, , , ,

sThe Japanese aren’t really known as a terrifying people. In fact, they’re kind of known as the opposite. I don’t mean to acknowledge or add to any stereotypes with that statement. I’m Canadian and we share the same reputation.

So, if the Japanese are generally friendly and not frightening, then why are Japanese ghosts so damn scary? The folklore in Japan has a rich and terrifying tradition of ghost stories which means they’ve had plenty of time to evolve into something efficiently chilling.

I can’t explain why the “Yurei” (as they’re known) are so freaky, but I can help you be aware of what they are in case you see one… The info comes from Japan-Talk.com


Onryo are female ghosts that were abused or neglected by their lovers. They dwell in the physical world after death seeking vengeance. Powerless in life they become strong in death. Strangely enough they rarely harm the lovers who vexed them.

female ghosts


Women that died in childbirth or without making sure their children are provided for in life. The power of their love allows them to stay in the physical world. Usually they come back to help their child in a time of need or leave gifts for children that later turn into dead leaves.

japanese horror stories


Goryo are dangerous and vengeful ghosts that have been martyred in life and return for revenge. They can be incredibly powerful: destroying crops or bringing fire, typhoons or earthquakes.

japanese horror


Funayūrei (literally “ship ghosts”) are the ghosts of mariners who died at sea. They approach ships at sea and ask for a ladle. If they are given the ladle they will scoop water into the ship so effectively that the ship will sink.


Zashiki-warashi are child ghosts who dwell in large well maintained houses. They are mischievous and may play small tricks on the living. However, seeing a zashiki-warashi or having one in your house is considered very lucky and can bring great fortunes.

Seductress Ghosts

Japanese folklore is full of ghosts both male and female who come back to the world to seduce the living.

japanese myths