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Goin’ Japanesque!

4 Recent Mysterious Urban Legends in Japan whose Truth Is Still Unknown

Japan is a country where topics such as yokai monsters are still familiar topics in everyday life.

The people of the country have passed down many legends and supernatural stories since ancient times.

This time I summarized 4 urban legends that became a hot topic among Japanese people in the past.

 

1. Jinmenken: A Dog with a Human Face

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This is a monster widely spoken about, primarily among grade-schoolers from 1989 to 1990.

The name is direct description of how the monster looks, and its shape is a dog but it has a human face.

Eyewitness reports included supernatural abilities that the monster talked in a human language or it jumped as high as 6 meters.

As the mass media such as TV picked up this rumor, the story spread throughout Japan.

It reminds us of another urban legend that spread nation-wide starting from grade-school children’s rumor, “Kuchisake-onna”. More Urban Legends

Jinmenken, the human-faced dog may be the last incident of urban legend that propagated through the channel of conversation from person to person.

From this point onwards, urban legends have started spreading quietly and rapidly through the net.

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Incidentally a yokai monster with a human face did exist in Japan from long time ago and it was called “Kudan”.

Kudan is said to be born from a cow with a bovine body and human face, and it is supposed to tell a prophecy before it dies.

Relating to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake that occurred in 1995, there was a rumor that this monster Kudan had appeared.

 

2. “Hasshaku-sama”

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This urban legend was born from a net bulletin board in Japan called “2 Channel”.

It was widely known after the first posting in 2008.

“Hasshaku-sama” is supposed to look like a female as tall as 8 feet, wearing a white dress and white hat. (“Hasshaku” means “8 shaku”, with “shaku” being a traditional Japanese unit for length.)

Another cited characteristic is that the monster is always muttering “popopopo”.

It is said that Hasshaku-sama is confined in a local village so that it cannot go outside, and it reportedly clings to a man it fancies and ends up killing him.

The actual story goes as follows.
A man visited his grandparents’ house in the country and encountered Hasshaku-sama. Upon realizing what happened, the villagers hid him to help him escape the village. Hasshaku-sama wandered near the house all night long where the man was hidden, but he somehow managed to escape the village.

Afterwards some Japanese people started drawing and publicizing prettified illustrations of Hasshaku-sama, maybe because it is in the figure of a female.

As a result, this yokai became a common character that appears often in the likes of horror manga.

 

3. Kisaragi Station

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This is also a story posted on “2 Channel” in 2004, the popular Internet bulletin in Japan.

What is different from the story of “Hasshaku-sama” is that a Shizuoka Prefecture resident named “Hasumi” posted the story in a live format as the person accidentally wandered into the mysterious unmanned station.

As Hasumi posted anomalies seen in the surroundings and readers on the net commended on the postings, the exchange continued for as long as 4 hours.

In the end postings by Hasumi ceased abruptly and nobody knows what happened to the person since then.

But afterwards many stories started to pop up on Twitter and other media that someone missed the station to get off and ended up arriving at Kisaragi Station and took a photo or another person went to the Kisaragi Station or some similar place.

Of course, there is no such station as the Kisaragi Station in the real world.

 

4. Grave of Jesus Christ

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Photo by flickr

This story is the oldest one among what I’ve picked up this time.

It is about a ruin that exists in the northernmost tip of Honshu in Japan, in Shingo Village of Aomori Prefecture (formally called as Herai Village).

This story finds its origin in 1935 when a man called Kiyomaro Takeuchi visited the place and did some research.

This person was a guru of an emerging religious sect, and his investigation was rather dubious in nature.

However, since then various people visited this place and conducted investigations of this “grave of Christ” and its surroundings.

And it was found that the former village name of “Herai” came from the word “heburai”, “Hebrew” in English.

Then a traditional song of the village, “Nanyadoyara” was considered potentially a Hebrew song that praises YHWH (Jehovah). Various explanations or supplements were added to complete the legend.

Today the ruin is maintained as a part of “Christ’s Village Park”, accompanied by a small museum that summarizes the legend.

 

Japan is a country with a long history, but at the same time, it is also a country that rapidly became modern after the World War II.

It is on one hand a developed nation where many atheists live and electronic devices are rapidly spreading, and on the other hand, nonscientific stories fly around rampantly.

Japan is a country that has such polar-opposite aspects.

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