The Kuchisake-onna legend began in the Heian period, with the woman initially covering her face with her kimono. According to Heian mythology, a beautiful woman who was either the wife or concubine of a samurai was unfaithful to him. When he discovered her infidelity, he slit her mouth from ear to ear with a sword, a katana and asked "who will think you are beautiful now?"
Children walking alone at night may encounter a woman wearing a surgical mask, this is not an unusual sight in Japan as people wear them to protect others from their colds or sickness. The woman will stop the child and ask, 'Am I beautiful?' If the child answers no, they are killed with a pair of scissors which the woman carries. If they answer yes, the woman pulls away the mask, revealing that her mouth is slit from ear to ear and asks 'Am I beautiful now?'. If the child answers no, he/she will be cut in half. If he/she answers yes, then she will slit his/her mouth like hers. It is impossible to run away from her, as she will simply reappear in front of the victim.
When the legend reappeared in the 1970s rumors of ways to escape also emerged. When she asks you, you must say that she is pretty two times in a row, so that she will become confused and her victim can escape while she is lost in thought. Some sources say she can also be confused by answering her question with, rather than yes or no, "You are average." Unsure of what to do, she will give you enough time to escape. Another escape route is to tell her you have a previous engagement; she will pardon her manners and excuse herself from your presence. In some variations of the tale, she can be distracted by throwing fruit or sweets at her which she will pick up, thus giving the victim a chance to run. One other way is to ask her if you are pretty; she will get confused and leave.