Japanese Ghost Stories

Lillian Kwok

Aka Manto

A malicious spirit who haunts bathrooms and asks the cubicle occupants if they want red or blue paper.

I like the flickering fluorescent lights that are always on. When the people say they want no paper my mouth falls open in shock. I get so angry I bang my head on the tile floor.



A spirit that washes azuki beans.

The beans chase each other around and hold each other by the round waist. One bean jumps on top of another bean and they start to have sex. I wait until they are done and then I wash them twice.



An auspicious beast who can devour nightmares.

Afterwards I like to crawl in bed with them and wrap my arms around them. I don’t mind if they don’t call me Baku at first. I am patient with them, stroking their hair and murmuring, not Jim say Baku, Baku, Baku.



A possessed roll of cotton that attempts to smother people by wrapping itself around their faces.

My mother was an anaconda and my father was a toilet paper roll. He’s been in the wastebasket for some time now but mother and I remember him fondly.



A beast that falls to earth in a lightning bolt.

The sound of me falling doesn’t wake him. He’s not a boy but he’s small as a boy. I lower myself into his bellybutton, cover my eyes with my tail and fall asleep.



A monster that drops out of the tops of trees.

I sat in the tree and poured water on the people walking underneath. I laughed and laughed, but when my father called me in to dinner I was too afraid to come down.

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