of clothes, medicine, and even food. But, long ago, Japan found a way to use them for a more sinister purpose; curses.

The name of this spell is Kodoku, which can be translated as “Curse Poison”. The process consists in gathering a large number of insects or small animals like lizards in a jar and sealing it shut, leaving the creepy crawlies to slaughter each other until only one survives. The last creature standing now hosts a curse. Congratulations! You’ve made one of the most dangerous things on Earth!

But how is it used? The fun thing about Kodoku is how many options it gives you! You can grind the bug and use the poison to kill, control, or cause misfortune to the victim or keep it as a lucky charm to attract untold riches! However, this comes at a price. The insect must be fed to avoid its wrath. If this happens, you must repay everything you got through it equivalently plus interest in silver and gold by putting all your riches beside a road. If you don’t do this, the cursed bug will kill you, devouring you whole. This can be used to the sorcerer’s advantage, however, by giving the creature to an uninformed victim, leading to their eventual demise.

Kodoku is a big theme/plot device in many anime, given how famous the curse is in Japan. The biggest example is probably InuYasha’s main antagonist, Naraku, who did the ritual inside a mountain with dozens of yokai to create a new body for himself. Kodoku is also present in other aspects of his character, such as his use of poison and insects as weapons.

Another example is the Kagewani from the anime of the same name. Created by doing the Kodoku ritual with animals in place of bugs, this frightening creature looks like the shadow of a crocodile and instantly devours whoever comes across its path, hence its name, which means “Shadow Crocodile”.

The Hinnagami

Hinnagami Japanese Curse

One of the most beloved/scariest tropes in horror is the haunted doll. Many iconic characters such as Chucky, Blade from Puppet Master, and even Banette from Pokémon. The prevalence and popularity of these creatures in media is a direct result of their appearance in folklore from all around the world. One example of this is the Japanese Hinnagami, an entity incarnated in the form of a doll. These creatures are typically found in Japan’s Toyama Prefecture.

These spirits, sometimes divine, sometimes profane are powerful enough to grant their owners’ every wish, to the point that, to this day, people believe that if a family grows too rich or too famous out of nowhere, they might have gotten themselves a Hinnagami.

Of course, as with any cursed item, they come with a catch. Once the god inside fulfills a wish, it will ask you for your next wish, chanting “what is next?” until a new mission is given to it. Over time, these entities become obsessed with their owners, even pursuing them in their descent into hell when they die. In an ocean of generic haunted dolls and rituals, the Hinnagami stands out as a powerful yet clingy spirit capable of almost anything for its master.

To construct a Hinnagami, one must collect grave earth that has been trampled by people during the day everyday for three years, preferably from seven different cemeteries in seven different villages. Then, the owner must mix this earth with enough human blood to make the substance clay-like, so that they can mold in the shape of the spirit or god they worship. It must then be left in a street or road to be trampled by one thousand people. Follow these simple steps to get your own Hinnagami!
This isn’t the only method to make a wish granting doll, though. One can also collect a thousand cemetery stones, carve them into nine centimeter long dolls, and then boil them all together in what I assume to be a huge ass pot until only one of them stays afloat. This makes for a special type of Hinnagami called a Kochobbo.

Kashima Reiko

Kashima Reiko Japanese Curse

Have you heard the name ‘Kashima Reiko’? If you have, I’m sorry for you. If you haven’t… Oopsie! Possibly also known as “Teke Teke”, Reiko is a very known Onryo, a Japanese vengeful spirit, and the topic of many schoolyard horror stories.

This ghastly, ghoulish, ghostly gal will make you gloomy when she gets to you with her grisly appearance and guttural, grievous shrieks! Legend has it that she was once a regular kawaii schoolgirl until she just happened to be kidnapped and tortured. After managing to run away, she lost her forces while crossing the railroad on the Meishin Expressway, cutting her body in half. In the Teke Teke version, she is shown as the upper half of a corpse moving on its elbows and carrying a big scythe. It moves extremely fast and its name comes from the sound it makes when it moves.

The Kashima Reiko version isn’t so different in appearance, although it is in behavior. Teke Teke shows up at night to chase you and cut you in half, much like her when she died. It’s a random and erratic violent attack by the spirit of a girl who died an equally violent and terrifying death. Kashima Reiko is a different case. When you learn her name, you are instantly cursed to meet her within a month. And she WILL cut you in half, but not before asking you a question: “do you know where my legs are?”

If you give her the wrong answer, she’ll kill you. This is a vengeful, cruel spirit deadset on making the biggest number of people possible suffer as much as she did. Now that I’ve cursed you, the least I can do is help you survive, right? Tell Reiko her legs are in the Meishin Expressway. Alternatively, you can chant a little spell: “Kamen Shinin Ma”, which translates to “Mask Death Demon”, possibly the basis for the girl’s name.

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