Tuesday, October 30

Rika-chan (リカシャン): A Ghost Story from Japan


For our Halloween special, I have one scary story from my Japanese student…

Our story is about Yuki, a playful and impulsive little girl.

Yuki’s family has just moved to a quiet town near the sea, and into a small apartment in a high-rise building.

During weekdays, Yuki spends most of her time alone in the apartment because both her parents have to go to work. Yuki doesn’t mind being alone as long as her mom sets aside lunch for her. In fact, she enjoys it because she can watch all her favorite TV programs, play computer games as long as she wants, and go outside to the apartment playground anytime.

One day, while Yuki was playing on the emergency stairs by their apartment, she saw an old, heavy metal box. When she opened it, what she saw surprised her.

Inside was a very pretty doll.  

All at once, Yuki decided to take and keep the doll. She even named her “Rika-chan.”

Yuki and Rika-chan played a lot together. All day every day. They played a lot of games and made up all sorts of situations. Over and over, Yuki called Rika-chanMy Bestfriend.” Yuki always imagined that Rika-chan could talk. They sometimes pretended to use Yuki’s cellphone, which was given to her by her mom for emergency calls.

When it was time to go to sleep, of course they slept beside each other in Yuki’s bed. They were both very, very happy.

But one day, Yuki’s mother brought a new doll for Yuki's birthday, which was more beautiful than Rika-chan. All of a sudden, Yuki’s feelings changed and she adored the new doll. She completely forgot about Rika-chan.

Then, Yuki decided to put Rika-chan back on the emergency stairs where she had found her.

The next morning, when she woke up, to her great surprise, she found Rika-chan on her bed.

Yuki put Rika-chan aside in a corner and played with her new doll. But all the while she felt as though Rika-chan was watching her. So, in the afternoon, she decided to show Rika-chan to one of her playground friends, another young girl who lived in the next apartment building. Yuki gave Rika-chan away. And her friend was very happy to receive the doll, without knowing the real reason Yuki wanted to give it to her.

But the next morning, Yuki woke again with a frightened gasp. Rika-chan was sitting against the headboard. As if she had been watching her while she slept.

So, on that day, Yuki decided to take a short trip to the beach. She took Rika-chan with her and lots of small stones inside her bag.

Because it was almost winter, there was nobody on the beach except Yuki. She put lots of stones inside Rika-chan’s dress, then she dropped the doll off the dock. Rika-chan splashed into the water and sank because of the heavy stones.

Yuki watched Rika-chan as she went down deeper and deeper. It seemed as though Rika-chan was watching her as well. And then the doll was gone. 

Finally, Yuki felt relieved that she had gotten rid of the doll for good.

A few days later, Yuki received a call on her cellphone. She picked up the phone and placed it on her ear.

<Hi, this is Rika-chan. I’m in your town. I’ll visit you soon.>

Yuki quickly hung up and threw her cellphone onto her bed as if it had burned her.

She stood in front of the bed not knowing what to do.

Soon her phone rang again. Yuki jumped in fear. The voice on the other end said:

<Hi, this is Rika-chan. I’m in front of your apartment building.>

After a few minutes, it rang again. Then, this voice:

<Hi, this is Rika-chan. I’m in the elevator.>

Then again:

<Hi, this is Rika-chan. I’m outside your door.>

Finally, the phone rang one last time and the voice said:

<I’m right behind you.>


*All images courtesy of stock.xchng 


  1. You really scare the shit out of me! And I didn't know this story even though I'm Japanese. However, I think It's not called りか「し」ゃん but りか「ち」ゃん.

  2. Hi Tetsuhiro!

    Sorry if I gave you a fright. Hope you forgive me in the spirit of Halloween.


    And thanks for teaching me the right Japanese expression. Later today I'll be back to posting about English grammar. I'm going to teach how to use "afraid of" vs. "afraid to" -- which is still a bit connected to Halloween.


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