Kuchisake-onna (Slit-mouthed Woman) -OR- How to Be a Bad Parent with One Dragging Step


I have mentioned before, somewhere, that in my house we actually enjoy reading aloud to one another. Yes. We are weirdlings.

My husband is a big fan of horror stories and urban legends and such fare. One day, he decided to tell my sweet, sensitive boy the story of Kuchisake-onna, aka the Slit-mouthed woman.

Kuchisake-onna was once a beautiful Japanese woman who married a samurai. The samurai was a jealous man, and his young wife’s vivaciousness and beauty drove him insane. One day, in a fit of rage, he took his weapon and used it to slit her face from ear to ear, screaming that no one would ever look upon her with lust again.

Now Kuchisake-onna roams the land with a large pair of scissors in her hand. She wears a surgical mask and approaches children who are walking alone after dark. She asks, “Am I pretty?”

If the child answers no, Kuchisake-onna kills him with her scissors. If the child answers yes, she removes her mask and asks, “Am I pretty now?” If the child answers no, Kuchisake-onna cuts him in half with her scissors. If the child answers yes, Kuchisake-onna gives him a slit mouth like hers.

You cannot run from Kuchisake-onna. She will always reappear in front of her victim. She can be confused, however. When she asks, “Am I pretty?” the victim should remain ambiguous, saying something like, “You’re average.” This confuses Kuchisake-onna, and an opportunity for escape is obtained.

My son heard this story, and it scared the bejeebus out of him. He didn’t want to admit it, but it was written all over his face. And it was just before bedtime. He went and got himself ready and crawled into bed. I, in the meantime, adjourned to the Master Bath.

First, I put on a long nightgown. Then I dug out the long, red wig I had from two Halloweens before and put it on. Last, I took out a lip liner and “slit” my mouth from ear to ear.

I turned off all the lights and warned my husband to be quiet. I opened my bedroom door slowly for maximum creak effect and, dragging one leg behind me, proceeded down the hall, into my son’s room, and stood over him in the dark.

“Aaaam IIII preeeee-teeee?”

“Mom. I know it’s you.”

He reached up to pull the wig off, but he pulled straight down, and it didn’t budge.



He jumped up and turned on the light, white as a sheet.

Oh, I’m still laughing about that…


15 thoughts on “Kuchisake-onna (Slit-mouthed Woman) -OR- How to Be a Bad Parent with One Dragging Step

Lay it on me.

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