Legend of Toire no Hanako

Based on Japanese urban legend, when a person who goes to the third stall in the girls' bathroom on the third floor and knocks three times before asking "are you there, Hanako-san" you will hear a voice answer, "I'm here." If the person chooses to enter the stall, there will be a small girl in a red skirt. There’s something about that bathroom too, the lights are always turning off on their own. And more than a few people have reported the sound of doors opening and slamming shut as they walked away from the empty bathroom.

Hanako, or Toire no Hanako (“Hanako of the Toilet”) as she is known in Japan doesn’t have a distinct origin, but reports of her go back to the 1950’s, and can be found in every school in every prefecture across Japan. She is the “Bloody Mary” of Japanese elementary schools and described as having very pale, white skin and as always wearing a red skirt. Her hair is short and black, done in an old fashioned style. It’s obvious that she’s a girl of school age, but it’s not known why she will harm some people and not others. Sometimes she’s said to even protect kids who are being bullied by classmates or are having problems with other ghosts.

Her physical appearance can also vary, but is usually that of a young girl with bobbed hair and a red skirt. In the Yamagata prefecture, supposedly, after Hanako-san has answered and one enters the stall, he or she will find and be eaten by a three-headed lizard who had mimicked a girl's voice. In the Iwate prefecture, the legend purports that after one has called Hanako-san, a white hand emerges from the door. In the Kanagawa prefecture, a blood-stained hand will appear after Hanako-san is called.

According to Anita's Notebook, The origin stories of how Hanako-San became a ghost vary depending on who you ask and what part of Japan you’re in. One story says that she was a girl who lived during the time of World War II. She was playing hide and seek in her school one day and hid in the third stall of the girl’s bathroom. However while she was crouched and waiting in the stall some planes came and bombed the area, causing that part of the school to collapse on her.

Another says she was a victim of ongoing bullying (called ‘ijime’ in Japan) by her classmates. One day the bullying got particularly bad and she ran into the third stall of the bathroom to try and get away. The other kids came and banged on the door to try to force her to Hanako-San being bullied and haunting third stall of bathroom.come out, but she had locked the door and they eventually left. Later that evening some school staff members found Hanako-San dead in that same stall, she just couldn’t take it anymore and had committed suicide right there.

A third story is a little more mysterious. It says simply that Hanako-San fell out of the window of the school library. It implies that her fall was an accident, but doesn’t give enough details for us to know for sure or even why she ended up in the third stall of the bathroom.




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