“Hachishakusama” or world-wide known as “Eight Feet Tall” is a Japanese urban legend about a tall eerie-looking woman who abducts children. She is said to be 8 feet tall, who wears a long white dress and makes a creepy sound like “Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…”
The Story Of Hachishakusama – Eight Feet Tall
The legend of Hachishakusama first came to light on August 26, 2008, when a very strange story was posted to a Japanese website by a user named “VFtYjtRn0”. The storyteller described a bizarre series of events in the post that started in their childhood, around the year 1998. The story was originally posted in the Japanese language, however, below we have re-presented a cleaned-up translation of the account:
My grandparents lived in Japan. My parents would take me there during my summer vacation and winter breaks from school to visit them. It was a small yet beautiful village where I really enjoyed every time I went. My grandparents loved to play with me and they had a big backyard. I was their only grandchild, so they never bothered me to have fun.
But the last time I visited them was over ten years ago now when I was only 8-year-old and was still in my third year of high school. After that, I didn’t go there. To say, I can never go there. But why? Well, its answer is hidden in the following story.
I remember, as usual, my parents booked a flight to Japan and we drove from the airport to my grandparents’ house. When we arrived, my grandparents welcomed me with open arms. They had a lot of little presents to give me.
My parents wanted to have some time by themselves, so after a few days, they took a trip to another part of Japan, leaving me in the care of my Grandma and Grandpa.
One day, I was playing out in the backyard. My grandparents were inside the house. It was still cold, but the wide edge of the backyard was very warm and comfortable, and I was relaxing there on the fresh grass for a while. After that, I stared up at the clouds and enjoyed the feeling of the soft rays of the sun and the gentle breeze. Just as I was about to get up,
“Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…”
I heard a strange sound. It wasn’t a mechanical sound, it felt like a person was making it. It sounded like somebody was making the noise “Po… Po… Po…” over and over again in a deep, masculine voice. But I didn’t know what it was!
Whatever I thought, I found a straw hat on the top of the tall hedges of the garden that enclosed the backyard. I didn’t put it on the hedge!
The hat moved sideways, and when it came to the cut of the fence, I saw a woman. Well, the hat was worn by her. That was when I realized who was sounding like “Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…”
The woman was wearing a white dress. But the height of the hedge was about 8 feet. I was surprised at how tall a woman can put her head out of that hedge?!
The woman moved again and disappeared from sight. The hat was also gone. In addition, the strange sound of “Po… Po… Po…” was slowly gradually lost, fading into the distance.
At that time, I only thought that a tall woman was wearing an ultra-thick costume or a tall man wearing shoes with high heels dressed as a woman.
Bewildered, I got up and wandered back into the house. My grandparents were in the kitchen drinking tea. I sat down at the table and, after a while, I told my grandparents what I had seen.
“I saw a tall woman just before. I wonder if a man was dressed as a woman.” They weren’t really paying attention to me.
“She was taller than the fence.” Still, they were enjoying their tea and were talking to each other.
“She was wearing a hat and sounding a strange voice like Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…”
As long as I said, the two people stopped moving. No, it really stopped snugly.
Grandma’s eyes grew wide and she covered her mouth with her hand. Grandpa’s face became very serious and he grabbed me by the arm.
After that, he bombarded me with questions in his very serious voice: “When you saw her? Where did you saw her? Where was she standing? How much she was higher than the fence? What did you do? Did she see you?” I tried to answer all his questions as best I could.
He suddenly rushed out to the phone in the hallway, and called somewhere. I couldn’t hear what he was saying because the sliding door was closed. I looked over at my Grandma and she was trembling.
Grandpa finished the phonecall then came back into the room and spoke something to my grandmother. “I’ve got to go out for a while,” he said. “You stay here with the child. Don’t take your eyes off him for a second.” “What’s going on, Grandpa?” I cried. He looked at me with a sad expression in his eyes and said, “You’ve been liked by Hachishakusama.” With that, he hurried out, got into his truck and drove off.
I turned to my grandmother and cautiously asked, “Who’s Hachishakusama?” “Grandpa will do something for you. You don’t have to worry about anything.” Grandma said in her trembling voice.
As we sat nervously in the kitchen waiting for my grandfather to come back, she explained what was happening. She told me there was a dangerous nasty thing that was haunting the area. They called it “Hachishakusama”. In Japanese, “Hachishakusama (八尺様)” means “Eight Feet Tall”. As the name suggests, it has a height of about eight feet, and it laughs in a strange way like a man with a “Po… Po… Po…” voice.
It appears slightly different, depending on who sees it. Some say it looks like a haggard old woman in a kimono and others say it is a girl in a white funeral shroud. The things that never change are its tall height and its creepy laughter “Po… Po… Po…”
A long time ago, it was captured by monks and they managed to confine it in a ruined building on the outskirts of the village. They trapped it using 4 small religious statues called “Jizos” that they placed at the North, South, East and West of the ruins and it wasn’t supposed to be able to move from there. Somehow it managed to escape. The last time it appeared was 15 years ago.
My grandmother said, whomever Eight Feet Tall sees will die within a few days. It all sounded so crazy, I wasn’t sure what to believe.
After that, Grandpa came back with an old woman. She introduced herself as “K-san” and handed me a small crumpled piece of parchment, saying, “Here, take this and hold it.” Then, she and Grandpa went upstairs to do something.
I was left alone in the kitchen with my grandmother again. I needed to go to the toilet. Granny followed me to the bathroom and wouldn’t let me shut the door. I was beginning to get really frightened by all this.
After a while, Grandpa and K-san took me upstairs and brought me into my bedroom. The windows were covered in newspaper and lots of ancient runes had been written on them. There were small bowls of salt in all four corners of the room and a small Buddha statue placed at the center of the room on top of a wooden box. There was also a bright blue bucket. “What’s the bucket for?” I asked. “That’s for your pee and poo,” Grandpa replied.
Then, K-san sat me down on the bed and said, “Soon, the sun will be setting, so listen carefully. You must stay in this room until tomorrow morning. You must not come out under any circumstances until 7 o’clock tomorrow morning. Your grandmother and your grandfather will not speak to you or call you until then. Remember, do not leave the room for any reason until then. I will let your parents know what is going on.” She spoke in such a grave tone that all I could do was quietly nod my head.
“You have to follow K-san’s instructions to the letter,” Grandpa told me. “And never let go of the parchment she gave you. And if anything happens, pray to Buddha. And make sure you lock this door when we leave.” They walked out into the hallway and after saying goodbye to them, I closed the bedroom door and locked it.
I turned on the TV and tried to watch, but I was so nervous, I felt sick to my stomach. Grandma had left some snacks, sweets and rice balls for me, but I couldn’t eat them. I felt like I was in prison and I was very depressed and scared. I lay down on the bed and waited. Before I knew it, I was asleep.
When I woke up, it was just after 1 AM. All of a sudden, I realized that something was tapping on the window. “Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap…” I felt the blood draining from my face and my heart skipped a beat. I desperately tried to calm myself down, telling myself it was just the wind playing tricks or maybe the branches of a tree.
I drank a sip of tea to calm down, but after all, I was so scared that I started to watch the TV with a loud sound to drown out the tapping noise. Eventually, it stopped altogether. That was when I heard my Grandpa’s voice.
“Are you OK in there?” he asked. “If you’re scared you don’t have to stay in there all alone. I can come in and keep you company.” I smiled and rushed over to open the door, but then, I stopped in my tracks. I had goosebumps all over my body. It sounded like Grandpa’s voice, but somehow, it was different. I couldn’t tell what was, but I just knew… “What are you doing?” Grandpa asked. “You can open the door now.”
I glanced to my left and a chill went down my spine. The salt in the bowls was slowly turning black. I backed away from the door. My whole body was trembling with fear. I fell to my knees in front of the Buddha statue and clutched the piece of parchment tightly in my hand. I started desperately praying for help. “Please save me from Hachishakusama,” I wailed. Then, I heard the voice outside the door saying: “Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…” The tapping on the window started up again!
I was overcome by fear and I crouched there in front of the statue, half-crying and half-praying for the rest of the night. I felt like the long night would never end, but eventually it was morning. The time displayed in the desk watch was indeed 7:13 AM. The salt in all 4 bowls was discoloured to pitch black. Just in case, I checked my watch. It was also showing 7:13. I cautiously opened the horrible door. Grandma and K-san were standing outside waiting for me with a worried face.
When she saw my face, Grandma burst into tears. “I’m so glad you’re still alive,” she said. I went downstairs and was surprised to see my father and mother sitting in the kitchen.
Grandpa came in and said, “Hurry up! We’ve got to get going.” We went to the front door and there was a large black van waiting in the driveway. Several men from the village were standing around it, pointing at me and whispering, “That’s the boy.”
The van was a 9-seater and they put me in the middle, surrounded by eight men. K-san was in the driver’s seat. The man on my left looked down at me and said, “You’ve got yourself in quite a spot of trouble. I know you’re probably worried. Just keep your head down and your eyes shut. We can’t see it, but you can. Don’t open your eyes until we’ve got you safely out of here.”
Grandpa drove in front and my dad’s car was following behind. When everyone was ready, our little convoy started moving. We were going fairly slow… around 20km/h or maybe less.
After a while, K-san said, “This is where it gets hard,” and started muttering a prayer under her breath. That was when I heard the voice. “Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…” I clutched the parchment K-san had given me tightly in my hand. I kept my head down, but at a time I peeked outside. I saw a white dress fluttering in the breeze. It was moving along with the van. It was Hachishakusama. She was outside the window, but she was keeping pace with us.
Then, suddenly she bent down and peered into the van. “No!” I gasped. The man beside me shouted, “CLOSE YOUR EYES!” I immediately shut my eyes as hard as I could and tightened my grip on the piece of parchment. Then the tapping began. Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap… The voice became louder. “Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…” There was tapping on the windows all around us.
All of the men in the van were startled and on edge, muttering nervously to themselves. They couldn’t see Eight Feet Tall and they couldn’t hear her voice, but they could hear her tapping on the windows. K-san started praying louder and louder until she was almost shouting. The tension inside the van was unbearable. After a while, the tapping stopped and the voice disappeared, fading gradually.
K-san looked back at us and said, “I think we’re safe now.” All of the men around me breathed a sigh of relief. The van pulled over to the side of the road and the men got out. They transferred me into my dad’s car. My mother held me close and tears were running down her cheeks.
Grandpa and my father bowed to the men and they went on their way. K-san came to the window and asked me to show her the piece of parchment she had given me. When I opened my hand, I saw that it had gone completely black. “I think you will be OK now,” she said. “But just to be sure, hold onto this for a while.” She handed me a new piece of parchment.
After that, we drove straight to the airport and Grandpa saw us safely on the plane. When we took off, my parents breathed a sigh of relief. My father told me he had heard about “Eight Feet Tall” before. Years ago, his friend had been liked by her. The boy disappeared and was never seen again.
My father said there were other people who had been liked by her and lived to tell about it. They all had to leave Japan and settle down in foreign countries. They were never able to go back to their homeland. She always chooses children as her victims. They say it’s because children are dependant on their parents and family members. This makes them easier to deceive when she poses as their relatives.
He said the men in the van were all blood relatives of mine, and that’s why they had been sitting all around me and why my father and Grandpa had been driving in front and in back. It was all done to try and confuse Hachishakusama. It took a while to contact everyone and get them all together, so that was why I had to be confined in the room all night.
He further told me that one of the little “Jizo” statues–the ones that were meant to keep her trapped–had been broken and that was how she escaped. It gave me the chills. I was glad when we finally got back home. All of this happened more than 10 years ago. I haven’t seen my grandparents since then. I haven’t been able to so much as set foot in the country.
Afterwards, I would call them every few weeks and talk to them on the phone. Over the years, I tried to convince myself that it was just an urban legend, that everything that happened was just some elaborate prank. But sometimes, I’m not so sure. My grandfather died two years ago. When he was sick, he wouldn’t allow me to visit him and he left strict instructions in his will that I wasn’t to attend his funeral. It was all very sad.
My grandmother called a few days ago. She said that she had been diagnosed with cancer. She missed me terribly and wanted to see me one last time before she died. “Are you sure, Grandma?” I asked. “Is it safe?” “It’s been 10 years,” she said. “All that happened a long time ago. It’s all forgotten. You’re all grown up now. I’m sure there won’t be a problem.” “But… but… what about Hachishakusama?” I said. For a moment, there was silence on the other end of the phone. Then, I heard a deep masculine voice saying: “Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…”
The story of “Hachishakusama” or “Eight Feet Tall” spread quite well in Japan after it’s initial appearance, being re-posted on many different websites. The above story was first published on the website ScaryForKids, which is devoted to stories and games of a spooky nature. This version is slightly different from the original one, where the storyteller was described as a resident, rather than as a person with relatives in Japan. Obviously, these changes were made to fit the new English-speaking non-resident audience. However, at the end of both of the stories, the storyteller actually leaves Japan forever, with the implication that Eight Feet Tall could find him and take his life as long as he was anywhere within the country.
Hachishakusama – The Urban Legend
Though the legend of “Hachishakusama” is a pretty long story, it has gained enough infamy through a short urban legend version that says:
“Hachishakusama” or “Eight Feet Tall” is a Japanese urban legend about a dangerous thing which lures children to their death. It looks like an 8ft tall woman wearing a lengthy, white dress and creating a strange sound like “Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po… Po…” in a deep male voice. Its appearance seems imperceptibly different depending on who witnesses it. Some say it looks like a haggard old woman in kimono, and others say it looks like a girl in a white funeral dress. The things that never change are its tall height and its creepy laughter “Po… Po… Po…” It is said that whomever “Eight Feet Tall” sees and likes will die within a few days. It haunts them! Then, they just vanish to never return again. To escape from Eight Feet Tall, one must have to flee away from its territory or even the country it belongs to. But it will try the best to stop its prey, disguising itself as a person the victim knows very well! If you have been liked by Hachishakusama, here is what you need to do: Cover your bedroom windows with newspapers. Then place small bowls of salt in all 4 corners of the room, and place a Buddha figure in the centre of the room. Also a bucket just in case you need to go to the bathroom. When the sun is setting, you must take a piece of crumpled parchment and hold onto it. You must also stay in your room until 7 o’clock in the morning. Do not leave the room for any reason at all. If anything happens, pray to Buddha.
Is The Story Of Hachishakusama Real?
Though the story conveys the real experience of someone who first posted it online, there’s no such reported village or territory in Japan where Hachishakusama hunts children. If this were indeed the case, it must have been documented in an official record and spread through the news media. But we didn’t find any conclusive news or such records about Hachishakusama (八尺様) or Eight Feet Tall. Therefore, it’s a perfect example of the modern yet classic scary urban legend.