Do You Think I'm Beautiful?

Updated on December 25, 2017

There was once a Japanese woman that was so beautiful, there were no words that could fully describe her presence. She was married off to a samurai, someone who became a man of intense jealousy. He saw her beauty and knew that others did too and soon, he accused her of adultry. He was so sure that it was truth. In a rage, he refused to listen to her pleas to the contrary and slit her mouth open from ear to ear with his blade with a simple, exasperated taunt, "Now who’s going to think you’re beautiful?"

The year was now 1979 and none is more feared than Kuchisake-onna; the slit-faced woman. Reports of a woman wearing a surgical mask have scared the community so much that the police presence on the streets has intensified and students are instructed to travel in groups and never wander alone. Children don't dare to even whisper about her as they walk home, unable to stop themselves from thinking about her but too scared to talk about her, should it catch her attention.

Legend states that once she has approached you, she will follow you so that she can ask if you think she is beautiful. Once you answer, she'll rip the surgical mask off to reveal her sliced mouth so that she can ask again to see if the truth changes your mind. Saying no will earn a swift death, but even saying yes will not save you. When someone says yes, she slices their mouths ear to ear, just like her own, so that they can be just as beautiful as she is. There is no escape either, any attempt to run will find her right in front of you every time you stop. Your only choice is to try and answer in a way that pleases her without making her feel generous enough that she wants to make you just like her.

Akemi had just started college this year, having been accepted first to Nagasaki University and second into a new group of school friends. Her own friends from high school were scattered across Nagasaki and the rest of Japan, so she was glad to have such a bright start. Even better, it was a Friday and just as soon as they could all get to the closest girl's home so that they could all change, they were going out for a girl's night out. There were plans for karaoke and a table full of food that would last them all night, and after a full week of school with a weekend worth of homework ahead of her, nothing sounded better.

They laughed loudly at each other, clearly enjoying themselves. The four girls couldn't be happier. That all changed when one of them saw it; it was a woman in a surgical mask, following close behind them. Giggling, they tried to tell each other in hushed whispers that they were all being silly. Urban legends weren't real. They were college students. Adults. But Akemi couldn't get over a general feeling of unease, and she was sure the other girls felt it too.

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

The question came from behind them and they all turned to look at each other, then thought to rush forward and run, but the woman in the surgical mask was in front of them now. So they ran in the other direction, frantically calling out directions to each other so that they could move as one. It seemed like the best plan, but every time they stopped to look behind them, she was right there. She was always barely a few feet away. They kept trying though, and in their panic, they ran themselves right into a dead end. Terrified, they turned to look at the woman.

"No!" Screamed the first girl to die. Her name was Nanako, and truth be told, her cry wasn't meant to be an answer at all, simply a denial of their fate. Kuchisake-onna struck her down without a second thought, sliding her former husband's sword through the gut of the young woman. Her attention was on the next woman before the body even hit the floor.

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

The second girl said yes without hesitation, then yes again in the face of the slit-faced woman ripping off her mask to show the grisly scars that ran from ear to ear. Wanting to allow the woman that had complimented her the opportunity to be just as beautiful as she claimed the ghostly visage to be, she sliced her bade between the woman's lips and blessed her with the same life-long scarring. The second girl was Kiku, and she dropped to her knees with her hand in her face, crying salty tears that mixed with the crimson on her cheeks and stung the open wounds that were found there.

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

The third girl, thinking she had figured it all out, said yes the first time and no the second; she was struck down in the same fashion as the first girl. Putting off the negative answer seemed to do nothing but put off her demise. Her name was Izumi, but as much as she wanted to focus on the loss of a second friend, there wasn't time for grief here.

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

And then the only girl left was Akemi. She stood on wobbly legs, her knees locking and clacking together as she shook in place. There was something about the slit-faced woman that kept her looking, her back against the cool brick wall behind her. The question had been posed and she knew that she had no choice but to answer. But what could she say?

"I don't know!" She screamed, and to her surprise, Kuchisake-onna was stunned. Seeing her window of opportunity, she gathered all of her courage and strength and ran, leaving the ghost confused as she tried to decide what she thought about such an answer. In that time, her prey got away. She didn't mind though, because she could already hear footsteps approaching, so she moved away from the weeping girl and the two bodies and towards the audible sign of more human life.

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

Questions & Answers


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      • Guckenberger profile image

        Alexander James Guckenberger 

        16 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

        I don't remember ever hearing of someone surviving her. Great story!!!


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