Skip to main content

When a Man Discovered Someone Secretly Living in his Closet

Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.


I keep telling my friends that real life could get more bizarre, or creepy than any Hollywood films. I mean generic horror movies are sometimes based on real life incidence, and this means you don’t need to hit the cinema to experience one. Such notion may leave one unsettled, but on the bright side, real life rarely gets crazy. And when it did, it may leave one fascinated, or exhilarated than traumatized. I mean, I still can’t get enough on how we once outrun a waterspout, or how I got knocked out by a bigger guy during a sparring match.

But there was a certain case in Japan that was beyond creepy! When you are alone at night, do you sometimes get this feeling that you are being watched? And when you hear something bump in the night, what could it be? Maybe, you are sharing your space with unknown elements, that prowl your house when you are not looking. In most cases, you just watched too much horror movies, or you need a beer to calm down.

But what if....

And going back to that incident in Japan, that was exactly what this unsuspecting guy discovered. For a year, his closet harbors something, or someone in this case.

Here’s a spoiler. No one was actually harmed, which made this case worth telling (and more entertaining).

How it Began

A road somewhere in Fukuoka.

A road somewhere in Fukuoka.

It all started in 2008. Somewhere in Fukuoka, Japan is a sleepy town of Kasuya. Back then, an unnamed 57-year-old Japanese male was living a normal life in his flat. But in the days that followed, he noticed something worrying going around in his living space.

Stuffs began to disappear.

Well, it was the food in the fridge that went missing. This might seem odd, as he was the only one living in his apartment. The man was a bachelor that lives alone, and he was not sure where the food went. At first, he placed the blame on himself. Maybe he was sleepwalking, and unknowingly having midnight snacks? The problem then persisted, and he also noticed that things in his house wouldn’t be where he placed them. Hence, he began to suspect that something worse might be at play here.


The crime rate in Japan is pretty low compared elsewhere, but it still happens. Hence, when the food went missing in the man’s apartment, he suspected thieves might be making a frequent visit in his flat. He took measures, like securing the doors and windows, especially when leaving the house. But in no avail. The contents of the fridge still disappeared, and the man formulated a plan to catch the intruders.

And what he discovered scared him.

Someone Was There

A woman trespassing inside the house.

A woman trespassing inside the house.

Obviously, a security camera works best in these situations, when you want to monitor your safe space. Hence, he installed several surveillance cameras in his flat, which was linked to his phone by an app. In this way, he could take a peek on what was happening to his place even when he was away with his mobile phone.

Scroll to Continue

And indeed, his cameras caught something.

It showed the shape of a person sneaking around his house, a woman, but her face was hard to see due to the camera resolution. She started on the fridge, taking some food and eating it, and this explained the missing contents in his refrigerator. Plus, as soon as the woman was finished eating, she moved to the couch to watch the television. Now, he had a thief that stole his food, and used his T.V without permissions. But unlike other trespassers, this one was kind enough to clean up as soon as she was done messing around in his living space. But no amount of housework would change the fact that she was a suspected thief, and the man quickly called the police. And searching the house revealed more surprising, and unsettling revelations.

And She was Caught!

Again, more of that creepy woman.

Again, more of that creepy woman.

With video evidence at hand, the man went on the move to call the police. Much to their surprises, the agents cannot find any evidences of theft. Her modus of cleaning up seemed to work its magic, so she won’t leave any traces of her presence.

They are not even sure how she broke in.

There was no evidence of forced entry in the man’s flat. The doors and windows remained locked, as if no one was there.

Indeed, what they have here is a professional thief, adept at breaking and entering, and disappearing without trace. She was the skilled type who mastered to do her job cleanly. Or at least, that’s what they thought. After searching the house, they found her hiding in an unlikeliest place.

In his closet.

A large closet was a usual feature in a Japanese home. In the case of this uninvited guest, the police found her hiding in the top of the closet, in a space just enough for her to fit in. She had a thin futon and several drinking bottle. But she was not there to escape the police. She was always there. In fact, she was staying there for almost a year, unnoticed by the startled owner. All these times, the man was living with a creepy woman, without him knowing it. But what was the whole story here?

The Whole Story

Typical Japanese closet.

Typical Japanese closet.

The police identified the woman as Tatsuko Horikawa, 58 years old and homeless. Once, she needed a place to stay, and she sneaked into the man’s house when he forgot to lock his door. And for almost a year, she stayed in that apartment in secret, hiding in the makeshift sleeping area in the closet when he was around, and going out for food (and some T.V, viewing) when he was away. She even used the man’s shower and toilet, and she was described as clean and neat when she was found. She only needed a place to stay, not much else, hence no valuables or money was lost or stolen. But what was amazing here was how she evaded the man’s detection for many months. She messed around the guy’s living space, all under his nose.

This story surely gave the chills to anyone, as it rivals any Asian horror films. The next time one felt he or she is being watched, better check the corners of your home, in case you have an unwanted tenant lurking there. On the bright side, the incident ended well, with no harm done both to the home owner and to the homeless woman. Yet there is no way I want that to happen to me. Ever!


  1. Caimmi, Michele (28 July 2020). "The Woman Who Lived a Year Hidden in a Closet". History of Yesterday.
  2. Mcurry, Justin (31 May 2008). "Woman found living in closet". The Guardian.


Rupert Taylor from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on June 15, 2021:

I suggest dropping the first paragraph and going immediately to the meat of the story. The personal experience of dodging a waterspout and getting knocked out have nothing to do with the story. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of readers, so your intro should be a summary of the story.

Also, there are several grammar mistakes. You may want to run your text through a program such as Grammarly.

Related Articles