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Kotoribako-Part 1

The legendary internet horror story

Feature Image by The Haunted Bar

Welcome to the Dark Stories Encyclopedia of Japan

Background of the Kotoribako ( one of the famous dark stories from Japan )

This is one of the most famous urban legends of all time in Japan. The story was originally posted in the mid-2000s in a popular webboard called 2channel (In Japanese: 2ちゃんねる)  as a real-life experience by an anonymous person. (He calls himself “A” in his story). The story quickly gained a large attention from the public and the word Kotoribako became the “The most dangerous word to search on the internet.” Many people are said to have fallen ill from reading this story not only by the highly disturbing and gruesome contents in itself, but also from the rumor that the story itself contains some kind of curse power that affects the readers. Reader’s discretion is advised. 

As the story progresses, the key points revolves around some social/political contexts in Japanese history that our foreign readers may not be familiar with. We added some additional explanation to the original translation./em>

912 小箱 1 2005/06/06(月) 12:57:48 ID:lJdBivui0

I often enjoy browsing occult blogs and read those crazy real-life stories that people share, but I never thought I’d have a story of my own..I don’t have a sixth sense or anything at all, but I experienced something really strange last month.

I can’t tell if this is, by any chance, related to ghosts or not.My friends and I thought that maybe by sharing the story here(2Channel occult thread), you guys can be a better judge than us, and hopefully give us some insights on what happened that day since all of us are still very confused  and have no clue about what happened. And I hope you guys don’t think this is some kind of a joke. What I’m about to share sounds unreal, but it really did happen.

It’s a long story and I’m not much of a good writer. So please bare with me if my writing gets messy. OK here is my story.

It happened when I was hanging out with my old friend “M” in my house. (I will call myself “A”)

M is an old friend of mine who I met in junior high. Now we are both approaching 30, but we still keep a close friendship. We often hang out and grab drinks.

M’s family runs a large shrine in my town. The men in his family are a long line of Shinto priests and M is no exception. Though M does have a regular job on the side to make ends meet, he would serve as a priest in the Shinto events and rituals that take place in his shrine, such as New years prayer, God-related ceremonies, weddings  and so on. He lives with his family near the Shrine. Due to his family’s expertise, M has a strong sense to supernatural stuff.

That day, M and I had a plan to go out for drinks with two other friends including M’s girlfriend (Let’s call her “K”). We were going to meet up in my house first. M and K had arrived already, and we were just killing time to wait on another female friend “S” who was running late.


13 小箱 2 2005/06/06(月) 12:58:15 ID:lJdBivui0

We were playing video games when S called.

(S) “ Sorry. I’m going to be a bit late. My family found something really interesting in the shed. We kinda lost track of time.”

“A, you are good at puzzles and stuff, right? I’m going to let you solve this one. I’m bringing it with me”

“I will be there soon”


Around 40 minutes later, we heard S’s car pulling into the front yard of my house. That’s when M started to freak out out of nowhere.


(M)  “Holy. Shit.”

“Holy shit. This is not good… “

”I can’t handle this on my own”

“My dad’s away today…..”


M, with his strong sense and being a priest and all, sees “things” all the time. Though he doesn’t like to talk about it, we were used to seeing him getting a little scared of the “things” we couldn’t see from time to time. It had never been serious. So we thought this is just another one of those episodes.

(A) “What’s wrong, M? Another ghost?”

(K) “You OK? Are you seeing something again?”

As we spoke, we were hearing S’s footsteps entering the house and walking up the stairs to the second floor where we stayed.


(M, in breathy voice) “This is…not even close to any other ones I’ve seen. This is beyond…”

“What the hell, S? What the hell did she bring?!?”

As S’s footsteps approached our room, M’s face started to turn paler and paler.

S opened the door.

(M: Tense voice) “ ……S-chan, What’s in your hand? Show me”

(S:  Nervously) “What? What??  What did I do?”

“..Don’t tell me. Is this something bad?”

(M) “ Yeah.. it is”

(S) “ This thing came out while we were cleaning out our shed today. We are getting our shed demolished next week”


S took out a small wooden cube that’s about 5cm each side. I figured this was what she mentioned as “a puzzle” on the phone earlier. It was made up of small wooden blocks into a complicated design, like Tetris pieces.


914 小箱 3 2005/06/06(月) 12:59:09 ID:lJdBivui0

As soon as seeing the box, M lost his cool.

(M: yelling) “Don’t touch the box!!!STOP TOUCHING IT!! RIGHT NOW!!”

M then suddenly rushed to the toilet and started vomiting. K followed in to see if he’s OK.  M’s loud retching noise continued for a while. He was throwing up for a really long time. When he came back to the room, he started calling his father.

(M: In shaking voice) “Dad… it’s a Kotoribako….My friend brought a Kotoribako”

“I’m so scared. I don’t think I can pull it off like pops”

To my surprise, M started crying. M is not a wimpy guy that cries easily. I’ve never seen him cry before. What is it about this box, that’s causing a grown-up man to cry like this to his father? It was starting to scare me too.

M’s conversation with his father continued but I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. It went like this;

(M) “No, it’s not attached, I just see the box”

“There are traces. But I’m not sure how much remains is there”

“Yeah, my friend got a little bit on her stomach”

“ The shape looks like Shippou… the triangle shape. It’s Shippou, right?”

“OK. I will do it. Promise me to save my ass if I screw this up. I count on you”

M hung up the phone. For the next few minutes, he bawled his eyes out. He looked like he was struggling to gather up enough strength and courage to make up his mind about something. Eventually M got himself together, sat on his lap with his back straight, slapped his thigh and said:

(M) “Let’s do this”

916 小箱 4 2005/06/06(月) 13:04:52 ID:lJdBivui0

(M) “ A, give me a utility knife or kitchen knife”

(A ) “ What for?????”

(M) “I’m not going to use it to hurt anyone. I must purify S-chan”

(M) “S-chan, I know this is a hard request but from now, I need you to not be scared.”

“K and A, you guys too. Understand? Do NOT be scared! No fear! We are NOT losing!”

“I got your backs! We are not scared!”

“ I got this! Don’t underestimate me… I can do this too! Watch me, pops!

“I GOT THIS!!!!!!”

M shouted his words as if he was trying to push through his own fear. S was, understandably, scared to tears. But in a trembling voice she said “ I understood. I’m going to try”

K and I were also frightened and confused on what’s happening. In that moment it seemed like the best we could do was to just go along with whatever M says. I think I almost peed my pants.

(M) “A!! I need a knife!!!”

I handed him a kitchen knife.

(M) “A!! Pinch my inner thigh hard!! Use all your strength!!”

I thought, what the hell…? But OK, whatever he says. I did it. M’s painful scream filled the room.


As I pinched his inner thigh, M slashed his fingertips and palm with the knife. That’s when I understood M had asked me to pinch him to distract himself from the cutting pain.

(M:  shouting) “S- chan!! Open your mouth!!!”

Next moment, M’s blood-dripping fingers were shoved in S’s mouth.

(M continues to shout)  “S-chan!! Swallow my blood!!!

I know it’s disgusting!! But swallow it!!!”

S was gagging. Her tears falling all over her cheeks. M started reciting some kind of prayer or incantation over and over

(M) “… notenjou, norio, shinmeiiwato akemashita, kashikomikanshikomimomamousu…

917 小箱 5 2005/06/06(月) 13:05:27 ID:lJdBivui0

M finally took his fingers out of her mouth.

S started vomiting hard.

I saw a chunk of something covered in blood coming out of her mouth.

Then M exclaimed excitedly

(M) “ YESSSS! It’s out! It’s out! You’re gonna be okay! S-chan! Thank god! ”

“ Next…!”

“ Pops…have my back!!

M placed his blood-covered hand on top of the wooden box, and started reciting,

(M)” Kotoribako, Kotoribako, $%&’&&(inapprehensible)____”

Suddenly, M’s face turned like he was about to cry.

(M) “Oh my god! I can’t remember the spell!”

…..”A!! Call my father!!”

I used his phone to call his father. I held the phone next to his ear.

(M)  “Dad, I can’t recite the words by heart. I didn’t memorize it I’m sorry.

Can you recite with me over the phone?”

M kept his hand on the box. He started reciting the words again with his father on the phone. This time it sounded like he was singing.

Finally, M said;  “It’s over …. I did it….I #$%&%!!!!!!” Before he finished his sentence, he collapsed to the ground in tears.  He started crying out loud like a kid. Let me remind you in case you forgot, M right here is a full-grown man. With K on his side, M cried for a good 20 minutes.

Then all 4 of us started crying. As lost as I was about what was happening, it was quite a frightening experience.

Despite the somewhat lifted atmosphere after the success of this strange ritual, M never took his hand off the box. Even while he was bawling his eyes out, his right hand was firmly attached to the box. When everyone got calm, M asked for a towel to bind his hand with the box. I gave him a thin bath towel, and he wrapped it around his hand and the box.

(M) “Now…. wanna grab some drinks?”

(All) “  …. !? “

(M) “Kidding, guys! I’m calling it a night. I ‘m exhausted.  Can you send me home, A?”

M was back to being a tough guy.


(Continue to Part 2)

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    Kotoribako-Part 2