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Sadako Yamamura

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Nobody made it. It wasn't made at all. That video... is the pure, physical manifestation of Sadako's hatred.
~ Ryuji explaining Sadako's curse.
Why were you the only one saved?
~ Sadako lamenting over her own preventable fate after Mai and Yoichi were rescued from her wrath.
Sadako! Did you do that? Sadako!
~ Shizuko after witnessing Sadako psychically killing someone for the first time.
Sadako Yamamura is the central antagonist of the Japanese psychological horror film franchise Ring, which was based on the novel series of the same title by Koji Suzuki.

She was a tragic young woman whose supernatural abilties caused her to become an outcast throughout most of her life. She was eventually imprisoned inside a well and after her supposed death, she returned as a vengeful ghost and created a cursed videotape, which killed the viewer 7 days after viewing it unless they copy and pass it onto someone else.

Her character was portrayed by the seven actresses, being Rie Inō in Ring and Ring 2, Hinako Saeki in Rasen, Yukie Nakama in Ring 0: Birthday, Ayane Miura in Ring: Kanzenban, Tae Kimura in the TV series Ring: The Final Chapter and Rasen, Ai Hashimoto in Sadako 3D, and Sadako 3D 2, and Elly Nanami in Sadako vs Kayako.

In addition, she is incarnated as Park Eun-Suh in the South Korean remake and Samara Morgan in the American remake.

Novels

In the summer of 1946, Shizuko Yamamura brought up a statue of the oceanic god, En no Ozunu, from the ocean floor with the help of her childhood friend Genji. Soon after, she began to exhibit psychic powers. The following year, against her friends' advice, Shizuko traveled to Tokyo, where upon arrival, she collapsed because of a migrane, a side effect of her new powers. While in the hospital, she met Dr. Heihachiro Ikuma, a professor of psychiatry. Ikuma was fascinated by Shizuko's powers, and had an affair with her but when she conceived, she traveled back to her hometown on Oshima Island to avoid causing a scandal for Ikuma. Later that year, on October 31, 1947, Sadako was born, and Shizuko handed her over to her grandmother while Shizuko went to be with her lover.
Ring12

Sadako appearing in the manga adaption of the novel.

In 1950, when Sadako turned 3, Shizuko returned for her, and they left Oshima, not to be seen for 5 years. After 4 years, Shizuko gave birth to a boy, but he died from illness after 4 months. Sadako had psychic powers like her mother but grew up socially awkward and unbalanced.

At an ESP demonstration hosted by Dr. Ikuma, Shizuko was branded a fraud and charlatan after she abruptly ended the demonstration. Because of this, Ikuma divorced Shizuko, who fell into a deep depression. The following year, Sadako suggested that she and Shizuko go back to Oshima to escape the press. Before the year was over though, Shizuko committed suicide by leaping into the volcano, Mt. Mihara, and Sadako went to live at Yamamura Villa, run by her cousin, Takashi.

At the age of 11, Sadako predicted the eruption of Mt. Mihara, which was proven correct, but denied having any psychic powers. Knowing what could happen if her powers grew, at the age of 19, Ikuma sent Sadako to Tokyo, where she joined the Hisho Acting Troupe. It is known that she might have been responsible for the death of the troupe director, but not much else is known of her actions within that time frame (not including the stageplays she was in, according to old playbills).

In the summer of 1966, when her father came down with tuberculosis, Sadako visited him frequently at the sanatorium. On one of her visits, she was raped by a man named Nagao Joutarou in a smallpox induced fever, a young doctor who watched her bedridden father. When he raped her, he found out that, while appearing female, she had external testes due to Testicular Feminization Syndrome. It was her secret and, ashamed, she threatened to kill him telepathically. He strangled her and threw her down a nearby well. Having smallpox, he transmitted it to her when he raped her.

Sadako survived on sheer willpower for 20 years in the well before dying. In the late 80s, a resort is built over the site, with the sanatorium converted into a restaurant, and log cabins built. In late August, a family from Tokyo stayed in cabin B-4, which conveniently had the TV and VCR placed directly above the well. The son, who was a devoted fan of a certain comedy show, wanted to watch it. But his parents, being the ones in control, were watching something on NHK. The son agreed to record the show, which gave Sadako the opening she needed. The channels were different in Hakone--but of course some child would never know that. Embedding the ring virus into the tape and burning the images, the original tape was created.

Films

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Sadako, as a child, demonstrating her powers.

In Oshima Island, there was a psychic named Shizuko Yamamura, who was always considered strange by the other inhabitants in her home island as she would sit on the beach and stare at the ocean for hours. In reality, Shizuko was talking to a sea demon, who shortly after impregnated her with a strange daughter named Sadako who possessed strange abilities. Shizuko intended to abandon Sadako at the beach but Sadako was still there even when the waves washed her away, leaving her with no choice but to raise her as her own.

Shizuko had also predicted the eruption of Mt. Mihara, the island's volcano, with her psychic powers. Hoping to make money off of Shizuko, her cousin leaked this to the press, and Shizuko became famous overnight. This attracted the attention of Dr. Heihachiro Ikuma, a university professor from Tokyo who wanted to prove the existence of ESP. He sailed to Oshima and visited Shizuko, where they began a love affair and eventually married each other. Noticing that Shizuko was pregnant, Ikuma was assumed to be Sadako's father. After Sadako's birth, Ikuma took her and her mother to Tokyo to use their powers as evidence for his experimental studies on the existence of ESP.

A few years later, Ikuma decided to hold a public demonstration of Shizuko's powers, with members of the press present. Ikuma and Shizuko proceeded with the demonstration, while Sadako watched from backstage. Shizuko never once failed, but the demonstration was interrupted by a reporter who stood up and declared that Shizuko was faking her abilities.

This started an uproar, with other observers joining in the declarations of "fraud", "freak" and "fake." Enraged by the treatment of her mother, Sadako snapped and used her powers to kill the reporter who initially caused the uproar by giving him a heart attack., leaving his face gruesomely distorted. After the demonstration, Ikuma was fired from his university. He took Sadako with him to his home on the Izu Peninsula, while Shizuko returned to Oshima, eventually killing herself by leaping into Mt. Mihara, an active volcano during the time. Ikuma, who loved Sadako as his own daughter, wanted her to have a normal life, but he realized that Sadako split into evil and good "clones" of herself after the failed demonstration. Ikuma imprisoned and drugged the evil clone of Sadako so that the evil clone will never develop during puberty. Meanwhile, he took great care of the good clone of Sadako and allowed her to live a normal life. In order to overcome her anxieties and nightmares which Sadako often experienced after the suicide of her mother and her evil clone constantly tormenting her, Sadako joined a local acting school in Tokyo as recommended by her psychiatrist.

Giphy (8)

Coming soon in 7 days.

During her time in the acting school, Sadako's beauty and charisma charmed most of the members of the acting troupe, especially the sound manager Toyama, whom Sadako fell in love with. However, the members of the acting troupe (except for Toyama) began to fear and bully her after discovering her powers. Her powers also accidentally initiated a curse via a sound tape, which killed one of the troupe members after listening to the sound tape. The evil clone of Sadako began to taunt the good clone of Sadako which led her to be more alienated and drive her into killing her psychiatrist during a live performance of a play whilst he tried to calm her down. This led Sadako to be attacked and eventually killed by the angry mob of the troupe members led by the fiance of the reporter who was killed during Shizuko's demonstration.

The angry mob later soon realized that there was an evil side of Sadako and wanting to save themselves from the curse that Sadako unleashed, they arrived at Izu Peninsula to kill the evil clone. However, the dead body of Sadako's good clone being in close proximity to her evil clone allowed both of them to merge into a freakish and maniac monster that Sadako was most well-known for with long black hair concealing their faces. In their merged form, Sadako accidentally kills Toyama off-screen and goes on a murderous rampage against all of the members of the angry mob, who all died of a sudden heart attack. Two remaining members attempt to hide in Sadako's childhood home but Sadako approaches them and both members shoot themselves in order to avoid being killed by her as Sadako watches.

The good clone of Sadako eventually recovers in her home but she realizes that Ikuma is planning to drug her with poison. Sadako escapes into the forest outside but Ikuma bludgeons her in an attempt to stop her powers from harming anyone and throws her body into a nearby well. Ikuma tearfully breaks down and looks at the body of his daughter in the well one last time before he seals it with a stone lid. Sadako, however, remained alive for 30 years inside the well until her uncle retrieves her body from the well and is summoned to identify her.

Meanwhile, a set of rental cabins were built over the well and inside, it contained a blank videotape where Sadako psionically transferred her twisted and pessimistic views of her own life into the videotape. The videotape became cursed and anyone who watched it would be killed by Sadako's vengeful ghost 7 days after initially viewing it. The viewer also receives a phonecall notifying about their 7-day deadline but this only happens if the viewer watched the videotape in the cabin.

In the form of her vengeful spirit, Sadako usually kills her victims by crawling out of her victim's TV screen and revealing her rolled back eye to them in order to frighten them and ultimately kill them via a heart attack. If her victim is not nearby a TV, she can still appear through any reflective surface and frighten them to death or in some versions, drive them insane to cause them to commit suicide. Her victims often die immediately and a distorted facial expression of fear is left permanently on their faces in a similar fashion to the reporter that Sadako killed when she was still alive.

Scientists and doctors are also drawn into Sadako's mysterious supernatural abilities but their experiments with her abilities often lead to unfortunate and fatal circumstances for the other characters such as Masami in Ring 2 where she was killed after having an intense mental overload during a medical experiment that tested her ability to burn images onto surfaces after being exposed to the presence of Sadako when she killed her best friend Tomoko after watching the cursed videotape.

Sadako vs Kayako

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Sadako in the new version of the cursed videotape.

Sadako also appears in a crossover film called Sadako vs. Kayako, where she battles her rival, Kayako Saeki, who is also a bloodthirsty vengeful ghost. The film is centered around two teenagers named Yuri and Suzuka, who are cursed by both entities, as they attempt to find a way to permanently end both curses.

The cursed videotape has also been upgraded and instead of 7 days, the victim would only have 2 days to live, presumably because by now, Sadako was extremely eager to enact her mass murdering agenda upon humanity. In the cursed videotape, it shows an abandoned run-down building instead (a possible reference to Sadako 3D) which briefly ends with static and later on, Sadako appears in the doorway of the building and menancingly stares at the viewer. Sadako can also manifest behind the viewer once they have finished watching the cursed videotape and at some occassions, she can possess people to kill other people or possess her victims to kill themselves in brutal ways.

After multiple deaths and failed exorcisms related to the cursed videotape, Yuri enlists the help of an exorcist named Keizo, who recently saved Suzuka from being brutally murdered by Kayako. Together, they devise a plan together, where Yuri shows Suzuka the cursed videotape in the cursed Saeki house in order to make Sadako and Kayako fight over the girls, which would hypothetically obliterate both entities in the process. Suddenly, Toshio appears in front of them and meows at them, frightening Yuri and Suzuka. Toshio notices the static on the TV and whilst curiously investigating, Sadako drags him into the TV screen with her own hair.

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Its time for a death battle!

Sadako proceeds to crawl out of the TV screen and prepares to kill her soon-to-be victims but at the same time, a bloody Kayako menancingly crawls downstairs. Yuri and Suzuka, cornered by both entities, are left with no choice but to watch as Sadako eerily walks towards them in the hallway. Suddenly, Kayako races towards Sadako in the hallway and jumps on her, seemingly dragging her away to her defeat. Just as they thought the horror would be over, Kayako emerges but her eyes and mouth are impaled by Sadako's hair. Keizo then warns them not to look at Sadako in the eye over the phone.

Looking away in fear, Sadako reveals her infamous death stare eye as Kayako looks up, only to have her body brutally blasted in a bloody mess. The puddle of blood vanishes but Sadako continues to menancingly walk towards them. Keizo then rushes into the house, realising that the plan has failed. He grabs the cursed videotape and scalds Sadako that she's a demon as he hurls it towards her. At the same time, it is revealed that Kayako quickly survived from Sadako's attack as she emerges from the darkness. The cursed videotape fails to hit Sadako and as it falls onto the floor, Kayako crushes the tape with her hand but Sadako bounds her hair to the tape with her hair.

Keizo tells Yuri and Suzuka to go to the well outside and Yuri sacrifices herself to be a bait in order to lure Sadako and Kayako into obliterating each other. Whilst Yuri stands on top of the well, Sadako and Kayako exit the house and they stand opposite to each other, determined for a brutal fight. Yuri falls into the well as Sadako and Kayako race towards each other and unexpectedly fuse into a much more powerful demonic entity that combines both of their respective curses called Sadakaya.

At the end, if a person watches the cursed videotape or visits the Saeki house or alternatively does both, they will be haunted by Sadakaya and be presumably killed by her. Sadakaya also appears as a sole entity in the cursed videotape instead of Sadako herself and she appears to be much more bigger, stronger and have greater abilities to freakishly contort her body. Combined with her traditional white dress and long, black hair that covers her face, Sadakaya also makes Kayako's infamous death rattle noises in the cursed videotape.

Victims

  1. Journalist Miyaji- Heart attack.
  2. Several unnamed journalists- Killed one by one via a heart attack over an unspecified period of time.
  3. Aiko Hazuki- Heart attack.
  4. Dr. Wataru Kuno- Breaks neck and spine after collapsing on top of candles due to shock.
  5. Hiroshi Toyama- Heart attack.
  6. Five unnamed troupe members- Heart attack.
  7. Kaoru Arima- Heart attack.
  8. Etsuko Tachihara- Shot by Akiko, who was under the influence of Sadako.
  9. Akiko Miyaji- Forced by Sadako to shoot herself.
  10. Heihachiro Ikuma (presumed)- Heart attack.
  11. Unnamed schoolboy from Izu- Heart attack.
  12. Tomoko Oishi- Heart attack.
  13. Iwata Suichi- Skull smashed in motorcycle accident.
  14. Tadehiko Nomi- Heart attack.
  15. Yoko Tsuji- Heart attack.
  16. Ryuji Takayama- Heart attack.
  17. Kōichi Asakawa- Heart attack.
  18. Kanae Sawaguchi- Heart attack.
  19. Masami- Heart attack.
  20. Reiko Asakawa (implied)- Hit by truck after being distracted by a vision of Yoichi, who was influenced by Sadako.
  21. Takashi Yamamura- Drowned.
  22. Dr. Kawajiri- Electrocuted in swimming pool.
  23. Unnamed nurse- Electrocuted in swimming pool.
  24. Tominaga Tetsuo- Hit by truck.
  25. Two unnamed students- Committed suicide under the influence of Sadako.
  26. Numerous viewers of the cursed video in Sadako 3D- Heart attack.
  27. Seiji Kashiwada- Heart attack.
  28. Detective Koiso's partner- Committed suicide under the influence of Sadako.
  29. Nagi Ando's victims- Possessed by Sadako to kill several victims in various ways.
  30. Yasue- Strangled by cord.
  31. Machimane- Throat slit by knife.
  32. Keiko- Falls off the second level of a store to her death.
  33. Shin'ichi Morishige- Head smashed by a possessed Hōryū.
  34. Hōryū- Smashes her own skull whilst being possessed.
  35. Several of Hōryū's assistants- Necks twisted and snapped in the presence of Sadako.
  36. Natsumi Ueno- Hanged by a belt.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Her fate was more brutal and graphic in the novels. A doctor, who cared for her terminally ill father, raped Sadako and transmitted a smallpox strand that would later be embedded within the cursed videotape. The doctor exposes Sadako's genitals during the rape and discovers that she has Testicular Feminization Syndrome and tosses her down a nearby well out of disgust. He later commits suicide out of guilt.
  • Fans consider Sadako to be more powerful, frightening yet tragic than Samara, who on the other hand was viewed as being more evil and sadistic. Sadako expressed more remorse in her actions, even as a vengeful ghost, and primarily killed those who tormented her in her lifetime. Samara was alienated by people who were genuninely concerned by her powers and harmed and killed innocent animals in her lifetime and even manipulated the protagonist into viewing her as a victim.
  • Sadako's character is very similar to Carrie White as both are outcasts in society and struggled to fit in due to their potentially deadly supernatural abilities. They also have been isolated by members in society and have been sent to schools to "fit in". While staying in their schools, they have also developed feelings for a man who was well-liked amongst the crowd but their powers eventually go out of control, which leads to their boyfriends' deaths and they also go on a rampage to kill their tormentors. Both characters have also been abused and eventually killed by their parents and they both were restless beyond their grave after their cruel death.
  • She is also similar to Kayako Saeki as they are both onryo spirits in white clothing, and were killed by their relatives, causing them to hate the world and want to destroy humanity. Their curses are extremely powerful and few people survive them and they coincidentally fuse together into one entity in a crossover.
  • She is also very similar to Carmen Winstead as both have been thrown into an underground place (Sadako-well, Carmen-manhole) and manipulated technology in order to seek revenge and kill anyone who refuses to believe them or pass their stories to others.
  • Her name means "chaste" (free from any sexual intercourse) in Japanese which may hint to her inability to reproduce due to her Testicular Feminization Syndrome and her obsession of procreating (this is explained in the original novels).
  • Sadako Yamamura was based on the character Okiku from the Japanese folkloric tale caled "Banchō Sarayashik", who was the servant of a samurai, who eventually killed her by throwing her in the well as she rejected his amorous advances. She became a vengeful ghost like Sadako who haunted the samurai day and night.
  • The concept of Sadako's good side and evil side and both sides merging together near the end of the plot is similar to Alessa Gillespie, who also splitted her souls into a good version of herself and an evil version of herself. Adding onto that, both characters originated from Japan, both have unknown fathers, both have mothers who had contact with demonic entities, both possess supernatural abilities that cause them to be alienated, both are considered to be demonic incarnations (Alessa was accused of being one whilst Sadako was literally one since her father was an actual sea demon), both were attempted to be killed by members of society who feared and ultimately outcasted them because of their powers and both have initiated a powerful curse that holds immense control over the settings that the characters live in in both films.
  • Sadako is based on the life of early-20th century psychic Sadako Takahashi, an apparent practitioner of nensha, the art of projecting images onto film by thought alone. In 1931 Takahashi was studied by psychologist Tomokichi Fukurai for his book "Clairvoyance and Thoughtography".
  • In the novel, Sadako was raped by a doctor who cared for her terminally ill father and was thrown into the well after the doctor discovered that she possessed the testicles of both genders.

Navigation


The Grudge Villains


Saeki Family
Kayako Saeki | Takeo Saeki | Toshio Saeki | Naoko Kamawata
The Grudge 2 |
Aubrey Davis | Miyuki Nazawa | Trish Kimble | Vanessa Cassidy
Sadako Vs. Kayako |
Sadako Yamamura | Sadakaya

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