Since everyone these days is wearing face masks, I can’t stop thinking about the slit-mouthed woman of Japanese mythology. I keep expecting someone to ask me if I think they’re pretty. In folklore, the kuchisake-onna was a ghost of a woman who was either killed by her husband for infidelity or by someone who was jealous of her beauty. They killed her by cutting her mouth open from ear to ear.
As a spirit, she walks around wearing a face mask and carrying scissors. If you run into her, she’ll ask if you think she’s pretty. If you say no, she’ll kill you. Whereas if you say yes, she’ll take her mask off to reveal her face and ask it again. If you say no, she’ll cut you in half, and if you say yes, she’ll make you look like her.
Different versions of the myth have allowed people to escape with a few different answers other than yes or no. But apparently the best bet is to just throw candy at her and run. So, if you’re going out shopping for supplies, make sure to carry some with you, lest one of the other shoppers decide to defy social distancing and ask you if you think she’s pretty.