Japanese Scary Stories: Teke Teke

  • CULTURE
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?

    Every culture has ghost stories and scary urban legends. As I was a child, my brothers and I would sit around the campfire or the fireplace in our house, and tell scary stories.
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    Scary urban legends and ghost stories can shed a lot of light on the culture of the place and the people where the story is based. Instead of writing a single article with a lot of the different stories, I want to look at several different stories in depth over a series of articles. This is the story of Teke Teke.

    The Legend

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    One night Satoshi was walking home. His cram school had just let out, and it was nearing 10 pm. As he passed through a neighborhood, he saw a beautiful young girl near the top of an abandoned building. She was leaning out the window, with her elbows propped on the windowsill. She looked down at him, contempt and jealousy hiding behind her eyes.

    Suddenly, the girl jumped out of the window. Shocked, Satoshi could do nothing but watch her fall. When the girl landed, Satoshi realized the horrible truth. She had only half a body. Her lower half looked to have been cut off by something.

    Satoshi remembered hearing on the news about a recent tragedy, where a girl was accidentally pushed off a train platform and onto the train tracks. The train cut her in half, killing her.

    But she was right here, in front of him. She started dragging herself toward him, a scythe in one hand. As she skittered toward him on her elbows and claw like hands, a “teke teke” sound echoed around him.

    Before he could move, she pushed off her elbows swinging her scythe at his midsection. Satoshi felt the scythe tear through him, and soon nothing. As he lay on the ground, blackness closing in around him, he saw her hate-filled face hovering above his. A look of triumph crossed it. That would be the last thing he would ever see…

    Alternative Version

    There is an alternative version. In this version the Teke Teke ghost, is named Kashima Reiko, and haunts bathrooms after having fallen on the train tracks. If she spots you in the bathroom she will brandish her scythe, and ask you, “Where are my legs?” If you answer incorrectly, she will cut you in half. If you answer, “On the Meishin line.” She might let you live.

    Origins

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    Teke Teke is an onryo, a vengeful spirit. I could not find any documented origin of the Teke Teke legend, but onryo legends go back to the 8th Century and continue in various forms.