Welcome to another Chest of Mysteries! Today we're gonna talk about Japan Urban Legends! This is the first of many, many parts! so let's dig in!
While we are in high school, it's quite normal to hear urban legends involving the school. Presence of ghosts that run the corridors and girls' bathroom. But in Japan, these ghosts are an important part of local folklore. Mainly those that are related to bathrooms.
Michael Dylan, without his book The Book of Yôkai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore, explains how a bathroom is an unusual place. A space where there is a connection with the paranormal. One of the most famous bathroom ghosts is Toire in Hanako-san or Hanako's bathroom.
Like most urban legends, the details of Hanako's origin vary according to the cultural source. There are those who say that it is a spirit of a young woman who died in World War II and now haunts toilets. She wears an old red uniform and a student-style cut. She can be summoned/invoked by going to the bathroom on the third floor, knocking three times on the door and saying, "Are you there, Hanako-san?" She may answer, "Yes, here I am," and a hand will appear. And if at that moment someone will enter the bathroom and everyone could be devoured by a three-headed crocodile. Hanako's legend became so famous that it became a television and anime series.
Another urban legend involving toilets is that of Kashima Reiko. A ghost of a young woman who haunts bathroom in Japan. Legend tells how Reiko died to lose her legs in a train accident and now goes through the bathroom asking the visitors, "Where are my legs?". They say the correct answer is: "On the Meishin train." If you do not say that, she'll rip your legs off.
These Japanese spirits that are supposed to be found in the bathrooms are beings created to remind us of the vulnerability of nudity in personal hygiene places. Therefore, according to local customs, the bathroom is just a place where you should not make more than necessary.
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