The Japanese Myth of Kuchisake- onna

There's a very famous Japanese myth about a slit faced lady known as Kuchisake-onna but she wasn't always as ugly as she looks now. Once, she was a beautiful girl married to a samurai. One day, due to her vain nature, she was about to cheat on her husband. When the samurai found out about it, he slit her mouth ear to ear giving her a Glasgow smile (which is a smile caused by wounds cutting from ear to ear). Following this savage action, he asked, “Who will think you’re pretty now?” The lady later bled out and died.


A few months had passed and people started reporting about a woman wearing a cloth around her face approaching people (usually children) at night and asking them, “Am I pretty?”

If they said no, she would slash their faces with a pair of scissors, giving them a similar Glasgow smile. However, if they said yes, she would reveal her face and ask again. If this time, they said “no”, she would slash their faces regardless. Even if they still said yes, she would follow them home and still brutally kill them. Many people believe the only way to break this pattern, is to confuse her by answering with either “you’re okay” or “so-so”, not providing a definite answer. The confusion from these replies would buy the victim enough time to get away.


In 2007, a coroner found records of similar shocking cases during the same time of day that the story took place; the night time. The records showed that many children had died at night, rumouring sightings of a woman with similar features were at the same time and place of their deaths, giving a frightful realistic twist to the legend.


Author: Charmee Purohit and Yash Padhye

Editor: Amrita Pillai


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