The year was 1979, and Japan was gripped by rumours of a new, vicious yokai. Her name was Kuchisake-onna. The slit mouthed woman.

The bottom half of her face was hidden behind a surgical mask, and she was known to approach children on their way home from school.

“Am I… pretty?” she would ask. With most of her face hidden behind that mask, the children must surely have been perplexed.

But they had to answer.

“… yes, you’re pretty.” They would be the last words the children would ever say.

The woman would suddenly tear off her mask, revealing her huge mouth, cut from ear to ear… and then she would scream.

“Am I still pretty!?”

… supposing the child answered, “No, you’re not,” then she would proceed to cut them with a knife or sickle.

The only correct answer was, “Sure, in your own way.” This would not sway her feelings one way or another, and she would leave.

Incidentally, it was impossible to run from her. Rumour has it that Kuchisake-onna could run 100 m within three seconds.

Get Kowabana: ‘True’ Japanese scary stories from around the internet, Vol. 1!

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