Things you need to know about Japanese ghosts!

Oct 30, 2023

Things you need to know about Japanese ghosts!

Summer festivals are perhaps the most celebrated summer events in Japan. But don’t you know that the Japanese love to go to the haunted house in the summer?

Visiting the haunted house, or known as “Obake Yashiki” (お化け屋敷) in Japanese. It is considered a way to cool down during the hot summer, and haunted houses are extremely popular in July and August.

Japan has a long history of telling chilling, yet thrilling, ghost stories in summer, And most Japanese ghosts possess unique characters and interesting myths.

In this feature, we aim to captivate you with chilling tales about “the most famous Japanese ghosts in Japan”. These stories delve into the intriguing world of Japanese mystery folklore, offering an immersive thrilling experience.


1. Onryo (怨霊)

If you’re familiar with Japanese movies, you might have heard of “The Ring”, or “Ju-on”, haven’t you?

Onryo is a vengeful and wrathful spirit that is believed to be capable of causing harm in the human world, injuring or killing humans, or even causing natural disasters as a revenge to those who did it wrong in the past.

Sadako Yamamura from The Ring, and Kayako Saeki from Ju-On are Onryo spirits, and as shown in the movies, Onryo can kill you if it wants to, so be careful when walking around outside in the summer!

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2. Rokurokubi

Rokurokubi is a Japanese ghost that almost looks like humans, but its neck stretches, and its head detaches and flies around freely, and it attacks humans, particularly salarymen who stay outside past midnight.

Rokurokubi doesn’t hold grudges like Onryo, but it sometimes performs bad deeds by attacking humans at night and drinking their blood afterwards. If you plan to stay outside late in the summer, make sure to not encounter this ghost as it can be somehow dangerous!

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3. Chochin Obake

Chochin Obake is a lantern ghost that is not as malicious as other ghosts. It’s just a naughty and mischievous ghost who enjoys scaring human beings by flicking its large tongue out, rolling its eye(s), and laughing loudly to frighten humans.

According to the legends, a regular lantern is believed to turn into this ghost after 100 years of use, and this belief comes from the ancient Shinto belief, where all objects have a soul.

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4. Hitotsume Kozo

Hitotsume Kozo is a Japanese ghost that appears as a bald child with one eye in the center of its forehead, which looks like a cyclops. Just like Chochin Obake, Hitotsume Kozo is not harmful. But it likes to suddenly pop out and surprise people by rolling its big eye. And flicking its big tongue out.

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5. Karakasa Kozo

Last is the Karakasa Kozo, or Kasa Obake, which is a paper umbrella ghost that has a large eye, a long tongue, two arms, and one leg which is used to hop around randomly.

Karakasa Kozo is not as fearsome as Onryo or Rokurokubi. And its favorite method of surprising humans is to sneak upon them. Then lick them with its enormous tongue, which can be traumatic, but not dangerous.

Just like Chochin Obake, an old paper umbrella is believed to turn to this ghost after a certain period of time.

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