Harionago or “The Long Haired Woman” is a Japanese urban legend about a ghost who attacks men with her hair. She is also known as Hari-onna (The Hook Woman, The Needle Woman). In other parts of Japan, people refer to her as Nure-onago (The Smiling Woman) or Warai-onago (The Smiling Girl).
Harionago is a Japanese ghost who appears in the form of a beautiful woman with extremely long hair. She has the ability to control her hair and it snakes out like writhing tentacles. The tips of her long hair form into sharp hooks or barbs.
At night, she stalks the lonely roads and backstreets of Japan, searching for young men to attack. When she spots a young man who takes her fancy, she will smile at him. If the young man dares to return her smile, Harionago will unleash her terrible, barbed hair and attack him.
The sharp hooks at the end of her hair, stick into the man’s clothes and flesh, trapping him in her clutches. Once she has him ensnared with her long hair, he cannot move and she uses the hooks to cut him to pieces or tear him apart.
In many small villages in Japan, there have been numerous reports of attacks on young men by Harionago. One night, a boy from Yamada village happened to be walking home on his own. As he turned down a narrow street, a beautiful girl came walking towards him.
As she approached, he noticed that she was smiling at him. He thought there was something strange about her, but he was attracted by her beautiful looks and smiled back at her. When he did, her hair fell down in disarray and she pounced on him.
The boy was shocked and struggled to free himself from her clutches. Her hair rose up like tentacles and the hooks snagged on his shirt, ripping it from his back. Somehow, he managed to get away and ran back to his house as fast as he could. He locked the door behind him and stood, shaking and trembling, at the front door, waiting for dawn to arrive.
In the morning, when he dared to open the door, he found hundreds of deep scratches on the other side.
So, if you’re walking down a street at night and you see a strange woman smiling at you from the shadows, you may want to think twice before you smile back at her.