Top 5 Scariest Asian Myths and Monsters

Halloween: a time of celebration in remembrance of the dead, saints, and much more. From trick or treating to carving jack-o-lanterns and dressing up in your favorite costume, it is a day many people take part in. One particular aspect of Halloween that people tend to celebrate is fear and all things scary.

When it comes to tales of ghosts, ghouls, and everything regarding your deepest darkest fears, the Asian culture definitely surpasses the stories you hear from other cultures and we’re here to share some!

Here are the top 5 scariest Asian Myths and Monsters you never want to encounter during your life.

TEKE-TEKE (Japan)

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Legend has it that one day in Japan, a young girl fell onto a rail way line and was cut in half by an oncoming train. Due to her unpredicted fate, her spirit now roams around seeking revenge. She carries a scythe or a saw while traveling on her elbows or hands and if anyone meets her path, she will cut them in half. As she travels, the dragging of her upper torso scratches on the floor making a take teke sound.

SLIT-MOUTHED WOMAN: KUCHISAKE ONNA (Japan)

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Long ago, there was a wife of a samurai who was so incredibly beautiful. As years went by, she became extremely self absorbed and quite vain. The samurai suspected her of cheating one day and in response, he attacked her by cutting her mouth from ear to ear. The woman passed away and came back as an angry spirit known as Kuchisake Onna. She wears a brown trench coat with a surgeon’s mask to cover her mouth and as children are walking home from school, she will approach them with her mask and ask “Do you think I’m beautiful?” If the response was “No” she will take out a knife and kill you. If the response was “Yes,” then she will then take off her mask and ask you “How about now?” If the next response is a “No” you will get cut in half, and if it is a “Yes” then she will cut your mouth from ear to ear to make it look like hers.

WHITE LADY (Philippines)

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In the rural areas of the Philippines, there have been many stories of the White Lady. The White Lady has been said to appear in other places such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, and Norway. Although there are several renditions of this legend, she is usually associated with tragedy. She will appear and not do very much, but any sight of her is surely not a good one. She is most commonly reported seen along Balete Drive in Quezon City. She was a young lady who was raped and killed by two Japanese soldiers during WWII. While there haven’t been stories of the White Lady being a purposefully malicious being, she has been the reported as the cause of more than a few car accidents by drivers who look in their rearview mirror and see a young lady in the backseat wearing a white dress. Sure, some strange, unknown lady sitting in your backseat is bad enough but the White Lady is also said to have no face or a face covered in blood.

 

JAYURO GWISHIN (Korea

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Jayuro is a strip of highway just north of Seoul, Korea. Because the highway is often covered in fog, it is known for being prone to car accidents. However, many residents have a different explanation for it. Many people claim they see a distressed girl on the side of the road wearing sunglasses. As they got closer to the girl, to their horror, they realized that she wasn’t wearing sunglasses after all. The dark circles were there because her eyes were visibly gouged out and hollow.

AP/KRASUE (Cambodia/Thailand)

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The Ap/Krasue is described as a floating female head with its entrails, spine and various bloody organs hanging from its neck. The myth behind this creature says that women who abuse black magic may be forced to turn into this creature as a punishment. The witch feeds on blood, feces, fetuses, and pregnant women. Apparently one way to stop the creature from entering your house is by surrounding it with thorny vines so that the creatures entrails will get stuck on them. This is important since an Ap/Krasue can turn you into the same creature if she gets to you consume her saliva.

 

 Have more scary Asian monsters in mind? Tell us your list!

 

 

(Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Throwback Thursday: Miyazaki-Inspired Halloween Costumes

Story by Katherine Chou.

 

 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki OutfitKiki is a thirteen-year-old witch leaving home for the first time to seek her fortune in the port city of Koriko. Her signature black dress rivals Holly Golightly’s, though Kiki’s is far from little. Sporting long sleeves and a generous cut, it billows behind her in the air. Add a belt for a figure-hugging silhouette.

The outfit makes good use of red accents that pop against the black backdrop of the dress. With the help of a floppy red bow and dainty ballet flats, standard bag lady uniform is transformed into the look of an ambitious and independent young witch.

As us ordinary folk can’t exactly walk around followed constantly by a cat (though there are those lucky few), hint at Jiji, Kiki’s black cat and best friend, with a cat-shaped ring. Throw some nautical earrings into the mix as a nod to Kiki’s fondness for Koriko.

As for the broom, well that’s up to you. I hear the Firebolt is quite good.

 

Howl’s Moving Castle

Sophie OutfitSophie is a quiet and unassuming hatter. When she is turned into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste, she stows away aboard the moving castle of the enigmatic wizard, Howl, in order to remove her curse.

While Sophie may not be the most stylish among the heroines here, it is her cleverness and strength that saves Howl from his fate, bringing peace to their land and restoring her youth. Furthermore, she’s done what eludes most women, rocking the same outfit in both her youth and old age.

Start with a cornflower blue dress detailed with ruffles or neatly-lined buttons. A relaxed denim dress also does the trick. A pair of solid brown boots anchors the outfit, saying to the world, “My dress might border on frumpy, but I can still kick ass.” Which, now that I think of it, is essentially a theme of the film.

An orange gemstone is reminiscent of Calcifer, the flame that powers the castle and that only Sophie can tame. Bird silhouette earrings evoke the dark secret at the heart of Sophie’s story.

In the movie, Sophie wears both a red hair bow and a straw hat. If you find the combination a bit overwhelming in real life, you can tie a braid together with a red bow or top it all off with a straw hat in the style of your choice. A boater sets you apart from the fedora-loving masses. Okay, any hat stands out these days, even if it was mass-produced in a factory and not by Sophie’s loving hand.

This is America – even a hat of humblest beginnings can come to be part of an extraordinary outfit. Dream big, guys.

 

Howl OutfitMetrosexual is a good adjective for Howl, a wizard caught in the midst of an epic war, but his life does depend on keeping up appearances as he evades the draft with the help of his moving castle and a series of false identities.

Howl’s wardrobe staples are slim black pants and a relaxed white blouse, upon which he vainly piles layers of jewelry. Evidently he has never taken Coco Chanel’s advice. His jewelry is an eclectic mix of pretty trinkets and meaningful pieces like the ruby ring connecting him to Calcifer. Purists can find jewelry that match his piece for piece. You can also put together a unique collection of personal pieces and those that just bring out your inner magpie.

This is a perfect transitional look for fall. Howl’s patchwork pink and blue jacket is difficult to find in the wild, so substitute with a peacoat in similar shades. As the days get chillier, a frayed black scarf adds another layer of warmth while referencing Howl’s fowl alter ego. In warmer weather, a feathered hairpiece does the same trick. Keep shoes simple with black ankle boots.

This outfit also works for Halloween, if you’re eyeing trick-or-treating as a kaleidoscope.

 

Spirited Away

Chihiro OutfitChihiro is a ten-year-old girl who moves into a new neighborhood and finds herself in a surreal world of spirits and monsters, including the witch, Yubaba, who turns her parents into pigs. Although all the neon in her look may be daunting, consider it an upgrade from your outfits when you were ten.

A relaxed ombre lime top gives a nod to the ombre trend and Chihiro’s colorblock green t-shirt. Fight the heat with some heat of your own in the form of hot pink shorts. Tie your hair into a high ponytail and wind a dragon bracelet around your wrist in honor of Haku, the river spirit that befriends Chihiro.

Finally, slip on a pair of yellow sneakers so you’re prepared in case you need to race against time to save your parents from being pigs. For some especially angry thirteen-year-olds, that’s every day.

 

Princess Mononoke

San OutfitMononoke being a Japanese term for a spirit or monster, the heroine of this film is actually a girl named San who fights on the side of the forest and its supernatural guardians against rampant resource consumption by humans in the Iron Town.

In the sweltering summer heat, ditch the fur cape and hat for a cool, streamlined look. San layers a white tank over a black slip dress. You can do the same, or find a colorblock black and white top to pair with a black skater skirt.

To evoke the necklace of teeth that keeps San’s cape around her shoulders, add a shark tooth necklace. Grab one of the beachy hemp ones you inevitably collected in middle school or go classy with gold. Any necklace with a triangular pendant will do, really.

A pair of white pendant earrings brings attention to your face. The gold trim on this pair works with the gold of the necklace to pull the outfit together. Add a smear of lipstick as red as San’s face paint as the finishing touch.

It’s a minimalistic approach to Princess Mononoke, with the elements of her look pared down to the very basics, but her fierce strength still shines through. And whether you spend your days in a tree to prevent it from being chopped down or just own a recycling bin, I’m sure you’ll agree that minimalism keeps resource consumption low, which is totally in line with San’s passion for the forest.

Although if you’re currently residing in a tree, this might not be the most practical thing to wear.

 

My Neighbor Totoro

Mei OutfitSatsuki and Mei are sisters who move into an old house with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. While Satsuki attends school, Mei’s curiosity leads to the discovery of Totoro, a big friendly creature living in the giant tree just behind their new home.

Mei does all her adventuring in a casual pink sleeveless dress, which she layers with a white blouse. For an updated look, replace the puff sleeves with long ones. Mei is a girl who ascribes to function before form, and she’s all set with bright yellow accents that contrast with the pink and white of her ensemble. While traipsing around the village on Totoro-related missions, Mei keeps her feet comfortable in yellow mary janes. Her yellow satchel frees up her arms pick up the mysterious acorns she finds and holds them for safekeeping.

A few pieces of jewelry reference Mei’s first meeting with Totoro: acorn earrings like the ones she finds in a trail leading to Totoro’s hiding place, and a leaf-shaped necklace that could have been plucked off Totoro’s massive tree itself. Finally, sweep black nail polish onto your fingertips and see if you can convince anyone that you were catching soot spirits like the ones running rampant in Satsuki and Mei’s new house.

 

Of course, these are only a selection of Ghibli characters (or anime characters, for that matter). So tell us, what are some of your two-dimensional style icons?

 

This story was originally published in July. It has been republished in honor of Halloween.

Pottery Barn Pulls Offensive Costumes, Issues Apology

Story by Steve Han. 

Upscale home furnishing and fashion retailer Pottery Barn took its Halloween costumes of a sushi chef and a kimono off their shelves following complaints from an Asian American civil rights group.

Pottery Barn issued a formal apology late Monday and confirmed that the items were removed from its Pottery Barn Kids website.

“We did not intend to offend anyone with our Halloween costumes and we apologize,” said Leigh Oshirak, vice president of public relations and marketing for Williams-Sonoma, parent company of Pottery Barn.

A group of Asian American civil rights activists demanded “immediate removal” of the clothing and request an apology from Pottery Barn as the retailer began selling Japanese traditional clothing, kimono, and a sushi chef outfit that had the Rising Sun flag on it.

“It’s not that ethnic dress is offensive. What we find problematic is packaging this type of dress as a costume,” Ling Woo Liu, director of strategic communications for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, told the Los Angeles Times.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are real people who cannot and should not be commodified as costumes,” Liu added.

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com 

Tiny Korra And Momo: Our Most Favorite Halloween Costumes EVER

In the midst of insensitive, racist Halloween costumes, we shouldn’t forget that good can come out of this holiday too. In fact, today’s Image of The Day is a prime example of that.

We’ve seen our fair share of cute Halloween costumes on children, but we haven’t seen anything as adorably detailed as this. The pair, who happen to be the niece and nephew of Audrey’s Editor-in-chief Anna M. Park, are dressed up as Korra from Avatar: The Legend of Korra and Momo from Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

They have everything down from Korra’s hair to Momo’s adorable expression (we’re not sure if the expression was intentionally there for the costume or not, but it deserves to be pointed out anyway).

I suppose you can expect no less from a parent who is a concept artist. When you create superhero looks for a living, impressive costume ideas and attention to detail are always necessary.

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Just how cute were these costumes? Apparently, it was worthy enough for Bryan Konietzko, co-creator and executive producer of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, to repost on his blog. He writes:

I CAN NOT HANDLE THE CUTE.

NOPE, STILL CAN’T HANDLE IT.

These are the children of a friend of a friend’s friend, an obviously stupendous parent named Ana, who made the Korra costume. I’m not sure where she got the Momo costume, but it is equally and ridiculously fantastic. I love Halloween. Thanks Awesome Family for sharing.

 

 

Racist Halloween Costume Alert: Tragic Flight Crash Turned Into A Joke

Halloween is only a few days away! Of course this means pumpkin-carving, candy overloads, scary movies and, unfortunately, a handful of racist Halloween costumes.

Just the other day, we came across an eyeful of “blackface” when a couple of guys thought dressing up as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman would be a good idea.

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The public exploded with angry comments towards these guys who made light of a very serious issue. Unfortunately, it is clear that there are many more individuals who see no problem with trivializing serious matters.

Our most recent example is this trio:
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Nope, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. These guys actually thought it would be a good idea to dress up as Asiana Airlines flight attendants after crashing the plane.

The costumes reference the crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 at the San Francisco International Airport. The crash killed two people, injured more than 180 others and left several in critical condition.

The crash itself was pulled into racial controversy when KTVU gave inappropriate nicknames to the pilots on Asiana Flight 214.

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Again, the public exploded with angry reactions and yet people do not seem to care. The men with the pilot costumes made sure to include the racist names in their attire.

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How people can make halloween costumes out of a tragedy is beyond me. In case these guys didn’t irritate you  enough, don’t forget to check out Angry Asian Man‘s list of racist costumes.

Adorable Asian Babies (Halloween Costume Edition)

October is in the air. Shops are packed with pumpkin-flavored everything, the cold weather is creeping its way into our nights and stores are stocking up to prepare for the long-awaited holiday. So what does this mean for us? Fun-sized candy bars, fake spiderwebs and (much to our delight) halloween costumes galore.

Back in July, we brought you the Adorable Asian Baby Overload. Now that the season has changed, we found it only appropriate to bring you the Halloween Costume Edition of Adorable Asian Babies. What can possibly be cuter than an adorable Asian baby? Throw a costume on it and you have your answer! Here are some of our favorites.

Feel free to show us any cuties that deserve to be on this list.

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The baby from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

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The happiest baby monkey you’ll ever find.

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The baby who just realized it’s a panda.

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The baby who’s clearly a strong hammer-wielding god.

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The lost baby penguin.

 

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The cutest ewok ever. EVER.

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The baby who can probably beat you up.

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The very-serious-about-his-cosplay Naruto baby.

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The tiny Totoro.

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The GIANT Totoro.

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Baby Kiki and her Delivery Service

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Baby Chun Li..

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..And her twin sister.

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What could be cuter than this little Mario?



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A Mario and Luigi!

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A baby Cheeseburger that doesn’t seem to know what’s going on.

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A baby lobster that knows exactly what’s going on.

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And lots..

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.. of adorable..

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.. BABY SUHSI.

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And last, but certainly not least is the baby who doesn’t care what holiday you think it is.

(Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)