Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beautiful Scissor Smile

The days are flying past at a terrifying rate, and once again it is time for the Hyper Kitchen to turn the spotlight on a new monstrosity for your reading pleasure. In past installments of our Monster of the Month series, we've mainly focused upon creatures, maniacs, and oddities from the Americas and Europe. With the notable exception of the sea-dwelling Vampire Squid from Hell, we've remained firmly within the Western Hemisphere. Well, no more we say! There's a whole planet of freaks out there and it's time we broadened our scope. So, this September, we journey to the birthplace of the Subaru Legacy:

(not Brazil)

While Japan is perhaps best known in the West for their radioactive reptiles, vicious phantom children, and problematic octopi, we decided to look for a more obscure monster. Our lovely discovery is known as the Kuchisake-onna, which in English essentially "Slit-Mouthed Woman" or "Severed Mouth Woman." The original legend of the Kuchisake-onna dates to the Heian period, and tells of a samurai who discovers his gorgeous wife has been sleeping with another man. Insane with rage, the samurai uses his sword to slices her mouth open from ear to ear before killing her. Years later, unlucky travelers would be attacked her vengeful spirit, replete with a ghastly torn mouth.

The ghost story was passed down through the generations and underwent many permutations. By the mid-seventies, it had been re-vamped into an urban legend, circulating amongst the terrified children of the era. In this new version, Kuchisake-onna was a woman clad in a raincoat and surgical mask (the latter item not uncommon in the germ-conscious Japan). Found wandering the city at night, she would approach passers-by and ask if them if they thought she was beautiful. To those who answered "yes", she would tear off her mask and reveal her horrific visage. Then she'd proceed to murder the stranger, using a pair of scissors to slice her victim's face to match her own.

And if they answered "no?" Well, those poor souls were carved up on the spot. The only way to ward off the Kuchisake-onna was to look upon her face without showing fear and reply "you're average." This clever tactic would confuse the scar-faced psychopath long enough for one to make a hasty retreat.

This modern iteration of the Kuchisake-onna is a fairly well-known monster in Japan, analogous to the Hook Hand of American urban-legends. She has appeared in various manga and anime series, and even a few movies. Her depictions range from the comical...

To the grotesque.

Oh sweet lord, that will haunt our nightmares forever. Fortunately, here at the Kitchen we are prepared to defend ourselves with fondue forks if need be.

Would you like to know more?
-Read about the Kuchisake-onna and other classic Japanese urban legends in this article
-Know Japanese? Try this.
-Watch this goofy trailer for the Kuchisake-onna movie , aka "Carved"


  1. that is truly terrifying. I wonder what happens if you respond "beauty is in the scissor mouth of the beholder"

  2. The way I figure it, she'd probably look away shyly and ask to exchange phone numbers.

    She's a menace!

  3. Of course this cuts both ways,but
    don't run with that smile .............

  4. So leopard print speedos huh? Wait, what were you guys talking about?

  5. I love it. Forget fire, holy water, silver-bullets, and the rest. The way to defeat this beast is to just to say, "Meh. You're okay."

    Death by low expectations!