History is full of any number of weird and wonderful tales and none come quite as terrifying as those from Japan. With one of the most ancient cultures in the world, Japan has collected a legend or two over the years and while they might now be used for telling stories, they came about from very real origins. These Japanese mythologies are some of the scariest in the world and after looking back into the deep and dark history, you might wish you’d never opened your eyes.
- Yokai and Oni
Two types of otherworldly creature, Yokai and Oni are said to be able to take on some of the most terrifying disguises out there. While Yokai have the ability to shapeshift and change their looks, Oni take on a more grotesque form, appearing in the bodies or horned, clawed devils. Legend has it that both creatures have the ability to affect the kind of path taken by humans, using their powers for good or bad as they see fit.
Japanese folklore tells of any number of terrifying creatures who use their powers in order to change the path of their human victim. Such is the case with the Hone-onna, a female skeleton who turns up time and again in Japanese folklore. The creature was said to lure men into her cavern, taking on the form of a real human woman in order to attract their attentions. As soon as the men became aware, however, Hone-onna would suck their life away from them, transforming them into skeletons.
Traversing the Japanese mountains was no easy task in historical folklore. Men had to traverse rough terrain and deal with changeable weather and along the way, there was the fear that they would bump into a monster or two. One such creatures was said to be the Yama-uba, an ancient crone who ate the flesh of living humans. Posing as a beautiful woman, Yama-uba welcomed lost travelers into her homes, consuming them as they fall asleep.
- The Kappa
A water spirit, the Kappa was said to have an appearance not dissimilar to a salamander. Living by the side of the water, the creature was believed to be a real menace to children, kidnapping and drowning them when they wandered astray. The cautionary tale served as a warning to children to be careful around the water, avoiding venturing off alone.
- Aka Manto
Perhaps the most terrifying creature in Japanese folklore, Aka Manto is an evil demon. Believed to stalk the bathrooms of women, the demon was said to ask the inhabitant if they preferred a red or blue cloak. If they answered red, it would slash the flesh from her back, as if she were wearing a red cloak. If they answered blue, the creature would strangle the woman to death. There was said to be no escape for the victim and those who tried to escape by choosing another color were dragged to hell.