|Habitat||Mostly urban areas|
|Active||Night, especially foggy evenings|
Kuchisake-onna (or "Slit-mouth Woman") refers to both the traditional Japanese myth of a mutilated woman and an urban legend loosely based on such.
The legend centers on a samurai and his wife (or, in some versions, concubine). This wife was extreme in both her beauty and her vanity. When the samurai suspected her of cuckoldry, he flew into a rage and slashed her mouth from ear to ear, destroying her beauty forever.
In a popular urban legend, the woman's spirit roams on foggy evenings, her face covered by a surgical mask, as is done in many Asian countries as courtesy by those who are suffering from contagious illnesses. She will approach lone strangers, especially those of a young age, and ask them, "Am I pretty?" If she receives a yes, she will remove her mask, exposing her mutilated face, and ask, "How about now?" If her victim says no, she will brutally kill them, often with a pair of large scissors. If the response is still "Yes", she will follow to the victim's home, mutilating their face on the doorstep. This is because the Japanese word for pretty, kirei, is nearly identifical in sound to the verb kire, "to cut".
Variations of the urban legend exist, ranging from possible methods of salvation, such as an answer of "You're average" or "So-so", to modern reasons for the woman's mutilation, such as disastrous plastic surgery.
The summer of 1979 saw rumors that Kuchisake-onna was preying on children. These caused considerable worry and resulted in increased patrol by police and supervision of children.
The urban legend has elements in common with those of Bloody Mary and La Llorona, in that they involve a supernatural female figure, often mentioned to have once been especially beautiful, who brings about harm to children.