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Why is this body awfully long…? I will share the terror from the Kaidan Legend Junji Inagawa this time

The Long Body (Japan Makes Me Scared podcast)

Scary & Horror Story of the Kaidan (transcription)


This story is from the Kaidan legend Junji Inagawa.

He is one of the most popular and well-known Kaidan storytellers in Japan. And I’m pretty sure I’m gonna cover more of his stories in future episodes as well. But today, I will share my favourite one here.

Aside from his job as a Kaidan teller, Junji Inagawa used to own a bar. And there was one of the regulars there. We can call him “Akira” for convenience.

Akira was a young Japanese monk who loved surfing. By the way, he had long hair, which is pretty rare among Japanese monks.

This is the story he shared in one night at the bar. And I will describe “I” as Akira from here.

Curry is missing

One day, I decided to go surfing once in a while and gathered my friends for a two-day trip. Then there were four of us, including me.

They’re not their real names, but we can call them Kenzo, Haruto, and Ren.

We went out in a car early in the morning to a beach. We were hungry on the way because we hadn’t had breakfast yet.

I don’t remember who, but someone said, “Let’s have a quick breakfast somewhere.” So we entered a random restaurant along the road we were driving on.

After having seats, a waitress came to the table to take orders.

“Welcome, what can I get you?” she asked.

I said, “Can we have curry for all of us?” Since curry is a fast food in Japan, it sounded like the right choice for our quick breakfast plan.

After the order, she came back with some glasses of water.

“This is a free service. You can ask me for more water anytime.” then she placed each glass in front of each person.

I had a glass, and so did Haruto and Ren. But Kenzo didn’t. There was one glass missing.

“Hey, there is a glass missing for me! Could you please bring one?” Kenzo asked the waitress.

“Oh, sorry, I will bring one right now” she politely apologised and returned with a new glass.

A short time later, the plates of curry were coming. The waitress put each plate in front of each of us.

Again, there was no curry for Kenzo. Now, he didn’t get water, and didn’t get curry as well.

Haruto made fun of him, saying, “Hahaha, Nothing comes to your place, really. Not even curry!” It gave us a little laughter.

“Excuse me, lady, one more curry hasn’t come yet? Kenzo asked the waitress again.

“Oh, I’m really, really sorry. I’ll bring one in a minute”, and one curry arrived late.

After a burst of laughter, we finished our breakfast and got back in the car to drive off.

Chasing after girls? Yeah, he must be

Eventually, we arrived at a Ryokan (旅館), which is a traditional Japanese hotel. This ryokan was where we were planning to stay, but it was so early in the morning that we couldn’t check in yet.

Ren said, “Oh well. Let’s have a quick swim before we check in then.” So we all changed to put our swimsuits on and went out to a beach with our surfboards. 

The surfing was pretty exciting, and it was around 3 pm when we all got out of the water.

Haruto said, “Well, I’ve had enough. Should we go back to the Ryokan? I’m sure they will accept the check-in now.”

We were all too tired to swim more, so we decided to call it a day. But when I looked around, I noticed Kenzo was not there. (To remind you, Kenzo was the one who didn’t get water and curry.)

“Hey, where is Kenzo? He’s not here.”,  I said.

“Yeah, he’s not here.” Haruto confirmed that.

We looked for him for a couple of minutes, but couldn’t find him in the end.

“He’s probably off with some cute girl somewhere,” Haruto shared his theory.

We all know what kind of person Kenzo was when there were girls around. Also, Haruto’s assumption was exactly the kind of story he would have done. It sounded quite convincing.

So I replied, “Yeah, that’s right. He must be playing somewhere, so we’ll just leave him alone then.”

“He knows where he’s going to stay anyway, so it should be fine.” Ren followed us, too. So we went back to the Ryokan.

When we got there and had a bath and a shower to refresh, it was time for dinner.

We were all more than tired after having a meal, drinking beer and having a lot of fun talking. We eventually fell asleep around a dinner table. None of us couldn’t approach the beds.

Uninvited Visitor

“Excuse me, sir, excuse me, sir” Suddenly, I heard a voice.

I opened my eyes and saw that it was already midnight.

“Oh, we must have fallen asleep next to the table.” That was the first thing that came to my mind.

Then again, from the other side of the sliding door. “Excuse me sir”, someone was talking to us.

“Yes?” I replied.

“Excuse me, may I have a word?” The voice was that of a lady.

“Sure, please come in.”

The sliding door opened, and Okami (女将/the landlady of the ryokan) was standing there.

She said, “I am very sorry to bother you at this time of the night, but there is a police officer at the entrance.”

“Police? OK, I will be down there in a minute.”

A police visit in the middle of the night…cannot be good news. I went down the stairs and found a man standing at the dimly lit entrance.

He was showing his ID and said,  “Well, I’m sorry to bother you, but is there anyone here who hasn’t come back yet?”

I remembered that Kenzo finally didn’t come back until the end. We weren’t worried because he often ditched us and chased after girls. We thought it was just another case.

“Oh, yes, there is one of us who didn’t come back. Did he do something bad? Is he in some trouble?” I asked.

“No, no, not that kind.” the officer replied. 

“So what is it?” I was getting confused.

“Um, could you please come with me? There is something that I would like you to confirm about your friend.” 

The way he said that was implying something. Something really terrible.

“OK, but please wait a minute. I’ve got two friends upstairs, I’ll go and bring them.”

So I went up to my friends. Ren and Haruto joined me, and we got into the police car.

After getting in the car, the officer started talking about the details. “Actually, we found a body up there in the afternoon.”


“Well, we are not sure about who it is, so we’ve been looking for a clue and it got late at night now.”

“Then, what are we supposed to do?” I kind of knew what answer I was going to get. I just couldn’t help but ask.

“We need you to make sure that he is your friend.” My prediction proved to be right.

At this point, Haruto and Ren were actually rather more upset than worried.

They were like “You’ve got to be kidding me! I don’t want to be woken up in the middle of the night by someone I don’t know. And get asked to see the face of the dead person and tell if he is our friend. It’s disgusting! If that stupid man comes back, we’re going to make him pay for this!” 

They were sticking to the theory that Kenzo was being Kenzo as usual. 

While 90% of me agreed with them, on the other hand, I found myself inevitably thinking about the worst case scenario for the remaining 10%.

Meanwhile, a big concrete building was coming into view. It seemed like a hospital. We went inside the hospital, and there was a long corridor with a door at the end.

When we reached in front of the door, the police officer said, “It’s inside this door, so should we….” 

He didn’t finish the sentence, but it must have meant that he wanted us to go in and identify the body.

“Yes,” I said immediately, but the other two were not ready at all.

“No, no. I don’t want to. And it’s not an obligation or anything to look at it, right?” Haruto replied in a trembling voice.

“I don’t want to do that either.” Ren was the same and continued, “Akira, you’re a monk. You must be used to seeing the faces of the dead, right? So, can you go alone?”

They had been swearing at Kenzo in the car earlier, but now they were afraid to look at the dead man’s face.

“Um, ok, I will have a look then.” I decided to go alone.

The Worst Case Scenario

Inside the door, there was a tiny light on, and I could see a bed in front of me. But,

“Um, there’s no one  on the bed.” I said what I found strange to the officer.

He said, “Not on the bed, It’s over there.” He pointed to a sheet on the ground in the corner of the room.

It’s even more strange, isn’t it? Normally, in such a situation, a dead body would be on the bed, not on the floor.

“Could you please?” The officer didn’t give me more explanation. So I squatted down and started flipping the sheet over slowly.

When the hair showed up, I immediately knew at that moment.

I’m not usually paying attention to it, but I knew it was his hairstyle.

It was Kenzo.

I couldn’t help shouting. “Oh no, hey, we’re in trouble. Oh, my God. Hey, come on. Come over here.”

Then Haruto and Ren both ran into the room.

“Officer, is he dead?” I said with a little hope that he wasn’t.

“Yes, he is.” the hope crumbled with the short answer.

“Why? Why?” Haruto was getting panicked, too.

Kenzo was dead like he was sleeping in his swimsuit.

The Long Dead Body

After the confirmation, the officer went out of the room to report to his team. We also went out for a phone call to the family of Kenzo to tell them about the sad news.

When all the hustle and bustle had calmed down, we came back to the room. Then, I, as a monk, put my hands together and prayed for him. Haruto and Ren stood beside just looking at this.

Suddenly, Ren broke the silence.

“Hey. I’ve been wondering about this for a while now, don’t you think it’s strange?”

“Yeah?” I replied.

“Don’t you think it’s strange that he is lying on the floor? And also look, isn’t this body awfully long? The length of each person is usually fixed, so it doesn’t look right.”

I was indeed concerned about it as well. Kenzo’s body was obviously too long. I had flipped up until his shoulder earlier, so most of his body was still covered with the sheet. What’s actually under there…?

I threw this mystery to the officer who came back in the room just now.

“Officer, this body is very long, isn’t it?”


“Why is it?”

“Um…” he didn’t look willing to answer this question.

“Can I see under the sheet?” I kept going.

After a short pause,  “Yes, you can.”, he finally replied. So I squatted down and held the sheet again.

Then I started flipping it. I was going down from Kenzo’s face to his waist,  thigh, knee… Then, I suddenly had a glimpse of something in the darkness around his knee.

It was kind of a greyish-fuzzy thing.

What is it? It seemed to be hair, which didn’t make sense at all. So I kept flipping over then…

“Whoa!” I was scared to death.

It wasn’t a thing. It was an old lady hugging his leg. 

“Officer, what is this?” Haruto asked in an almost weeping voice.

“Actually, this is an old lady who was reported to fall into the sea four days ago and has been missing since.”

“The missing grandma from four days ago? Why is her corpse clutched in my friend’s leg?” Ren seemed to have lost the cool and couldn’t hide his agitation.

“I have no idea at all. We are also trying to understand…” said the officer.


A few days later, articles about the two dead bodies were published in a local newspaper.

But they were told as two completely separate events, so there is nobody else but us who knows the truth behind them…

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