Japan is home to some very scary urban legends and myths, but they have some weird ones as well.

Here are some of the strangest urban legends from Japan!


1. 1932 Tokyo Fire and Women’s Panties


On December 16, 1932, the eight-story Shirokiya Department Store caught fire in Tokyo, leading to 14 deaths. Rumor has it that saleswomen in kimono were forced onto the roof and refused to jump into safety nets held by firefighters out of fear of exposing themselves. Traditionally, women did not wear undergarments with their kimonos.

It is believed after the incident, the store management ordered all saleswomen to wear undergarments with their kimono, and this practice would slowly spread across Japan. However, despite the prevalence in textbooks, this notion has never been proven true. In fact, it has recently been believed that the myth was spread by European news outlets.

2. Cursed Kleenex Commercial

In 1986, Kleenex released three commercials exclusive to Japan. As you can see in the above ad, many viewers found them to be unsettling, and a number of “curses” began to circulate.

Rumors began that the song “It’s a Fine Day” was German curse (despite being sung in English), and it led to crew members meeting untimely deaths. The biggest incident would happen to the lead actress in the ads, Keiko Matsuzaka. She would go on to die, or be institutionalized, or give birth to a demon child. None of those actually happened, as Keiko still acts today.

3. Red Room Curse

Red Room Curse

The legend is based on an interactive Flash horror animation. An internet pop up will appear on your computer, and a recording will ask “Do you like the red room?” Even if you close the pop up, it will keep reappearing until the recording finishes asking the question. Shortly after, the viewer will be killed and their room will be painted red with their own blood.

The urban legend gained notoriety after it was discovered that the schoolgirl who committed the Sasebo Slashing had the Flash animation in her favorites on her computer.

4. Curse of the Colonel


Sports curses are not exclusive to Europe and the United States! According to Hanshin Tigers fans, Colonel Sanders of KFC is the reason why the baseball team has failed to win a championship since 1985!

After the teams first and only championship win, Hanshin Tigers fans threw a statue of Colonel Sanders into the Dōtonbori River in Osaka. Ever since the event, the Hanshin Tigers have failed to win another championship, despite being able to put together talented teams. Fans believe the curse will be lifted once the original statue is recovered. As of today, Colonel Sanders’ left hand and glasses are still missing from the statue.

5. Kiyotaki Tunnel


The Kiyotaki Tunnel is considered one of the scariest places in Japan. Originally, the location was used as a place for executions during the Namboku Period. The tunnel was built in 1929, and the yellow lights and moss covering are said to have an unsettling effect on drivers.

However, rumors of deadly ghosts exploded after a girl committed suicide by hanging herself near the tunnel. Ever since the event, stories of ghosts trying to assault drivers have spread.

What do you think are the strangest urban legends from Japan?

I love all things that are cute, magic-based, and easy going! My biggest obsessions of all time are Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches and Fairy Tail. Let's go shipping!
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