URBAN LEGENDS OF JAPAN

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3. AKA MANTO

As if public bathrooms weren’t already scary enough, there’s a Japanese urban legend called Aka Manto, or Red Cape, about some weirdo in a mask who hides out in the last stall of women’s restrooms and asks his victims a question that’s nearly impossible to answer. Get the answer wrong and you die a horrible death. If you get the answer right, you live, but you’ve still been playing twenty questions in a bathroom with a ghost. There’s kind of no way to win with this guy.

The legend goes like this: Red Cape was extremely handsome in real life, attracting the attention of every woman who saw him. He became so fed up with women desiring him only for his looks that he began wearing a white mask, a tradition he continued in death. When you enter the last stall in the women’s restroom that he haunts, you’ll hear a voice.

“Red Cape or blue cape?” it asks. Answer “red” and he’ll tear your shirt off and skin your back. The blood will make it look like you’re wearing a red cape. Answer “blue” and he’ll strangle you to death, leaving your body a dazzling shade of periwinkle. Say something else, like “pink” or “leopard print with feather trim, please!” and two hands will reach up out of the toilet, dragging you down to hell. Say nothing and you get to walk away, contemplating whether that was even the worst experience you’ve ever had in a public bathroom.

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