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If you will recall, a while back I wrote about the J-Horror video game series, Forbidden Siren. You may be shocked though to hear that people actually think that Hanuda is a real place. Part of this comes from the fake websites (which you can still visit today) that were set up as part of the promo for the game. These websites mention an urban legend around a partial ghost town with strange inhabitants. This part is based on a real life Japanese urban legend. However, when people say that the events that happened in the game are based off real life events, they are only partially correct. Let’s take a moment to separate the facts from the fiction, shall we?

The story: If you’ve played the game, you know the story. A reclusive mountain village in Japan with a dark past once again undergoes a dimensional shift, the events of that day are speculated but to the rest of the world the facts concerning the villagers fate are thus: on the day of a rare constellation, a massive avalanche occurs and is the probable cause to the disappearance of all inhabitants save one. This avalanche mimics similar events from years back, in which again only one survivor was picked up from the rubble. The town also has a history of violence that dates generations back to when a soldier returning from war killed 33 people. The inhabitants of the village were known to be wary of strangers, most lived in the village their whole lives, and practiced a strange religion.

The myth: In Japan, there are a great many villages that have become ghost towns. However, unlike the ghost towns found in the States, what makes these ghost towns particularly eerie is that a great many personal items, furniture, and equipment owned by previous inhabitants have been left behind, making it appear as though the locals just up and disappeared one day. According to Japanese folklore, there are tales of a strange village that can’t be found on any map and the few queer folk who reside. Upon entrance to the town are signs that proclaim the town exists within its own laws, and murder, incest, and cannibalism are a common occurance.  The mysterious town is said to reside in another world, and the few travelers that have found a way to enter are rarely heard from again. This village is known as INUNAKI VILLAGE. Many alleged imagery of the town show a mountainous backdrop and a nearby mine.

Many of the “facts” about the town are similar to what was written in one of the promotional (fake) websites for Forbidden Siren,:

   “The Hanuda Incident”

XX village is located in the middle of the mountains in XXcounty, XX prefecture.
This time we investigate the strange disturbances in XX village.

First of all,”33 Murdered, XX Village”.
The 33 murders took place in a small village during the war.
We will take you back to that time.
One disturbed young man, carrying a Japanese sword and several guns,
slaughtered the 33 villagers one by one.
The village was completely annihilated in only one night.
After that night the village became a ghost town and completely
disappeared during a landslide in 1976.
No longer can you find the village on any map.
XXvillage was merged with the neighbouring village, Hanuda.
From then on the existence of XX village was hushed up. Or so we thought.

This ghastly night was never completely wiped from people’s memories.
Over the last couple of years a rumour has been circulating that XX village still exists.

Let us introduce you to the rumours about the curse of “33 Murdered, XX Village”.

Testimony 1: The village still exists in the mountains of XX county and blood stained clothes can be found in the abandoned houses.
Testimony 2: One old woman, on all fours, can be found in the village devouring something .
Testimony 3: I f you enter the village you will lose your mind and pass out, due to the hatred of the dead villagers.
Testimony 4: Young people, in search of the ghost village, have gone missing, never to be seen again.
etc…

These rumours are circulated on the internet have have attracted the attention of a lot of people.

<The Kasutori Inquirer “33 Murdered, XX Village”>
Did the “33 Murdered, XX Village” really happen ?
Investigating the mystery, I called Hanuda town hall. Here is their answer…

kasutori

“We don’t have any official record of such happenings.”

But is all this just rumour?

Before we conclude our investigation, let’s go back to Hanuda village.
Hanuda village was the hiding place of a religious cult that was persecuted in the past.
There is another theory that XX Village” is actually part of Hanuda village.

At this point, let us review the rumours associated with Hanuda village.

・The persecution of the religious cult.
・Hanuda village and XX village are mysteriously linked in the depths of history.
・Hanuda village has strange customs and traditions that are not found anywhere else.
・People describe the village as a place between two worlds, where you can be spirited away. There are many reports of missing people.
・This village, from time to time, is the center of natural disasters on an enormous scale.

I have concluded that behind all of these rumours, it is actually the land that is to blame for all these happenings.
Then I decided to visit Hanuda village to unveil the darkness deep within this part of Japan.

It was my first visit and I thought it would be easy to get there.
All I had to do was find XX county on the map and find XX village in the middle of the mountains.
It took an hour and a half by car from the nearest train station.
As expected, I could get to Hanuda village.

But the village had sustained a lot of damage from a landslide caused during an earthquake.
The villagers were occupied rebuilding the village with dark expressions on their faces.
They appeared to me without life, the walking dead.

From the second promotional website, Occultland:

The Bloody Village
Before the war…or during the war. There was XX village in XX county. An outraged young man killed all 33 villagers in one night.
This case is called “33 Murdered, XX Village”. It was very shocking news in Japan. I heard that village became a ghost town.
Wondering if “Bloody Village” is “XX Village”…
Re: Bloody Village Quote

Unknown – 29/07/2003 (Tue) 03:30:27 < REPLY >

XX Village disappeared by landslide in the 70’s.
It no longer exists on the map, might have merged into the neighbouring village (Hanuda Village)…
There are rumours around there. One guy saw a bloody villager’s ghost, people pass out when they go through that area.
This map looks like XX village for sure.

map

The truth: There are a few real life incidents that seem to have served as inspiration for the game and it’s back story. The biggest and most obvious is the mass murder incident, which really happened. The incident is known as the Tsuyama Massacre, and very closely mimics the in-game legend of the murderous soldier (a role to be repeated in a very similar fashion) .

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From Wikipedia: Mutsuo Toi cut the electricity line to the village of Kamo on the evening of 20 May, which left the community in darkness. At around 1:30 am on 21 May, he killed his 76-year-old grandmother by decapitating her with an axe. Then he strapped two flashlights to his head and prowled through the village entering the homes of his neighbours. He killed 29 neighbours (27 of whom died at the scene of the incident, while two others were fatally wounded, dying of their injuries later) and seriously injured three others in about an hour and half using a Browning shotgun, a Japanese sword and an axe. This was almost half of the residents of the small community. At dawn he committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. 

More info about the murders found here.

The second is the village itself. The pictures used for the promotional website are obviously real, and Japan has no shortage of eerie ghost towns that look as though they were abandoned at the spur of the moment. It seems that there was, in this case, one particular village used (that supposedly can be found today) to represent Hanuda/Hanyuda (Inunaki). This real life village is called Shiraiwa Village, and is found near Chichibu, north of Tokyo.  Here is another website with photographs: here. There are many YouTube videos available of the reclusive locale, some that show an eerie school gym.

So there you have it, the real story of “Hanuda/Hanyuda” aka “XX village”. There was such a great team behind the game, how could they predict that their fiction would become online legend?

For further enjoyment, feel free to visit this cool Siren fan site.

 

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