Every culture has ghost stories and scary urban legends. 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.
This is the second in a series of articles based on Japanese Scary Stories. This is the story of the Slit Mouthed Woman (Kuchi-Sake Onna).
Toshiro and his best friends Taro and Kenichi were walking home one evening after a late baseball practice session. As they were walking home, joking and pushing each-other, they saw a tall woman appear in front of them as if out of nowhere. She had a long brown coat, long jet-black hair, and a pale face. Most of her face was covered by a white surgical mask. While she didn’t seem so intimidating, she had an aura of danger about her that scared the boys.
They turned around to walk the other direction, but there she was again. She walked toward them, the boys could not move for terror. First she looked at Kenichi, “Am I pretty?” Kenichi confusedly stammered, “No”.
She suddenly pulled out a pair of big rusty scissors, and plunged them into Kenichi’s chest. Toshiro and Taro tried to run again, but no matter which way they turned she would appear in front of them. Next, she asked Taro, “Am I pretty?” Taro replied, “Yes, Yes! Very pretty”.
The woman reached up, pulling off her mask. Each side of her mouth had been sliced open to her ears. “How about now?” she asked. “No” Taro said. The woman took the scissors and cut Taro in half.
Finally, she looked at Toshiro and asked him the same questions. Toshiro answered yes both times. The woman smiled, and lifted the bloody scissors. She grabbed his face, forcing his mouth open. She cut his face to be like hers, “Now you look like me”…
This story seems to originate from Nagasaki in the mid to late 1970s. It might be based on a true story of a woman with cuts on her face who was hit by a car while chasing children. Rumors spread around small towns in Japan where some people believed they were true. Townspeople went so far as to close schools for days while they investigated.
Since the stories inception, a few ways of surviving the Slit Mouthed Woman have emerged. One is to answer ambiguously, this will confuse her and you can escape. Another way is to throw some candy, which she will pick up leaving you time to possibly escape. Finally, you can parrot her question back at her, “Am I pretty?” This will also confuse her.