When we think of worldwide respected Japanese people, there’s a few that come to mind. Perhaps Yuzuru Hanyu the champion figure skater, or author and Netflix star Marie Kondo.
Japan has a wealth of talent and respectable people throughout history, spanning all the arts and sciences. But in Newsweek Japan’s list, "100 Japanese People the World Respects," there was a pretty scary surprise entry.
Instantly recognizable by her pale skin, white dress and long, matted black hair which obscures her face, Sadako is the antagonistic spirit from horror movie "The Ring."
The list of 100 is split into four categories, Heroes, Icons, Challengers, Artists, Entertainers, and Rest of the Best. Sadako made it into the last category, with her occupation described as ‘vengeful spirit’.
The popular horror movie franchise inspired overseas remakes in South Korea and America. Sadako is most well remembered for the iconic scene in which she crawls out of the television screen towards her screaming victim.
But recently in Japan, the character has been portrayed in a softer light. She makes appearances in comedic promotions such as "date with Sadako" photoshoots, and playing baseball against another horror star, Kayako ("The Grudge"). There’s an Instagram account called "Sadako Diary" which portrays the terrifying apparition indulging in some every day fun like enjoying a trip to the beach or playing with a cat.
Perhaps this fondness in Japan combined with her worldwide star power is what landed her in the list.
If you really think about it, there’s a lot to respect about Sadako. Born in 1947 into a male dominated society and dealt a bad lot in life, she singlehandedly created a cursed videotape so that her murderous spirit could be reborn again and again and again for the whole of eternity.
And besides, even if you think she isn't worthy of respect, are you really going to tell her that to her face?
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