Japanese Scary Stories: Aka Manto

  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?

    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 fourth in a series of articles based on Japanese Scary Stories. This is the story of the Red Cape (Aka Manto).

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    The Legend

    This is yet another legend about bathrooms (In Japan bathrooms seem to be the most terrifying place imaginable). In this legend, if you are sitting in the last stall in the bathroom, you may hear a mysterious voice. The voice will ask you, “Do you want blue paper or red paper?”

    If you choose red paper, you will be sliced apart until your clothes are stained red with blood. Were you to choose blue paper, you will be strangled until your face turns blue.

    If you try to be clever, and outsmart the Red Cape by choosing a non-mentioned third option, or keeping silent, a hand will come out of the toilet you are sitting on and pull you down into the underworld.

    The only option you have is to answer, “No paper.” This will assure your safety, and the Red Cape will leave you alone.

    Alternative Versions

    In some versions, if you answer red paper; the Red Cloak will rip the skin off your back and tie it around your shoulders giving you a red cape. If you answer blue paper, the Red Cape will suck all the blood out of your body, leaving only a blue husk.

    Another version of the story involves two police officers: a male and female officer. They were responding to reports of a mysterious male voice in the girls bathroom. The female officer went into the bathroom while her male partner waited outside. From the outside, the male officer heard a voice ask his partner, “Shall we put on the red vest?” He heard his partner say, “yes”. He heard a terrible scream and a thud. He burst into the bathroom to find his partner beheaded, and her vest soaked in blood, turning it red.