Japanese Urban Legends

Human Dog

The Human Faced Dog or “Jinmenken” is an urban legend from Japan about strange sightings of dogs with human faces. They have been a part of Japanese folklore for hundreds of years.

Human Dog

Jinmenken are dogs with human faces. They are almost always seen at night in urban areas of Japan. Those who have seen them say they look just like an ordinary dog from afar, but when they turn around, you see that they have a human face. The Jinmenken are able to speak and often challenged witnesses in a weary voice, saying things like, “Mind your own business” or “I’m free to do whatever I want.”

In some reports, they are seen outside people’s houses, rooting through the rubbish and in other reports, they are spotted chasing cars and frightening drivers on expressways.

In one story, there was a restaurant that dumped its trash outside the back door. One night, the chef saw a stray dog rummaging through the rubbish for leftover food. He went out to get rid of the dog, but when he tried to chase it away, the dog looked back over its shoulder and said, “Leave me alone.”

In another story, a man was driving on the highway and noticed a dog in his rear view mirror. It was chasing his car as he drove at speeds over 100 miles per hour. The dog ran so fast that at one point, it was side by side with the car. The driver looked over and was shocked to see that the animal had a human face and it said, “Do not look at me.” The driver was so astonished that he veered off the road and suffered a terrible accident.

The human-faced dogs are usually thought of as being a bad omen of things to come, and are often blamed for accidents and disasters.

Between 1989 and 1990, hysteria about the Jinmenken reached its height in Japan. People were calling the police and demanding that they rid their neighborhoods of human faced dogs. Auto accidents involving a sighting of the Jinmenken were so frequent that the police had to investigate the possibility that the creatures actually existed.

XSome people believe that human-faced dogs are the spirits of traffic accident victims who have been reincarnated as dogs. Others believe they are dogs possessed by evil spirits. Some even say that the Jinmenken are the human-dog hybrids who were created in secret biological experiments and managed to escape from the laboratories.

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