This week on MangoBot, my Asian futurism column on io9.com, I wrote about 5 Japanese monsters I encountered before I turned 20. An excerpt:
When I was in elementary school somebody told me the story of Kuchisake
Onna, a superhuman madwoman who lurks in dark alleys and asks you death
trap questions. The former beauty wears a surgical mask to hide an
Ichi-the-Killer-esque gash on both sides of her mouth inflicted by a
crazed relative when she was a kid. She spent her whole life in utter
misery and gradually developed a serious complex about her appearance.
Eventually, she turned into a monster. Legend has it that she asks
passersby if they think she’s pretty. It’s a trick question—if you say
YES, she takes off her mask and says "Even now?" and kills you. If you
say NO, she gets mad and kills you. If you run away, she’ll run after
you at lightning speed and kill you.