Home » Kotoribako: Never Even Approach The Cursed Box – Japanese Urban Legend/Creepypasta

Today, we will dive into the bloody mysteries of “Kotoribako”, a Japanese urban legend that was posted on 2chan.

Do not open the box or even get near it. The curse and the evil feeling may bring you unexpected misfortune…

*(Caution) There have been reports of people suffering health problems after reading Kotoribako. If you choose to view it, please do so at your own risk.

What is Kotoribako In Japanese Urban Legends?

Kotoribako (コトリバコ) is a popular urban legend in Japanese creepypastas/the name of the box in the story.

The first appearance of the Kotoribako story was in 2005 when a man shared the scary experience that had happened to him and his friends on the Japanese message board 2channel (often shortened as 2chan).

Kotoribako Urban Legend Story (podcast)

<–podcast episode coming soon!–>

One girl in the group found a crafted wooden box from a barn. It turned out that this box was called “Kotoribako,” which curses and kills the owner or their loved ones by inflicting illness or accidents.

They managed to contain the situation but were later informed about how the box was made and its bloody history…

Characteristics of Kotoribako


Affect only women and children around the box

In Japanese, Kotoribako can be written as “子取り箱”, which translates into “the box that takes children away”.

As the words suggest, the curse of Kotoribako only affects women and children. More specifically, women who can still give birth.

It is believed that the reason why the curse targeted women and children was to eradicate their family tree…

made With children’s corps

When creating Kotoribako, a piece of the child’s corpse is needed. The terrible effect of the curse is said to be as strong as the number of child corpses used in its creation, and the duration of the curse is said to be prolonged.

The boxes are named differently depending on the number of child corpses used. From 1 to 7, they are named Ippou, Nihou, Sampou, Shihou, Gohou, Roppou, and Chippou. When it comes to Chippou, the effects of the curse are said to last for approximately 140 years.

Cause Damage to internal organs

It is said that touching Kotoribako, or simply just being around/looking at it, will gradually cause the internal organs to shred and eventually lead to death.

For example, a child in the village once mistook Kotoribako for a toy and brought it home, and by the end of the day, all the women and children in the house had died of organ damage.

Should be kept in a shrine

The best way to diminish the effects is to have them kept in shrines for long periods of time and purify them little by little.

It is not certain whether Kotoribako still exists today, but if it does, it may still be quietly stored in a shrine somewhere in Japan…

What Was the origin of Kotoribako?


It is said that Kotoribako was first created in the late 1860s.

In a village in ‘Izumo (出雲)’ (current Shimane Prefecture). At the time, the villagers suffered terrible discrimination and persecution from their surroundings.

The persecution was so severe that living was difficult. So they even practised “Mabiki (間引き)”, the killing of newborn children.

In the late 1860s, a rebellion broke out on the Oki Islands (隠岐島), and then a man on the side that started the rebellion fled to the village of Izumo.

The villagers wanted to kill the man, as they thought they would be further persecuted if they caused any more trouble. He then offers to beg for his life, saying that he will give them a weapon if they help him. This weapon was Kotoriboko.

The villagers, who were tired of persecution, would have been attracted to a weapon that would ensure the death of the target (his wife and children) and the extermination of his family. It was a threat to those who discriminated against them and to ensure that they could live in peace. The inhabitants swallowed the man’s proposal and decided to learn how to make Kotoribako.

The first Kotoribako made by the villagers was Chippou, which was made by trapping pieces of the corpses of seven children. When they presented it to the headman who persecuted the area, the women and children in the headman’s house died in agony, vomiting blood…

The threat of Kotoribako became known in the surrounding areas, and any pressure or interference with the village was said to have ceased. Despite this, the villagers continued to build 16 Kotoribakos for the next 13 years.

It is said that they stopped making Kotoribako after the tragic incident, as mentioned earlier in this article, when a child from the village took one home by mistake.

How to Make/Manage Kotoribako


Steps to make Kotoribako

The sequence of events leading up to the curse being placed on the Kotoribako is as follows.

  1. Make a wooden Karakuri box (crafted box with some gimmicks). The box must be intricately crafted so that it cannot be opened in the slightest.
  2. Fill the box with the blood of a female animal (non-human animal).
  3. Leave it as it is for a week.
  4. Cover the box before the blood dries up.
  5. Put parts of the body of the “Mabiki” child into the box. The part to be placed depends on the age of the child.
    • If the child has just given birth, the umbilical cord, the tip of the index finger and the blood squeezed out of the guts.
    • Up to the age of seven, the tip of the index finger and blood squeezed from the guts.
    • Tip of index finger until the age of 10 years.
  6. Mark each box with a lid and send them to the house of the target

Rules to keep Kotoribako safely

The man who taught the villagers how to make Kotoribako also taught them how to manage the boxes.

The basic rules are very simple.

  • Never let women and children near Kotribako.
  • Keep the box in a dark and damp place.
  • Ask the shrine to dispose of the box when it is no longer needed or is no longer available.

In addition to these rules, in the 2chan story, there are their own rules for managing Kotoribako in order to suppress its too-powerful curse.

  1. The three families who know Kotoribako must take turns to manage it.
  2. After the death of a householder, the next rotating householder must receive it from the heir of the previous one.
  3. The successor must inform the heir about the box. If there is no heir, the box must be given to the next rotating householder.
  4. Do not talk about the boxes held by other groups.
  5. When householders do not keep the box, they should monitor the house that does.
  6. Report to the shrine for disposal after the agreed number of years of storage.
  7. Do not bring in boxes that have not been kept for the agreed.

Don’t be tempted to open Kotoribako…

At first, I thought that this would be a classic “don’t open it otherwise…’ type of Japanese urban legend, but things got darker and darker as the story went on when you could see the dark side of insidious relationships in rural Japan.

We don’t know whether Kotoribako actually existed or still exists, but believe it or not, if you find a suspicious wooden box in Japan, please stay away from it…

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


My Top 10 Japanese Creepypastas/Urban Legends of the Scariest


Toshi Densetsu – Japanese Urban Legend/Creepypasta Archives

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