An eerie Kleenex commercial featuring a baby red demon sparked a host of rumors and fears after airing on Japanese TV in the mid-1980s. (Watch at your own risk.)
After the ad ran, rumors began to circulate about the unfortunate fate of everyone involved. Keiko Matsuzaka, the actress in the commercial, was rumored to have become pregnant with a demon child. Others claim she was institutionalized after suffering a mental breakdown. The young actor who played the red demon is said to have died suddenly under mysterious circumstances. And one by one, the entire production staff either fell ill or suffered unfortunate accidents.
The song in the commercial also gained notoriety. Some viewers thought the lyrics sounded like a German curse, and there were claims that the sound of the music varied according to the time of day. Whenever the commercial aired late at night, the singer's angelic voice would transform into the raspy voice of an old woman, bringing misfortune to all who heard it.
Needless to say, there is no truth to these claims. The producers simply wanted a dreamy fairy tale look for the commercial, and they chose the song "It's A Fine Day" (recorded by Jane) for its cheerful message. The commercial failed to get the desired response.
[Note: This is the latest in a series of weekly posts on Japanese urban legends. Check back next week for more.]