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A Japanese Urban Legend

In 1979, when I was 9 years old, all the children of Japan came face to face with a terror that they had not ever experienced before.
The terror, her name was 口裂け女 (Kuchi-sake Onna). She was supposed to be a young woman in her twenties with long black hair. She always wears a white mask, you know, the kind a surgeon wears during an operation.

She would stop you on your way home from school, and ask you....
「私、きれい?」 "Am I beautiful?"

OK, if you have ever been in a relationship with a woman, you know the correct answer, but
NOT with THIS woman!!!

You answer YES, and that is when she slowly removes the mask to reveal her mouth.... a mouth that is ripped all the way up to her ears!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then she asks, "How about now?"

If you answer YES again, she says "then I will make you look just like me!!!" and cuts you with a knife.
If you answer NO to the first question, she gets upset, and yes, cuts you with a knife.

The ONLY way to come out of it alive with your mouth intact is to answer "Normal" to the question "Am I beautiful?".
I don't know how and where this had originated but by the summer of 1979, it was all over Japan.

The police was flooded with the reports of sightings by kids AND adults and some schools, like mine, instructed the students to go home in groups.
Sure, we kids were making fun of the whole thing and playing Kuchisake Onna during recesses asking each other わたし、きれい?
But I know deep inside, we were scared. I, for one, was terrified. Everytime I spotted a woman with long hair, I would think to myself, "Could she be???".
She was all over the media, too. All the major TV stations aired special programs about her. They were reporting that her gruesome appearance was the result of a botched facelift while others said her mouth was cut during a root canal procedure at a dentist.

Like any popular urban legends, soon the tale of Kuchisake Onna started to get a little too over the top. As the more detailed "back story" of this woman was spread (by whom? we never knew), we learned that she could run 100 meters in 6 seconds ( some said 3 ) so trying to run was no use, that there were more than one Kuchisake Onna ( there was a talk that she had several sisters ), etc.

Even for a gullible child of 9, this was getting a little silly. When I heard that she could actually FLY, I realised that she was nothing but a hoax.
As we headed into the summer vacation, she just went away.

We will always remember that spring. The spring of 口裂け女、、、

I heard that she was made into a movie in recent years. I just might check it out.


Being a generation older than you are, mine was 蛇女 by 梅図かずお.

I remember begging my mom and dad on my knees to allow me to sleep in their bedroom and dragged my futon in... 😆

In a company I used to work at, there was a girl that a friend and I didn't like. We always called her 蛇女!
You mean ヘビ少女!! I used to LOVE that manga... It WAS really scary. Remember when the girl starts crawling like a snake??? The couple who raised me had a daughter who was a few years older than me and she was a huge fan of those "少女ホラー漫画"s, so I used to read them a lot. lol
I googled and found that the series that scared me was まだらの少女.It was in it that the word 蛇おんな was used. I think similar series followed, including ヘビ少女.

I also found the author's name is 楳図 rather than 梅図 … 😌
Now I really want to read them again.... I might have to buy them on yahoo auction or something. 😆

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