Kuchisake-onna 口裂け女 Slit-Mouthed Woman

Kuchisake Onna (slit-mouthed woman) is a frightfully gory-looking ghoul. The original legend from about 1,000 years ago tells of a woman who was married to a samurai. She was extremely vain and proud, and he was jealous and distrustful. He believed she was cheating on him, so he slit her mouth from ear to ear. “Who will find you beautiful now?”, he asked her. Following her death she roamed the countryside with a fan covering her face, asking passersby if they found her beautiful. If the traveler answered, “no” she would immediately kill them. If they answered, “yes” she would move the obstructing fan to reveal her gaping, bloody wound. Upon showing her true self, she would ask the question again. If they answered, “no”, she would slice them from ear to ear. If they answered, “yes”, she would let them go, only to follow them home and kill them at their abode.

A modern version tells that she wears a surgical mask (a very common practice for sick people in Japan), instead of holding a fan in front of her face.







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