Halloween week is here! What better way to get you in the spirit than with a creepy Japanese ghost story? Well, Kashima Reiko is the Japanese urban legend of a ghost woman with no legs. Most often she haunts public bathrooms at schools, but depending on the version of the legend you’re consulting – she can show up almost anywhere. Even… right behind you! But no, seriously. This story is pretty creepy.
[box type=”alert”]The legend warns that after you hear the story of Kashima Reiko, she will visit you within a month’s time. So if you’re a big baby, now would be the time to stop reading.[/box]
The Spine Tingling Legend
Here is the tale of Kashima Reiko – the woman with no legs who haunts your bathroom at night. As if going to the bathroom in the dark wasn’t already scary enough, right?
Kashima Reiko is the ghost of a woman from Japan. Poor Kashima Reiko was attacked by a group of men who beat her and abused her, then left her to die. No one knows who these men were or why they would do such a horrible thing, but the important part is what happens next. Also, some versions of the story say that she was left in a bathroom to die, which makes sense as bathrooms became her choice place to haunt.
Anyway, Kashima Reiko didn’t die there. She started to crawl around, screaming for help. But no one was around to hear her cries. Searching for aid, she managed to crawl around for quite some time. Unfortunately, she didn’t find any help at all, and then she proceeded to pass out on top of some railroad tracks belonging to the Meishin Expressway. Eventually a train came along and ran over her, cutting her in half at the waist, and killing her.
As with many Japanese ghost tales, she was abused, died in agony, and became a vengeful spirit. Ever since that night, Kashima Reiko’s malevolent ghost has wandered the world in search of her missing legs. She is most often reportedly encountered in school bathrooms, but she might also appear in your very own bathroom at home. Are you regretting reading this story yet?
What to Do if You Meet Her
So what happens when Kashima Reiko shows up? Does she just scare you? Kill you? Maim you? Well, if she does show up – you do have a chance to survive if you answer her questions correctly. At least according to legend anyway.
Should you encounter her in your friendly neighborhood bathroom, this is what goes down. Upon entering the bathroom, Kashima Reiko will show up, scare the poop out of you (you are in a bathroom after all), and ask you some questions. If you cannot answer her questions correctly, she will tear off your legs.
If she asks you “Where are my legs?”, you should answer with “On the Meishin Expressway”.
If she asks “Who told you that?”, you should reply “Kashima Reiko told me”.
Sometimes she’ll ask other questions too, like “Do you know my name?”. The name you should tell her is “Mask Death Demon”. Ka-shi-ma equates to ka (kamen/mask), shi (shinin/dead person), ma (ma/demon), so that’s how that works out.
And she’ll probably ask these questions in Japanese and expect you to answer in Japanese, so – if that’s not motivation enough for you to study up on your Japanese, I dunno what is.
Another variant of the legend is known as “Teke Teke”. Teke Teke is the ghost of a young school girl who fell on some railroad tracks and was cut in half by an oncoming train. Now a vengeful spirit (onryō, one of Japan’s many super ghouls ‘n ghosts), she carries a scythe or a saw and travels on her hands and elbows. The dragging sound her torso makes as she drags herself along sounds like ‘teke teke’, so that’s where her name comes from. If she encounters anyone at night and the victim is not fast enough (i.e. everyone), she will slice them in half at the torso. This is how she makes friends.
The story behind Teke Teke goes like this. A young school boy was walking home at night and he spotted a beautiful young girl standing by a windowsill resting on her elbows. The two smiled dumbly at each other for a moment and the boy wondered what a girl was doing at an all-boys school, especially at this time of night.
Since the kid was in an unfamiliar part of town, he thought the girl might be able to help him get his bearings. She asked “Are you lost?” and he walked over towards her. Before he could wonder more about the girl, she jumped out of the window and revealed that her lower half was missing. Frightened stiff, the boy stood frozen in the sidewalk as Teke Teke lunged forward and sliced him in twain.
So basically, you’re in danger even when you’re not in a bathroom. And you don’t even get a chance to save yourself by answering goofy questions. Scary stuff.
In Popular Media
The legend or variations on it have appeared in a handful of movies, manga, and anime adaptations. Probably the most well known are the two horror movies, Teke Teke, and Teke Teke 2.
In my expert J-horror opinion, neither of these movies are anything spectacular, but the first one stars Oshima Yuko from AKB48, so that’s a plus. The first Teke Teke can be seen in its entirety on YouTube here, but if you’re in the mood for a J-horror movie this Halloween, I’d recommend checking out my Top 10 List instead. Much better choices.
Between reading the story of Teke Teke/Kashima Reiko and seeing the trailers for these movies, the thing moves a lot faster than I thought it would. Most of the time in legends like this, the creature will move slowly and creepily to freak you out as much as possible, like *teke… teke… teeekeeee…* “Where are my legsss?” But in these movies, it’s all like *teketeketeketeketeketeketeketeke* *SLICE* YOU’RE DEAD.
Will You Survive?
Regret reading this post yet? Nah, you’re a big strong human with rock solid mental fortitude – you’ll be fine. Maybe.
So what would you do if you encountered the Teke Teke or Kashima Reiko late one night? Would you be able to keep your composure and answer her questions if she asked them, or would you try and fight off the creature in some other way? Leave your thoughts and advice down in the comments… if you dare.