Japanese Horror Stories – 1


A strange story was published by a person with a username “VFtYjtRn0” on a Japanese website called 2Chan. It described a weird and bizarre being called Hachishakusama. The name literally translates to “Eight Feet Tall (Respected/Feared) Person” ; Hachi is 8 in Japanese, Shaku is an old Japanese unit of length equalling 30.3cms approximately and Sama is used while referring to a respected / feared person. The story is written in Japanese and if you know Japanese you should probably read the original version. Or you can just learn the Japanese language like my Tamilian friend Indraneal (Hey Indu….!!!), who learnt the language just so that he could enjoy watching anime in Japanese. But for all others, like me, who cannot do that, I’m sharing an English translation of the story. It’s a first person account of the experiences the OP had with this being called Hachishakusama.

August 26, 2008 (The date of the original post)

       This story takes place 10 years ago, in 1998. My father’s family home was just a little under two hours away by car from where we lived, a small village surrounded by farmland. I often stayed with my grandparents during my summer vacation and winter breaks from school, and they were always happy to play with me… but the last time I visited them was over ten years ago now, when I was still in my third year of high school. It was my Spring break and I had been invited to visit; and since the weather was good, I rode my bike out to their house.

        After I got there I was a little cold, so I stretched out for a moment in a warm sunny spot off the road. Then I heard something strange…

        “Popo, Popoppo, Po, pop …

        It wasn’t a mechanical noise; it sounded strange… but human. I looked about to see where the noise was coming from, and saw a white hat peeking over the top of the hedge. The hat moved along to a break in the hedge, when I could see that it was being worn by a woman with a white dress. She had to be tall, though; the hedge was over two meters high (six feet). Before I could really think about this much, the woman was gone, seemingly disappeared. The strange sound was gone too. At the time, I just guessed that the person’s apparent height had been due either to wearing very tall platform shoes, or that it had been a man dressed up like a woman. Odd, but that was all.

        A little later, while having tea with Grandma and Grandpa, I mentioned the strange person I had seen and that I thought it was a transvestite… but when, as an afterthought, I also mentioned the strange “po, po, po” noise, my grandparents panicked. My Grandpa suddenly showered me with questions: “when did you see this?!,” “how much taller than the fence?!,” “Did they look AT you?!”. I answered as quickly as he asked, then he rushed to the phone in the hallway, shutting the sliding door so I couldn’t hear the call. The room was suddenly very quiet. Grandma smiled a little, but was trembling for some reason. Grandpa came back soon, and told me I would be staying overnight with them. I had to admit that I didn’t understand what the fuss was about, and asked what was so bad about the strange woman. Grandpa said “Grandma can tell you.” He then looked at her and said he was going to pick up someone named “K-san” (Mr. or Mrs. K), and then left.

        In a clearly shaky voice, Grandma said: “It seems that Hachishakusama has become interested in you… but we shouldn’t worry. Grandpa is making arrangements.” Grandma then told me, a little at a time, that Hachishakusama was not a person; she was some sort of monster, named Hachishakusama because of her height… 8 shaku [Japanese foot, about 11.9 inches] tall, “hachi” [8] “shaku” [foot] “sama” [person]. Her appearance could change somewhat — sometimes young, sometimes old — but she would always be abnormally tall, and would always have a creepy laugh… “Po Po Po.”

        Once Hachishakusama took an interest in a person, they were hunted to death in just a few days; and the last known victim of Hachishakusama had been fifteen years previous.

I learned later that Hachishakusama was supposed to be trapped in a shrine near the village, having been sealed in by four statues of Jizo, a protective deity of children, each placed to the north, south, east, and west of the structure. The village had some sort of agreement with it’s neighboring villages, wherein they were given some advantages to make up for the fact they had to watch over the monster… for example, they got first priority on water use. Since it had been over a dozen years since Hachishakusama had killed anyone, I have to wonder if the old men in those villages thought it was still a good arrangement.

        At the time I couldn’t quite believe what I was being told, of course; but then Grandpa returned with a very old lady. K-san, for that’s who it was, handed me a small paper charm and told me to hold onto it. Then she and Grandpa went upstairs. While they were upstairs, I tried to excuse myself to use the bathroom… but my Grandma wouldn’t let me go alone, and she insisted on keeping the door open and an eye on me as I was using the facilities. This is when I started to really understand just how serious my grandparents felt the situation was.

        I was soon led upstairs to a bedroom. The single window in the room had been covered with newspaper, on which a charm like the one I was holding had been affixed. In each corner was a small pile of Morishio— sacred salt — and they had also set up a small wood box with a statue of Buddha on it. I was told I would have to stay in the room until seven the next morning, and that I couldn’t leave no matter what (they provided a bucket for me to potty in!). Grandpa made it clear that neither he nor Grandma would talk to me until seven the next morning. K-san told me to keep the charm on me, and to pray to the Buddha if I got scared.

        I had a bed and a TV in the room. Grandma had left me snacks. I tried to watch some TV, but couldn’t pay attention. I wasn’t hungry, either. So I just lay one the bed, wrapped in the sheets, and eventually fell asleep because the next thing I remember was waking up to a late night show on the TV. My watch said it was around 1AM & I was getting a bit depressed, thinking what a great time to wake up, when…

“Tak Tak “

I heard the window being knocked on.

   It wasn’t like the sound of branches hitting the window or pebbles being thrown at it, it sounded like a knock by hand, despite the fact that I was on the second floor. I felt the blood draining from my head and desperately tried to calm myself, telling myself it was the wind playing tricks. I took a sip of tea, but it didn’t help, so I turned up the TV’s volume and forced myself to watch it.

   It was then I heard Grandpa calling me.

“Hey are you all right? If you’re really scared you don’t have to push yourself you know”

  I instinctively rushed to the door, but at the last moment I remembered what Grandpa said and stopped myself from moving the seals.

   Grandpa talked to me again, saying
“What are you doing? You can open it now”

   It sounded like Grandpa, but somehow, it was different. I couldn’t tell what was, but I just knew.
   As I glanced to the left a chill went through my spine —-the salt was slowly blackening,.

   Grandpa’s voice continued to echo in the room, but he only spoke the same lines.

“Hey are you all right? If you’re really scared you don’t have to push yourself you know”

“What are you doing? You can open it now”

   I was still hoping that this might be Grandpa and couldn’t move from before the door when the lines started becoming distorted.

“Hey you all right? If you’re don’t have to push yourself you”

“What are you? can open it”

“Hey you all right? can open it If you’re don’t have to push yourself you”

“You right? can open it if have to push yourself you”


    The sound caused me to bolt right to the Buddha figure, and I tightly held on the charm whilst desperately praying.

When I started praying, the voice increased,

“Poppopo, po, popo….” 

and the knocking against the window resumed.

   When I imagined “it” raising its hand and knocking at the window, fear overwhelmed me, and I was half crying, half praying for the remainder of the long night. It felt like forever, but unbelievably, morning came, and when I finally calmed down, the morning news was on and the TV showed it was 7:30. I don’t remember when the sounds had stopped, and so I deduced that I had somehow fallen asleep or lost consciousness during the night. When I crawled over to the corner of the room, I saw that the salt had almost become completely black. 

        I tried to ignore it. It was very persistent. I had some tea and a snack, and turned up the TV to drown out the tapping. Then I heard Grandpa call from the hall, “Are you alright? It’s okay to come out if you’re too scared.” I started for the door automatically, but stopped myself as I remembered how insistent Grandpa had been that he wouldn’t talk to me until seven. Again I heard him: “It’s okay, come here.” I wanted it to be my Grandpa’s voice… but somehow it wasn’t. I suddenly had goosebumps all over me; then I noticed the salt in the corner. It was becoming darker.

        I dropped in front of the Buddha,clasping the charm in both hands, and started praying for help. “Popoppo, Po, Popo …” The tapping on the window started again, louder than before, more insistent. Then a definite hand slapped the window… despite the fact I was on the second floor. I did the only thing I could; I kept praying to Buddha.

        It was a long night. I really don’t remember much other than praying until I heard the news on the TV. I looked over, and the morning clock on the news screen showed it was 7:13AM [Garth note: all Japanese TV channels show the time onscreen during morning programs]. The tapping had stopped. The voice was gone. The salt in the corners was almost black. I gingerly opened the door. Grandma and K-san, both looking worried, were there. Grandma, in tears, told me things were going to be okay.

        Downstairs I found my father waiting. Grandpa came in from outside, and we needed to drive off… outside, I found there was a number of men standing around near a van. My Grandpa’s car was in front of the van, and my father’s was behind it. I was seated in the middle of the van with eight of the men sitting around me; one to each side, and then three in front and three in back. One more man took the driver’s seat, and K-san took the passenger side of the front. I was told to keep my eyes closed, and my face pointing down. “You are the only one who can see Hachishakusama… don’t look at her!”

        Our convoy started off, slowly at first. I don’t think we had even traveled 20 kilometers before K-san warned us things were about to get hard… then she started to chant phrases that sounded Buddhist. And then I heard the laugh again: “Poppopo, Po, pop, Popopo …” I clutched the charm to my chest and kept my head down, but couldn’t resist a quick peek at the window;

A white dress came into my sight, and I saw that “it” was moving with the van. Its long legs allowed it to keep pace, but its tall height prevented me from seeing its face through the window. I was still looking when “it” started bending down, trying to look inside the van.

   It had me mesmerized, and although every single alarm in my body was going off, I couldn’t close my eyes.

   It was slowly bending down, and I could see its slender shoulders and neck which seemed to belong to a slender woman. It dipped down even more allowing me to see the top of its head, and with the  beautiful silky black hair, I unbelievably became eager to see its face.

Until it whipped its head up.

   The eyes. The two pitch black holes where the eyes should have been filled my mind with Fear.

   The fear was so great that my body became numb, completely ignoring all the signals from my brain to look away.

   Its face slowly closed its distance to the window, and just when it was about to touch the car, the man in his fifties saw my open eyes and roared


        Though no one else could see Hachishakusama, they all heard what happened next: the tapping. I don’t know how, but the tapping started on every window in the van, all at the same time. I don’t know how long it lasted but, over time, it faded. K-san had stopped chanting by that time as well, and eventually said that she felt we were now safe, so the cars all pulled over. My father and Grandpa thanked all the men who had assisted; as it turned out, all of them were related to me. Grandpa and K-san had hoped to confuse Hachishakusama by surrounding me with many people of the same bloodline. I had to stay overnight while Grandpa was gathering my kinsmen, and it was deemed safer to try to escape during the day than the night.

        K-san asked me to show her the charm which I had forgotten I was still holding; it had turned almost entirely black. K-san commented “it should be alright now, but just in case…”; and with that she handed me a new charm to hold until I got home. I drove home with my father. During the drive, he told me that one of his friends when he was young had been taken by Hachishakusama. Grandpa and the neighbors delivered my bike back to me later. Sometime later, while talking to my Grandpa over the phone, I confirmed with him that it was not his voice I heard outside the room that night (which sent shivers down my spine again). Hachishakusama targets teens and children… so if the monster speaks with a familiar relative’s voice, the victim would normally come to it willingly

As I said in the beginning, its over 10 years since this happened, but the story didn’t end there. Rather, the story got a hideous epilogue a few days ago. My grandmother called a few days ago.(Grandpa died 2 years ago, but I wasn’t allowed to visit him in his last breath nor attend his funeral)

   She told me that “The jizou that was used for sealing Hachishakusama was broken by someone (its pretty common in Japan). On top of that, the broken statue was looking East, the direction of your house”

    I try to tell myself it was all superstition or maybe it was all just a dream… but sometimes I still hear that voice call: “Popopo …

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