Home » Hanako-San (Hanako of the toilet): Ghost Girl Haunts School Toilets – Japanese Urban Legend/Creepypasta

Today, we introduce you to Hanako-san (Hanako of the toilet), an all-too-famous Japanese urban legend.

A school toilet where no one is supposed to be. But if you know how to call out, a girl who shouldn’t be there might appear…

What is Hanako-san In Japanese Urban Legends?

Hanako-san (花子さん) is one of the most well-known Japanese urban legends/the name of the girl appears in the story. Because she usually inhabits a school toilet, she is also often called Toire no Hanako-san (トイレの花子さん/Hanako of the toilet) as well.

The original story is said to be an urban legend called ‘The Third Hanako-san (三番目の花子さん) ‘ that appeared in the 1950s. Then, it spread to children and the rest of Japan in the 1980s.

In the 1990s, it came with the occult boom and appeared in pop culture, including films, manga, and anime, making it even more well-known. Since then, Hanako-san’s popularity has continued to be passed on to future generations.

Hanako-san Urban Legend Story (podcast)

There are several variations, but the most famous one goes like this.

↓Tap 「+」 to expand to read more, to close the story section!

Characteristics of Hanako-san


Girl with bobbed hair in a red skirt

While there are many variations in Hanako-san’s story, there are also several patterns in her appearance.

However, the most common is that of a girl with bobbed hair, wearing a white shirt, and a red skirt with suspenders.

inhabits the third stall of the school toilet

Hanako-san lurks in the third private stall from the very front in the school toilet. More to that, this toilet is also said to be on the third floor of the school building.

As an aside, the number three is often emphasised as a number associated with Hanako-san. Perhaps this is because the number three has been considered sacred since ancient times as a number signifying ‘completion’ or ‘integration’, and so it naturally came to be used in the ritual of invoking Hanako-san.

Responds to Three knocking and the calling out

Knock three times on the door of the third private stall in the toilet (again, the number three is used here) and ask: “Is Hanako-san there?” If the knock is returned or you hear the answer ‘yes,’ then Hanako-san is already there.

There is also another version of asking, which is ‘Hanako-san, let’s play together’.

Taken away to the toilet stall

When Hanako san replies, the door to the private stall opens. There, Hanako-san drags the person who knocked on the door into the toilet.

What happens to the person taken in afterwards is often not discussed. However, depending on how they respond or react, they may end up with death…

What could be the origin of Hanako-san?


There are many theories about Hanako-san’s origin and who she was based on. Here are some of the most popular ones.

Girl murdered by A Thug

This theory is based on an actual incident of the murder. It was a sad incident in 1954 when a second-year primary school girl was attacked by a drug addict at Motomachi Primary School in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.

At that time, security was not established for elementary schools as it is today, but rather, they were recognised as open facilities. And toilets were used by anyone as if they were public toilets.

Under these circumstances, the girl wanted to go to the toilet during recess and left the classroom. When class restarted, she did not return, but neither her classmates nor her teacher paid much attention and did not look for her, assuming that she had something else to do.

A few hours later, when they realised that she hadn’t returned too long. They searched for her, but it was too late, and she was found dead in a toilet.

The killer was a 20-year-old man at the time, and as there was evidence at the scene, the case was solved quickly, and he was executed two years later. However, this incident may have stayed somewhere in people’s minds, which may have led to the urban legend of Hanako-san.

victim of a family suicide

There is another sad theory, which is based on an incident in 1937.

In Iwate Prefecture, there was a family of five. The father of the family was having an affair, and the mother, who was too disappointed, tried to kill the family.

The eldest daughter, who saw the mother murdering the eldest son and the second daughter, ran away from home and hid in the school toilet. When the mother asked the janitor who saw the girl, he told the mother that the girl was at the far end of the toilet.

The next day, the eldest daughter was found in a completely changed state…

After this incident, a girl who looked a lot like the eldest daughter started to be seen at that school. This story may have evolved into Hanako-san as it spread across the country.

Evolution of Yokai from Edo-period

In the Edo period (1603-1868), there were already some stories that people entered a toilet, an arm came out of the bowl and tried to drain their souls.

This is said to have been a trick by some Yokai, such as Kappa (河童) or Tanuki (たぬき), but it is possible that these Yokai stories were the prototype for the later urban legend of Hanako-san.

Remains of past beliefs in toilet god?

Strange as it may sound, the belief in a toilet deity was popular in Japan from the Edo period to the early Showa period. This deity was called ‘Kawayagami’ (厠神), and it was worshipped by offering a red and white female doll and beautiful floral decorations in the toilet.

The worship of Kawayagami gradually declined after World War II but remained afterwards. The theory is also supported by several similarities, such as the fact that Hanako-san is dressed in red or white, and her name is Hanako (花子), which consists of two Japanese letters meaning “Flower” and “Child.”

How Do you deal with Hanako-san when she appears


If Hanako-san comes out, the worst-case scenario is death… However, some of the stories also introduce ways of dealing with her, so let me share some here.

  • Show a test paper with a perfect score of 100.
  • When asked to play with her, clearly say ‘no’.
  • Saying sorry over and over again.
  • Show her milk and yellow food, which is said to be something she doesn’t like.

Other Variations of Hanako-san


The urban legend of Hanako-san has many variations, depending on the region, time period, or media in which it was told. I will share some of the most famous ones here.

The Third Hanako-san (三番目の花子さん)

This was an urban legend told around the 1950s that became the prototype for Hanako-san.

In the toilet at a primary school gymnasium in Iwate Prefecture, when the student entered the third private stall from the back, she heard a voice saying, ‘Hanako-san, the third.’ Then, a white hand reached out from inside the toilet bowl.

The interesting thing about this story is that Hanako-san was not initially the story that we call her from the outside, but being called from her side.

Yamiko-san (やみ子さん)

In modern pop culture, Hanako-san has sometimes been portrayed as a friend of children. On the other hand, Yamiko-san (やみ子さん) is believed to have taken over the dark side that Hanako-san originally had. She is considered to be Hanako-san’s rival.

She also appears in the toilets, but her appearance is black, like the darkness, and rumours spread that seeing Yamiko-san makes people unhappy. Yamiko-san can also be a young woman holding a child. It is said that when people hold the baby, she becomes heavier and heavier, and they are dragged into darkness.

Bukimi-chan (ブキミちゃん)

In recent years, a younger sister of Hanako-san has appeared. Her name is Bukimi-chan (ブキミちゃん).

Like Hanako-san, she also appears in private toilet stalls, but she looks completely different. Bukimi-chan is said to have a very creepy and ugly face full of pus and a fat figure.

Bukimi-chan especially targets cute girls because he is jealous of pretty girls because of his own ugliness. If a pretty girl enters the toilet stall where Bukimi-chan is present, she will send her own pus flying and blind the girl before slaughtering her.

Hanako-san’s Appearance in Japanese pop culture


When it came to the 1990s, Hanako-san had become a widespread presence in the Japanese pop culture scene, including film, literature, manga, anime and video games.

She first appeared in the 1995 film Toire no Hanako-san (トイレの花子さん), in which she was portrayed as the benevolent spirit of a suicidal girl who haunts the school toilet. The character was also portrayed in Aida Iro’s manga series “Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun (地縛少年花子くん)”, which was first released in 2015, where he is portrayed as a boy.

Hanako-san’s popularity continues to grow, as she also appears in other popular anime such as GeGeGe no Kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎) and Yokai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ).

Hanako-san still keeps children away from school toilets…

In my opinion, Hanako-san is an urban legend that has terrorised children all over Japan to this day. Of course, I was one of them, as I couldn’t go to the school toilet for this.

Hanako-san’s story will continue to keep children all over Japan, and indeed the world, away from toilets. I hope this article has helped(?) in this regard.

↓Check out these related articles as well to find out more about Japanese urban legends/creepypastas!


My Top 10 Japanese Urban Legends/Creepypastas of the Scariest


Toshi Densetsu – Japanese Urban Legend/Creepypasta Archives

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