Mannequins celebrating various yearly events have Japanese Twitter freaking out.

Like myself, many of you will have seen umpteen horror films or creepy TV shows during your formative years, but how much does that affect what scares us as adults? As a young child, I used to love watching repeats of old Doctor Who episodes, the cheaply made monster costumes giving me countless sleepless nights. One particular episode that stands out in my memory was of the Jon Pertwee incarnation being confronted by the mannequins-come-to-life evil of the Autons in the 1970 episode “Spearhead from Space.” Ever since, I’ve watched shop dummies with a wary eye, ready for the slightest twitch.

This week, Japanese Twitter users (who presumably have never seen that Doctor Who episode) have been complaining about the mannequins in a display giving them the willies, so maybe that one isn’t just a product of my misspent youth.

“I think I might be going insane.”

The incongruous display that Twitter user Twitter/@ken1hatsumi snapped is located on the corner of a construction site in Gotanda, a neighborhood in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward. The figures of a mother and child are standing next to a kabuto samurai helmet, traditionally used as a decoration for Children’s Day, on 5 May. The text in the background reads, “Thank you, Mother,” and as if that image wasn’t enough to strike terror into the hearts of unfortunate passers-by, another Twitter user, @setsunaiotona, suggested that given its location, perhaps the construction site wasn’t a construction site at all, but the scene of a gruesome infanticide or matricide and the dummies linked to some kind of curse, or the site of some terrible accident in which a parent and child perished.

“It’s… it’s like a curse.”

The flowers also make it look like a memorial to something, or more likely because as well as Children’s Day on 5 May, Mother’s Day in Japan is coming up soon on 13 May. Another Twitter user, @sunny4050, quashed the crime/fatal accident idea though with a photo they’d taken before of the same construction site display where the exhibit was slightly different, congratulating schoolchildren on starting a new school year.

But the other display manages to be even creepier. The mother sporting the usual blank-faced countenance common to many mannequins, but the daughter is another matter entirely, with a shrunken head and eyes that follow you. If that wasn’t blood-curdling enough, another Twitter user came across the scene at night. Seeing a mannequin in the dark must be as scary as coming across one in the wilderness.

Other Twitter users seemed equally perturbed by the diorama:

“It’s like something out of ‘Silent Hill’.”
“Right in front of Gotanda Station, there’s a moment of terror.”
“The person who came up with the idea probably thought they’d make people walking past feel all warm inside.”
“Whoever made it has poor aesthetic sense, but their heart’s in the right place.”

In all of the images we’ve seen of the display there doesn’t appear to be anything like a shop or business name being advertised, so maybe it was put up by the land owner, the construction company or some other organisation. Perhaps it is just there to celebrate the various Japanese calendar events throughout the year until the building that may or may not be under construction is completed. In the meantime though, it’s also managing to freak people out, not least me. With so many young male and female idols clamouring for attention, surely shop windows and restaurants could employ them to model their wares and do away with mannequins altogether, or let them make music instead.

Source: Twitter/@ken1hatsumi via Hachimakiko
Featured image: Twitter/@FrankSTK