If you meet a 10-foot-tall woman in a snow storm, run
December 31, 2008 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Have you met the Yuki-onna? You might meet her in a snow storm, and recognize her by her pure white robe marked only with a splattering of blood and her lack of feet. She might kill you with icy breath, or lead you into the storm to die of exposure, or seduce you, only to steal your soul. She's the subject of one of Japan's better known ghost stories (the climax of which was depicted in Tanaka Tokuzo's 1968 film Kaidan Yuki Onna) and has also made an appearance in Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (2:50).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (21 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You might also confront her in a role-playing game.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:17 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

I never go outside when it snows for fear of the snow monsters.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:21 AM on December 31, 2008

Yes, I've met the Yuki-onna. I met her at Benihana and we smoked marijuana while listening to Yoko Ono.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:23 AM on December 31, 2008


I keed, I keed.
posted by eriko at 9:31 AM on December 31, 2008

Wendigo. Yuki-onna. Fight!
posted by steef at 9:49 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Swapping a ghost story here... (100% true)

Earlier this year (2008) I was dropping off my uncle around 3 Am. We went and played poker. It was very cold, like -5 wind chill cold. As I was driving down my uncle's street (not the best of neighborhoods) I saw a girl dressed in all white. She was very thin and seemed to be floating (there was about 6 inches of snow). She had a pale face and shoulder length black hair. She stood in the middle of the road and didn't move when I drove past her. Looking directly at me the whole time. When I looked in the rear view mirror......


Kidding. She just continued walking down the road. I thought to myself who the hell was that and why the hell would someone be standing in the middle of the road on such a cold night. Sort of creeped me out Given the neighborhood, the time, the weather, and the fact that I didn't feel like being stabbed, I just kept on driving. She was more likely a drugged out prostitute (explains the blank face and the ability to stand out in the cold) instead of a ghost but it's fun to pretend she was a snow ghost. This post and the pictures from the links seriously do remind me of how she looked. Good thing this kinda stuff only happens in Japan.... amirite??!?!?? :>0
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:50 AM on December 31, 2008

posted by netbros at 10:07 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

One morning in may, I spied this young lady. All clad in white linen. All clad in white linen. Cold as the clay.
posted by cashman at 10:24 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Neat post. And I must say that Kwaidan, linked to in the FPP, is just an awesome movie. ALthough it's a Japanese movie, it's really interesting that Kwaidan is based on stories and legends collected and published by a non-Japanese, Lafcadio Hearn (Hearn went on to assume Japanese citizenship).
posted by KokuRyu at 10:26 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

That said, note that not all 10ft tall snow creatures are evil. In the event that you are unable to ascertain the creature's gender or species, I say you should do your best to trek with it.
posted by MrZaius at 10:48 AM on December 31, 2008

note that not all 10ft tall snow creatures are evil.

On the other hand, some of them actually are.

posted by quin at 11:54 AM on December 31, 2008

Trinidadian folklore, rich in supernatural characters, includes La Diablesse, a woman who appears in a long white dress, her face hidden under a big hat. She has one human foot and one cloven cow foot and she leads men astray. Coincidence?
posted by Jode at 12:24 PM on December 31, 2008

I was in an antique store once, mindlessly wandering around, when amongst all of the brown-ness of old boxes and tools, I saw a snow white creature, poised gracefully upon a shelf. It was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen - a Japanese woman clad in a snow-white kimono with exquisite white skin to match. Bits of silver were interwoven throughout her kimono. I was enchanted and bought it. When I brought it home, I noticed that there was a little label on the base that said "Snow Queen" and did some research where I discovered that she represents the Yuki-onna. These stories make her feel even more alive and haunting than she already does! Thanks for the post!
posted by bristolcat at 12:27 PM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Swapping a ghost story here... (100% true)

Since you brought it up, I'll share a ghost story of my own; one I've never actually written down and have only told a few people.

I was on vacation in the north of Iceland one summer, hitch-hiking from Akureyri (the "capital of the north") back to Reykjavík in the southwest. This journey, by car, takes about five hours, and I was hoofing it. I headed west on the main highway, putting one foot in front of the other, as the road meadered through a narrow pass in the mountains. It was a really pretty day - a few fluffy white clouds in the sky, the wind gentle, and it was quite warm.

Due to the warmth, the snows on top of the mountains had been melting fast, swelling the river that also ran through the pass with muddy water. It was a really beautiful sight to behold: snow-capped mountains, green valley floor, a couple of farm houses, the winding river ... and a woman in a red dress, standing on the banks of the river, facing the wind.

She was too far away for me to be able to make out any facial features, but she could not have been more than 50 meters away. Her hair was long and dark, and the dress covered her completely apart from her head. I stood watching her in the middle of this scene, fascinated. It seemed like a perfect photo opportunity, so I raised my camera, put her in the middle of the window, and snapped a pic. A few minutes later I was picked up by a family in a minivan, who took me the rest of the way to the capital.

Once I got home, I took the film to the photolab of a local supermarket for development. A week later, my photos were done. I went with a friend of mine to pick them up. As we were walking to my place, I flipped through the photos, and was really looking forward to showing him the one I took of the woman in the red dress. I got to that photo and saw the blue, cloud-smattered sky, the mountains, the green valley, the muddy river, the few little farm houses, but no woman. She was simply not there. I flipped through the photos a few times, checking for any similar ones, but no. The negatives matched each print, and this was the photo I took, but the woman I photographed just didn't appear.

Like I said, I've only told this story to a couple of people. I can attest that I was sober and well-rested. I don't know what explanation I would provide beyond a temporary visual hallucination, although I should note that a friend of mine from the north later told me that I wasn't the first person to see this woman. She's allegedly the ghost of a woman who was drowned in that river for adultery in the 17th century. Although she's normally seen standing by the side of the road, and not near the river.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:27 PM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

Snegurochka is the snow maiden - Señora Yuki-onna es realmente La llorona!
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:55 PM on December 31, 2008

The all-female mangaka collective Clamp also based Shirahime-Syo: Snow Goddess Tales on Yuki-Onna. I feel like maybe I've read it, but maybe not (I don't own a copy but I've flipped through it in the bookstore before).
posted by darksong at 3:36 PM on December 31, 2008

Have you met the Yuki-onna?

Am I too late to turn this into a mother-in-law joke?

I thought so. Anyway, MStPT, nice post! Happy to discover the Obakemono Project site, that's a good 'un.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:27 PM on December 31, 2008

The only thing that I can say for certain is that at some point, Sam and Dean Winchester are going to kill her.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:42 PM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

all white? no feet? spattered with blood?
is it a tampon?
posted by sexyrobot at 6:56 PM on December 31, 2008

(Breathing a sigh of relief?)

Thought it said Yoko Ono ...
posted by aldus_manutius at 7:39 AM on January 1, 2009

You might also confront her in a role-playing game.

Never heard of that one, but anything that gets pitched as "Seven Samurai meets Resevoir Dogs" is awright in my book.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:17 PM on January 1, 2009

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