Hasshaku Sama Yokai

Hasshaku-sama, translated to ‘Miss Eight-Feet-Tall’, is a Japanese urban legend – who is possibly classified as a modern Yokai interpretation of ‘ Taka-onna’– originating on the Japanese message board 2Chan in 2002. The figure has strong parallels to ‘Slender Man ‘ in the West (invented itself in 2009 via Something Awful) – a sign her figure as a concept is perhaps intrinsically popular. At an intimidating two meters height, her imposing stature is the anomalous feature sure to overshadow most people – her silhouette between definitely terrifying the most stout hearts from such a menacing size. 

mizuki_shigeru_takaonna_tall_woman
Taka-Onna (Tall Woman art by Mizuki Shigeru)

As a similar phenomenon to the modern urban legend, there are historic folklore records in the Wakayama prefecture regarding a female Yokai incredibly tall referred to as ‘Takanyobo’. She was reputedly a scorned wife thrown into a well to die who subsequently stretched into a dazzling height to escape before seeking vengeance. These classical tales provide evidence of a longstanding significance to ‘tall women’ in Japanese folklore, which perhaps inspired this modern variant or reflects an appeal of such characteristics to popular imagination.

The modern tall woman, Hasshaku-sama, is portrayed to wear a wide brim Summer hat and white Summer dress, with an elongated figure to perhaps highlight her height. She lurks around a victim uttering a sound described as a crackling “po” in repetition, tormenting victims for days in creeping manifestations until their inevitable disappearance. Tales of Hasshaku-sama revolves around her primarily stalking and kidnapping children in particular – a prevalent trope in the ‘Creepypasta’ mythos online which might be relatable to the younger audiences these narratives usually attract. It is no doubt Creepypasta serve as an induction to the horror genre in the digital era, mirroring hushed campfire tales amongst teenagers as a trend.

Junji Ito Tomie
Junji Ito’s Tomie taking on the appearance of a bloodied Taka-onna

Except her extraordinary height, which would certainly facilitate quite the stride, Hasshaku-sama supposedly possesses the power of mimicry for familiar voices to entice victims with whom she’s enthralled – ideal against children who may trust their older relatives as an authority. Reportedly, she is a relentless force once fixated – little will deter and hinder her. It is rumoured she may only be impeded from piles of salt as a typically European superstition of a mystical ingredient to counteract spirits. Details, however, are contradictory and varied in accounts as standard for folkloric affairs – time, regions and author all alter records to interpretations. How would you ever know which version is correct, and would you have time to try any concoction?

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