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The Toilet Ghosts of Japan

November 26, 2015

It would seem that the nation has a major problem with bathroom banshees.

Toilet Ghost of Japan bathroom


According to modern Japanese folklore, Akai-Kami-Aoi-Kami likes to pop up in stalls to ask his female victims (he only pops up in women’s restrooms) a seemingly simple question: “Do you want red paper or blue paper?” Those who answer “red” are killed in a horrific way. Those who choose “blue” are killed in a slightly less horrific way. Choosing any other color will only further enrage the ghost and cause him to drag his victim straight to hell. Some say that there’s only one choice that won’t lead to a gruesome death: opting for yellow paper. This causes Akai-Kami-Aoi-Kami to urinate all over the stall before racing off to the next bathroom on his list.

Reiko Kashima

This ghost is allegedly the spirit of a woman who lost her legs in a railway accident who now spends her time creeping into the bathroom of anyone who says her name. Why? She’s looking for new legs. Much like Akai-Kami-Aoi-Kami, Reiko asks her victims a series of random questions. If she doesn’t like their answers, she’ll twist off their legs. Reiko has become something of a celebrity ghost in recent years. She’s appeared in a few video games including one called Shin Megami Tensei and her bloody quest for replacement limbs inspired a scary monster that stars in a horror film series called Teke Teke.


Hanako is similar to Bloody Mary, the mythic Western ghoul invoked by saying “Bloody Mary” into a mirror. Japanese schoolchildren often dare one another to knock on the doors of empty stalls in public bathrooms and ask, Aare you there, Hanako-san?” If they get a “yes” she’ll pop out and frighten them… but, fortunately, that’s it). Hanako is supposedly the spirit of a girl who died during a World War II bombing raid. She sports an old-fashioned haircut and a skirt that went out of style over 70 years ago. The feisty spirit has also appeared in no less than three Japanese films, the most recent of which is 2013’s Hankao of the Toilet.


Unlike these other ghosts, Akaname is much more interested in providing a valuable public service than scaring or hurting mortals. However, the way he goes about it is totally disgusting. Akaname loves to scrub toilet stalls….with his tongue. His appearance is also pretty freaky. He’s said to have bright red skin and a pointed tongue (that no doubt helps him clean lots of tough-to-reach nooks and crannies).


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