Hisaruki is a creepy Japanese urban legend about something mysterious that only young children seem to know about. People often hear kids whispering about Hisaruki, but nobody seems to know who or what it is. This story combines two obscure urban legends: “Hisaruki” and “Kirakira-san” which are essentially the same thing.
I’m a teacher and recently, I found a job in a nursery school in Japan. There is a Buddhist temple right beside the school and right behind both buildings, there is an old graveyard. There is a large metal fence with sharp spikes around the graveyard to prevent any children from going inside and getting lost or causing mischief.
After a few days, I noticed something very strange. There were always insects and lizards impaled on the spikes on the fence. I wondered who would do such a thing. Although it was possible that it was the work of some mischievous child in the nursery school, it could also have been done by someone else.
The nursery school and the Buddhist temple shared the same entrance, so there were people coming and going all day. There were also some elementary school students who often played in the graveyard, so it was difficult to tell who was doing it.
However, one day, a mole was found impaled on the fence. The school principal found it and immediately cleared it away, putting the animal’s corpse in the dustbin. A few days later, a cat was impaled on the fence. It was getting worse and worse.
The school principal decided that something had to be done. He held a meeting with the teachers and invited some priests from the Buddhist temple to attend as well.
“Who is doing this?” he asked. “What should I do to stop it?”
There was a long discussion, but nobody seemed to have any solutions. After almost an hour, we still didn’t know who was doing it or how to stop it from happening again.
A few days later, a rabbit was found impaled on the fence. It was not just any rabbit. It was the pet rabbit from the nursery school. We kept it in a cage in one of the classrooms and the children were allowed to feed it. I found it in the morning when I arrived at work.
When I spoke to one of the Buddhist priests, he told me that he had been clearing weeds in the graveyard earlier that morning and the dead rabbit definitely hadn’t been there. That meant that the culprit had to have impaled the rabbit on the fence just before I arrived.
One of the children in my class had arrived early for school that morning, so I took him aside and asked him if he had seen anything.
The child said only one word: “Hisaruki”
“Hisaruki?” I repeated. “What is Hisaruki?”
I asked him over and over, but it seemed like the little boy couldn’t explain what he meant. He just covered his eyes with his hands and kept shaking his head and repeating, “Hisaruki… Hisaruki… Hisaruki…”
Later on, I asked the other children about “Hisaruki”. Every child in the class knew the name, but none of them could explain who or what Hisaruki was. It was very frustrating.
There was also something else that struck me as weird. The children knew that the pet rabbit had been killed, but none of them seemed to be all that upset about it. It was as if they all just accepted it. I had the strangest feeling that they might even have been expecting it to happen.
At the end of the day, the children’s parents came to pick them up. I asked the parents if they had ever heard of the name “Hisaruki”, but none of them remembered their children ever mentioning it. I determined that it wasn’t a character from a TV show or a book either. It was a complete mystery.
As I was getting ready to leave, one of the other teachers stopped me.
“I’m sure I saw a picture with that name on it,” she said.
She told me that, a few years ago, she had seen a picture drawn by a child in her class… a little boy… and she was sure that the name written below the picture was “Hisaruki”.
“What happened to that little boy?” I asked.
“He left,” she replied. “But I remember that the circumstances of his leaving were quite strange…”
She told me that the boy had been absent from school for a week. Then, one morning, his parents turned up to collect his schoolbooks. They seemed to be in a hurry and didn’t want to talk. All they would say was that their son had been in an accident and they were moving to another city, but they refused to elaborate further. The teacher gave them the books and, as they were leaving, she noticed that their son was sitting in the back of the car.
“He was wearing eye-patches,” she said. “Not just one eye-patch, but two eye-patches… over both of his eyes…”
That was all she could tell me. She didn’t know what happened to the boy after that. His parents drove off and she never saw him again.
The next morning, when I arrived at the school, the principal told me he had found a chicken impaled on the fence. I shook my head in disbelief. It seemed as if it was never going to stop.
Later that day, during the lunch break, the children were playing in the yard and it was my turn to supervise them. I noticed one boy who was close to me suddenly stop in his tracks and look up at the sky.
“It’s Hisaruki,” he said.
The message was passed around the playground from child to child, like a game of Chinese Whispers.
“Hisaruki”… “Hisaruki”… “Hisaruki”…
As I watched in disbelief, one by one, the children stopped playing and covered their eyes with their hands. Some of them were standing and others were crouching, but all of them were motionless. It was a bright, sunny afternoon, but the uneasy silence sent a chill down my spine.
I knelt down in front of the boy nearest to me and said, “I don’t see anything. Who is Hisaruki?”
The boy didn’t answer me, so I pulled his hands away from his eyes.
“I want to know,” I said sternly. “Who is Hisaruki?”
“I don’t know,” the boy muttered as he tried to cover his eyes again.
I grabbed his wrists and stopped him.
“Tell me!” I demanded. “Who is Hisaruki?”
The boy stuck out the index fingers on both of his hands and raised them up in front of my face. Then, all of a sudden, he tried to jab them into my eyes. It took me by surprise, but luckily I was able to move my head to the side and dodge the attack.
Before I had a chance to react, the boy broke free from my grasp and started jabbing his fingers into his own eyes. I wrestled him to the ground and desperately tried to stop him poking his own eyes out.
“Someone help me!” I screamed.
One of the other teachers came running over and together, we managed to subdue the boy. We took him to hospital and the doctors managed to save his eyes.
After that, the animals stopped appearing on the spikes on the iron fence. None of the children mentioned “Hisaruki”. Now and then, I would see them covering their eyes when they were outside in the playground, but I just tried to ignore it.
Occasionally, I still find small lizards and insects impaled on the iron fence, but I choose to ignore that as well. I never questioned any of the children about “Hisaruki” again. There are some things you just don’t want to know…