Hanako San is a Japanese urban legend about the ghost of a young girl that’s supposed to haunt school toilets, opening and closing doors and scaring anyone who enters the bathroom, knocks on her stall, and calls her name.
Hanako, the ghost in the toilet almost achieved the status of a national phenomena in Japanese legend 20 years ago, when a wave of stories of ghost-sightings swept through the nation’s school yards.
Every child had a “Hanako” story to tell. The stories, of course, are many and varied but every schoolchild in Japan, at one time or another, has stood in dread and anticipation as he or she ventured into the school toilet alone.
This is similar to the legend of Kashima Reiko, a female ghost without legs who also lives in school bathrooms. She calls out “Where are my legs?” when people enter the bathroom. The correct way to answer her varies. In one version, you have to say: Kashima Reiko: KA = Kamen (Mask), SHI = Shinin (dead person), MA=Ma (Demon).
Yet another version features Aoi Manto or Aka Manto, a male ghost who waits in the last stall in the girls’ bathroom. Anyone entering the bathroom hears a voice asking, “Which do you prefer, the red paper or the blue paper?”
If they pick “red,” he kills them by slashing their back or neck repeatedly with a blade, to make them look like they’re wearing a red cape. If they pick “blue,” then they’re killed by hanging.
He’s known as Aka Manto, Aoi Manto, Aoi Hanten, Aka Kami, and Aoi Kami.