One Man Hide and Seek – Scary Japanese Games

Instructions for how to play a version of hide and seek with with just 1 player first began appearing on Japanese terror bulletin boards throughout the summer of 2007. The trend spread quickly in Japan; the directions have been copied, and pasted, and replicated again on site after site, and YouTubers began uploading videos documenting their experiences playing it. It was not until the autumn of 2008 that instructions for One Man Hide and Seek appeared in an English language website… but perhaps it would have better for everyone if it had not been translated in any way.

One Man Hide and Seek

As always, play at your own risk.


1 principal


– 1 stuffed doll with limbs
– 1 sack of uncooked rice
– 1 pair of nail clippers
– 1 needle
– 1 length of red thread
– 1 sharp edge such as a knife or pair of scissors
– 1 bathroom with bathtub
– 1 cup of salt water
– 1 television
– 1 hiding place
– Incense or ofuda


The Prelude:

– Using your sharp edge, cut open the doll. Remove the stuffing.
– Replace the stuffing with dry, uncooked rice. Clip off a piece of your fingernail and place it inside the doll with the rice.
– Using the needle and red thread, stitch the doll closed. Without snipping the thread, take the remaining length, wrap it around the doll, and tie off the ends.
– Fill the bathtub with water.
– Purify the room in which your hiding place is located with the incense or ofuda. Once it has been purified, set up the television in the same room. Place the cup of salt water and the sharp edge inside the hiding place.
– Name the doll.

The Main Event:

– Begin at precisely 3am. Repeat the following phrase to the doll three times, filling in your own name where appropriate: “[Your Name] is the first it.”
– Go to the bathroom. Submerge the doll in the bathtub and leave it there.
– Turn out all the lights in your house.
– Go to your hiding place and switch on the television. Close your eyes and count to ten.
– When you have finished counting, open your eyes, retrieve your sharp edge, and return to the bathroom.
– Remove the doll from the bathtub and say the following phrase to it, filling in the doll’s name where appropriate: “I have found you, [Doll’s Name].” Use your sharp edge to cut the red thread binding the doll.
– Say the following phrase to the doll, filling in the doll’s name where appropriate: “You are the next it, [Doll’s Name].” Then return the doll to the bathtub.
– Quickly return to your hiding place. Remain as silent as possible.

The Ending:

– Take a large mouthful of salt water. Do not swallow it; hold it in your mouth. Keep the cup containing the rest of the salt water in your hand.
– Emerge from your hiding place and begin looking for the doll. NOTE: The doll may not necessarily be in the bathroom where you left it.
– When you find the doll, pour the remaining salt water in the cup over it. Expectorate the salt water in your mouth over the doll as well.
– Repeat the following phrase to the doll three times: “I win.”

The Postscript:

– Once the game has been completed, allow the doll to dry, then burn it and discard the remains.

Additional Notes:

The rice signifies the doll’s internal organs. Additionally, it functions as bait to attract spirits. The red ribbon reflects a blood vessel and seals whatever spirits you might have attracted inside the ring. Snipping the thread in the Main Event: measure 6 sparks the spirits. When naming your doll, do NOT give it your own name. It’s also a good idea to avoid giving it the name of anyone you know. When the match has begun, do NOT do any of the following things until It’s Been finished:

– Turn on the lights.
– Lock any doors, including the front or back doors
– Make unnecessary noise.
– Leave your house.

It’s not generally advisable to emerge from your hiding place in the Ending: step two without both holding the salt water into your mouth and taking the cup with the residual salt water in your hand; should anything have found its way to your house during the course of this game, they’ll behave as safeguards and protect you from any harm your visitor or visitors may try to inflict upon you. The purpose of the television would be to alert one to the existence of these potential visitors. If it begin to exhibit abnormal behavior, do NOT, under ANY circumstance, leave your hiding place without the salt water.

Do not allow the game to go on for longer than two hours.

Once it has been started, the game MUST be played through to completion. Do NOT attempt to abandon it partway through. To do so would result in disaster.