9 Japanese Urban Legends That Would Make Great Horror Anime

Want to hear a scary story? These tales will have you looking behind you for an unwanted presence or maybe an anime adaptation. Let’s look at some urban legends from Japan that are scary enough to deserve their own anime.

1. Hitobashira

A long time ago in Japan, humans used to be buried alive under buildings as an offering to the gods in exchange for protection from natural disasters. It was a practice common for lords of castles, and so if you do some digging near castles that stand in Japan today or if the rain is really strong, you might find the remains of a poor servant who died of suffocation.

The Pitch: A student moves into a city that is undergoing renovation after an earthquake. He loves his new friends and the new buildings they’re building, but as each building is completed, his friends disappear one by one.

2. Red Room

Modern legends tell of a pop-up ad that asks “Do you like…?” If you close the ad, it keeps reappearing and the text eventually changes to “Do you like red?” A few clicks later, the pop-up changes again to “Do you like the red room?” accompanied by a a little girl’s voice, at which point you feel a presence behind you. You then die, with your blood painting the walls red.

The Pitch: A female student loses her friend to a mysterious suicide. All she knows is that her friend was visiting a strange site. Eventually, the girl’s curiosity makes her look at the site, which seems pretty normal until she gets the pop-up.

3. Okiku Doll

A boy from Hokkaido bought a doll for his baby sister Okiku, who tragically died shortly afterward. The family decided to keep the doll, but soon found out the hair of the doll was growing. They then offered it to the Mannenji temple, where is sits to this day, its hair still growing. Skeptics conducted an experiment on the hair and found to their surprise that the hair was that of a human girl. No explanation has been found as to why its hair keeps growing.

The Pitch: The Mannenji temple has a mysterious accident, and needs to be reconstructed. During this time, the doll is offered to a relative of the priest. The relative’s family has a boy and a baby girl, who mysteriously gets sicker as the hair of this doll grows.

4. Teke-Teke

Trains are scary. A Japanese woman was waiting for her train when she accidentally fell onto the railway and was sliced in half by the train. She was reborn as a ghost with the lower half of her body missing, and she uses her clawed hangs to drag her body around. If she finds someone at night, she will chase the victim and jump at them to slice them in half with a scythe. Those who are killed this way become Teke-Teke themselves.

The Pitch: A young Japanese man works late at his job. One day, he works extra late and finds his local train isn’t running, so he decides to take a different train. He is waiting at the empty station when he hears “teke…teke…”, the sounds of scratching. He turns to see the Teke-Teke approaching him but he’s able to run away in time. He survives the night, but he must live each day knowing that the Teke-Teke is waiting for him.

5. Tomino’s Hell

Tomino’s Hell is a poem that you should only read with your mind and never aloud. If you’re foolish enough to read it out loud, you will become sick or even die. You could find the poem HERE but I do recommend you don’t read it out loud.

The Pitch: A girl likes to spend her time reading creepypastas online. She finds a community of creepypasta lovers, who eventually introduce her to the poem. They joke that it’s not real and they’ve done it with no side-effects. They then dare the girl into reading it out loud, but as soon as she’s done reading it, she learns the online friends she made are not alive and are actually victims of the poem.

6. Daruma-san

This is a version of a children’s game where you play with your life. It involves you entering a tub of water with the lights off and your eyes closed, chanting “Daruma-san fell down” until you finish washing your hair. Once you get out of the bathtub and go to sleep, the game has begun. A girl will chase you during the day, and the only way to see her is to catch her in the corner of your eye. If she gets too close, you can yell “Tomare!”, giving you time to run away, but the idea is to catch her and say “Kitta!” and cut her with your arm. Find out how to play the game HERE, though I don’t recommend you actually play it.

The Pitch: A girl plays this game and is surprised to find that she is actually being followed. She tries to use the “Kitta!” but it doesn’t seem to work, and the ghost continues to approach her, keeping her from sleeping and slowly making her insane.

7. Himuro Mansion

A building known as Himuro Mansion is one of the most haunted places in Japan. The family who lived there used to perform a gruesome ritual known as “The Strangling Ritual”. A girl would be chosen to be cut off from the outside world and on the day of the ritual, they would attach her limbs to large animals, which would tear her body apart. The last ritual was a failure after a girl fell in love, and so the family was killed. They say only the ghosts of the victims and the family remain.

The Pitch: A girl moves in with her fiance and his family into this mansion. He’s a nice guy but slowly begins to stop her from going outside. She learns that the family are distant relatives of the house’s original family and must escape without raising suspicion from the family.

8. Kekkai

Sometimes, births go wrong. When it goes really wrong, the woman gives birth to a monstrous lump of flesh and hair, which immediately runs off and hides somewhere in the home. It then looks for a chance to murder its own mother.

The Pitch: A family lives in a small rural down away from hospitals so they call a doctor to the home for the birth of their baby. To their horror, it’s a Kekkai, which immediately murders the doctor and hides. The father must play this risky game of hide-and-seek while his wife is weak and recovering from birth.

9. Kisaragi Station

This story originates from 2ch, a Japanese imageboard. An anonymous poster seeks some advice from his fellow netizens, as his train is acting suspicious. It was supposed to stop many minutes ago, but it continues to move for at least 20 minutes. When it finally stops, it lands in Kisaragi Station, or “Devil Station”. The poster who now identifies as Hasumi wanders until he finds a man who offers to help, despite netizens telling him it’s a bad idea. Hasumi finds that the man is acting strangely, and tells the imageboard he’s going to run, but he’s never heard from again. You could find the entire conversation HERE.

The Pitch: Basically a continuation of the story. We follow Hasumi as he escapes the man and tries to find his way back to civilization.

Have a creepypasta you’d like to share? The comment section is yours.

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Just Milo
Milo is a guy who gave up everything he ever loved to watch anime. Once a promising young lad, he now spends his time cosplaying at conventions and frequenting karaoke bars before regressing into hermit mode.
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