Purple mirror

Purple mirror. If you remember these two words by the time you turn 20, you will die. The reason for that is because there is a hidden curse behind those words.

Long ago, there was a young girl who enjoyed playing tricks. This girl received a valuable hand-mirror from her parents which she then painted purple. She thought she would be able to remove the paint if she didn’t leave it for too long, but no matter what she did, the paint refused to come off.

Filled with regret, the girl muttered “purple mirror… purple mirror…” over and over until her death, on the day of her 20th birthday.

Ever since that day, the girl’s feelings towards that purple mirror were transferred to the words themselves, and all those under 20 who remember them will die just like she did.


Purple mirror, or murasaki kagami, is one of the most popular urban legends in Japan. Ask anyone in the street and chances are high they’ve heard of it before. At its most basic, this legend is about two words, in English ‘purple mirror,’ in Japanese ‘murasaki kagami,’ and if you remember those two words by the time you turn 20, you will either be cursed or you will die. If, for some reason, you don’t think about those two words together, then there’s no problem! But we all know how well we go when we’re told not to do something, and that’s the charm behind this legend. By telling you not to remember those two words, it’s pretty much guaranteeing that you will.


The purple mirror urban legend originally sprang to life from the following story:

A young girl was hospitalised with immune impairment. Her body was so weak that she spent most of her teens in a hospital bed.

For her birthday one year her parents gave her an extremely cute hand-mirror. You might be wondering why it was a hand-mirror, but this was a time before Japan experienced rapid economic growth.

The girl fell in love with that hand-mirror. She looked into it every single day and treated it like a precious object.

Until one day.

One day, for some unknown reason, the girl painted the hand-mirror purple. According to her own words, this was because she liked the colour purple. Even so, her actions were clearly strange. Suddenly coming back to herself, the girl looked upon the purple mirror and was shocked.

She tried desperately to peel the purple paint off, but it was stuck there, and in the end she couldn’t remove it. Her beloved mirror that she received as a present was now purple, and she was unable to use it any longer.

Of course, it could be said that sickness and health start with the mind, and the girl was so shocked by what happened that her illness worsened right before their eyes. In order to brighten their daughter up again, the girl’s parents presented her with another mirror, but she wasn’t interested in it.

The girl took her last breaths whilst holding that purple mirror, muttering, “Purple mirror… purple… mirror…”

She was 19-years-old, only days away from her 20th birthday.

That girl’s grudge lives on in the words “purple mirror,” and children who remember those words will meet an unfortunate fate.


The words and origin of the story vary from generation to generation, and area to area. The cursed words vary from ‘murasaki no kagami,’ ‘murasaki kagami,’ and even the English ‘purple mirror.’

The fate one will meet also changes. It’s not necessarily always death. In many versions of the story one will simply meet with misfortune; for example, they won’t be able to get married in the future. And while 20 is the main age in most cases, some variations see the age changed to 18, 15, or the even more vague “until graduation.”

The following version of the tale is also told in the Kansai area:

There was a girl who was approaching her 20th birthday. She was looking forward to wearing her best clothes for her upcoming coming-of-age ceremony, but sadly for her that day never came. The girl died in a traffic accident.

The girl had a purple mirror that she treasured. Her family considered placing it in her coffin, but even though she always kept this mirror on her person, it was nowhere to be found and the funeral proceeded without it.

A short while later a terrible rumour about the girl began to spread. She was dating a boy of less than reputable reputation while alive, and things turned sour when she suggested they breakup, which was why she died. Not only that, the purple mirror had been a gift from that boy.

The rumours were groundless, and it was none other than one of her friends that started them.

The day of the coming-of-age ceremony arrived, and the friend who started the rumours of the dead girl disappeared. Not only had the girl gone missing, but they also found the aforementioned purple mirror in her bedroom.

The girl was never seen again, and her parents ended up dying due to anxiety.

The reason the words ‘purple mirror’ are cursed is because of this bizarre incident.


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