Top 3 Japanese Urban Legends about School

Blurred torri gates and lights in Japan.

Japan is a country where ancient traditions blend in with modern life, and throughout time this interesting culture has weaved a web of spine-tingling tales. Among these hair-raising stories, you might find that school settings have often been the stage for some of the eeriest Japanese urban legends ever told. If you’re planning to visit Japan or study in the country there are a few spooky stories that must be known – should you ever find yourself in a school after dark.

Grab a steaming mug of green tea, get cozy, and brace yourself as we delve into three Japanese urban legends that are sure to send shivers down your spine.

A lit up Japanese toro at a shrine during the evening.

1. The Haunting of the Red Bathroom: Hanako-San

The first one on the list will make you feel glad that you aren’t taking any trips to a girl’s restroom in a Japanese public school any time soon.

The tale of “Hanako-San” is a legendary ghost story that has haunted school children in Japan for generations. It is said that in the third stall of the third-floor girls’ bathroom, you can summon the ghost of a girl named Hanako-San by knocking three times and asking, “Are you there, Hanako-San?” The door may then swing open, revealing the ghostly apparition of a young girl in a red skirt. Be warned, though; encountering Hanako-San may have chilling consequences.

2. The Curse of the Doppelganger: The Three-Legged Race

For number two, imagine participating in a three-legged race at your school’s sports day, only to be matched with your doppelganger – someone who looks exactly like you. In Japanese folklore, this is believed to be a curse. It’s said that encountering your doppelganger in a school event can bring misfortune or even death. While not exactly a legend, and more of a warning, if you happen to see someone who looks like you while out doing extracurriculars in Japan, run the other way!

Who knew a simple game would become a chilling reminder of the unknown and the supernatural?

Bicycle parking underground tunnel in Shibuya Tokyo sad to be haunted and one of the Japanese urban legends.

3. The Wandering Ghost of Teke Teke

Third on the list, the legend of “Teke Teke” is one of the most scary and well-known Japanese urban legends. It tells the story of a girl who fell onto a train track and was tragically cut in half. Now, she is said to roam school hallways at night, dragging her upper body with her hands, making a “teke teke” sound. If she encounters you, she’ll ask, “Where are my legs?” The consequences of answering are, needless to say, not for the faint of heart.

So, if your Japanese language skills are a bit lacking, you might want to consider studying at one of our partner schools before an encounter with Teke Teke.

Spooked by Japanese Urban Legends?

These are just a few of the many Japanese urban legends that have captured the imaginations and fears of schoolchildren and adults alike over the years. As you navigate the world of Japanese folklore, remember that sometimes, the most terrifying stories are the ones closest to home. The next time you’re in a Japanese school, tread carefully and be prepared for the unexpected, for who knows what mysteries may be lurking in the shadows of the hallways?

Interested in more Japan content? Check out the schools in Japan blog


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