Yesterday's Myths & Mysteries

Do Not Watch: The Curse of the Creepy Japanese Kleenex Commercial

It’s going to be a fine day. We will have salad.

Unless you watch this video, of course. Then, who knows what might happen?

The legend of the cursed Japanese Kleenex commercial dates back to 1986, when an unusual but rather innocuous ad for Kleenex tissues appeared on Japanese television.

There’s something indeed unsettling about it — a woman sits on a pile of straw next to a child, who’s made up to look like some kind of orge or demon. She grabs a single tissue out of a Kleenex box, and releases it like a dove into the air, watching it fly away. All the while, another woman’s voice sings a strange song.

What’s it all about?

Image: YouTube

Legend has it this commercial, known as “Red Demon,” is connected to a number of unexplained deaths and accidents. It was pulled from TV, or so they say, not long after it premiered due to complaints from disturbed viewers.

Rumors spread in Japan that the song featured in the commercial was actually a German curse (despite being in English), which they claimed translated to “Die, die, everyone is cursed and will be killed.”

According to legend, the ad’s cameraman later died in a freak fire incident at a sauna. The child suffered organ failure. The actress went on to give birth to a demon baby, then passed shortly after (or was perhaps institutionalized).

Removed from the air and quickly hidden away, the haunted commercial then vanished from sight and mind for decades.

Until 2006. Like so many other things, the commercial found its way onto YouTube, where its unsettling imagery continues to propagate to this day. Those who watch it are said to be cursed or, as with the Hungarian song Gloomy Sunday, driven mad.

Some claim that if you view the ad at Midnight, unusual things happen — the video becomes distorted, and the commercial’s true nature reveals itself.

Of course, none of these rumors are verified. It’s all just an urban legend.

One is easily debunked — the actress in the commercial, Keiko Matsuzaka, is very much still alive. The song, too, is not a German curse, as far as I can tell.

It’s actually It’s A Fine Day by Jane & Barton. That is, admittedly, a creepy song in and of itself. The rendition in the Japanese Kleenex commercial is slightly different, as well, a bit more unnerving and monotonous.

Apparently, after the ad was pulled, Kleenex replaced it with an angelic version, featuring a girl dressed as an angel pulling Kleenex tissues out of a box and throwing them into the air. Some would say it’s even creepier.

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Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. For nearly 10 years, he's managed Stranger Dimensions, providing a unique perspective on all matters involving time travel, parallel universes, and whether or not robots might one day take over the world.

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One Comment

  1. I never thought this was much of a supernatural thing – just creepy. I think it is the song which in itself is quite creepy if you watch the music video. Why would anyone think this is suitable for a tissue add is beyond me, though.

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