The Creepy Tale of Hanako-San: The Toilet Ghost
Who is Hanako-San?
Hanako-san is known to be a spooky young girl that haunts school restrooms across Japan and until the recent decades become one of the nation's most famous ghosts. As we all know, it is common for schools to have a toilet permanently occupied by the mysterious girl, who is known in Japanese as Toire no Hanako-san ("Hanako of the toilet"). She is often found in the third stall in the restroom on the third floor, usually the girls' room but this varies from school to school. Details about her physical appearance also has some variations, but her usual depiction is her pale skin, short height, bobbed hair with her wearing a red skirt. Hanako-san's manner also varies according to location, commonly, she remains holed up in the bathroom until an adventurous student dares to provoke her to come out.
How to Summon Hanako-San?
Hanako-san can be conjured up by knocking on the door to her stall three times, calling her name, and asking a particular question. The most common question is simply "Are you there, Hanako-san?" If Hanako-san is indeed present, she answers in a faint voice, "Yes, I'm here." Some stories claim that anyone courageous enough to open the door at this point is greeted by a little girl in a red skirt and then pulled into the toilet to meet their doom. Sometimes, a hand will just bust through the door and drag the person into the stall and kill them. Usually though after the pause the stall door will open just a slight bit. Then if the person is brave enough they will be able to push the door open, revealing Hanako-San herself.
The Origin of Hanako-San
- The origin of Hanako-san's origins are rather filled with gloomy explanations. Her creepy story became a national phenomenon in the 1980s but there is also a strong speculation that she has existed since the 1950s. Some people who have stated that they had experienced her terror claimed that she is the ghost of a WWII-era youngster who died in a bombing raid on the school while she was innocently playing hide-and-seek.
- Some claims that she is the uncontrollable spirit of a young girl who met her untimely death at the hands of an abusive parent or a perverted stranger who finds her hiding in the bathroom.
- In some instances, she is the ghost of a former student who died in an unfortunate accident at the school.
- Another side to her origin plays a more timely and emotional story and it says that she was a victim of ongoing bullying or ‘ijime’ in Japan by her mean-spirited classmates. Hanako endured endless bullying until the it got particularly bad and she ran into the third stall of the bathroom to escape from her bullies. The other kids came and banged on the door to try to force her to come out, but she had locked the door and they eventually left. Later that night, some school staff members found Hanako-San lifeless in the same stall, she just couldn’t take it anymore and had committed suicide to end her suffering.
As we all know, ghost stories and urban legends can be rather freaky or funny but one thing's for sure, Hanako-San's story makes up an interesting urban legend that not only Japanese people can appreciate.