Japan is best known for Mt. Fuji and its beautiful Cherry Blossoms but it is also known for unique trends like Cosplay (where one dresses up as a specific character), Kigurumi (the word itself means combination of two Japanese words: kiru or to wear and nuigurumi or stuffed toy. Those who do kigurumi wear life-sized costumes of cute stuffed toys), love hotels, cuddle cafes, and, of course, really haunting horror movies. In line with this, there is one urban legend that started more than 70 years ago but remains to frighten people all over the country.
Individuals doing Kigurumi cosplay. Link: http://www.origami-day.fr/decouvrez-les-kigurumis/
A photo of a Cosplayer in Japan. Link: https://thebbb.net/japan-pedia/329-cosplayer.html
What Is This Urban Legend All About?
According to the ghost stories in Japan, there are spirits roaming around everywhere even in places that you least expect them to be – such as a bathroom stall. In Japan, bathrooms are really scary places to be alone at because a girl named Hanako-san might just drag you to hell or scare the hell out of you.
Per the stories in Japan about this girl, one would know that she has decided to occupy the third stall of the bathroom of a school if an “out of order” sign is at its door despite being taken down the day before. The sign will reportedly re-appear whatever measures are done to take it down. Another sign is that someone would be heard talking at that specific bathroom stall and doors would also be slammed. Once these supposed signs happen, world will get out and the dares will begin as to who can summon Hanako-san.
As for how Hanako-san looks like, many say that she has very pale skin and always wear a red skirt. She sports a bob ‘do.
How Hanako-san reportedly looks like. Link: http://jpninfo.com/10755
How Do You Summon Hanako-san?
Unlike other ghost stories, it is believed that Hanako-san will only appear if you summon her. She won’t be there waiting for you and there is a specific method as to how she will reportedly appear. Accordingly, you must first stand really close to the door of the third stall. Next, knock three times and then ask, “Are you there Hanako-san?” If she really is there, she would reportedly reply, “Yes I am here.”
What Happens After You Summon Hanako-san?
There are varying stories about what would happen after you summon Hanako-San. Some say that a hand will bust through the door of the third bathroom stall then the person who summoned her will be dragged to hell. Another is that the stall door will seemingly open slightly then the person is actually given the chance to run. However, if the person’s curiosity gets the best of him or her and decides to open the door, Hanako-san will reveal herself after the bathroom stall door is fully opened. It is unclear if the person who would be brave enough to open the door would also get killed and dragged to hell.
Why Is Hanako-San Haunting School Bathrooms?
Nobody really knows why Hanako-san is terrorizing school-aged kids but others say she might be lonely and want someone to play with. On the other hand, others claim she has saved kids who were bullied.
Accordingly, Hanako-san lived during the World War II era. She was using the bathroom and a bomb fell on top of the school building that she was attending. The girl was reportedly trapped and was never saved.
Another story claims that Hanako-san was playing hide and seek with her friends and she decided to hide on the third bathroom stall. As the story goes, bomb was dropped on that part of the building, which caused her death.
Also, others claim that Hanako-san was a victim of bullying. Accordingly, on one particular day, she could not take the bullying anymore so she hid in the third bathroom stall. The other kids tried to get her out of the bathroom stall but she locked herself there until everyone left. In the morning, school staff saw Hanako-san lifeless inside the bathroom stall because she reportedly took her own life.
Because of the popularity of Hanako-san, many producers and directors have made movies out of the urban legend. There was one in the 90s and in 2014.
Variations Of Hanako-San
There are also other ghost stories regarding ghosts haunting bathroom stalls. One is that of Kashima Reiko. She reportedly got beaten by a group of guys and was left to die. She tried to get help but became unconscious in the middle of train tracks. She was then hit by a train and she was cut in half. Now, she roams in school bathrooms and asks school-aged kids where her legs are. If she is not satisfied with a kid’s answer, she will reportedly tear that person’s legs.
A fan art showing Kashima Reiko. Link: https://www.taringa.net/posts/paranormal/16831535/La-Leyenda-De-Kashima-Reiko.html
There is also a male version of Hanako-san and his name is Aoi or Aka Manto. He reportedly asks anyone who enters the last stall at the girl’s bathroom, “Which do you prefer, the red paper or the blue paper.” If they choose red, they will get killed by having their neck or back slashed with a blade numerous times. If they choose blue, they will get killed via hanging.
How Aka Manto reportedly looks like. Link: http://www.cuentosdeterror.mx/aka-manto-fantasma-del-bano/aka-manto-el-fantasma-del-bano-1