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Sadako Yamamura is the main antagonist from the horror film series Ringu, which is in turn based on a trilogy called Ring written by Koji Suzuki. She had immense psychic powers, including the ability to kill someone just by wishing it. Her character was the main influence of Samara Morgan who was featured in the American remake of Ringu.
Sadako's mother was Shizuko Yamamura, a psychic. Her father was unknown, but presumed to be an unknown sea demon. Shizuko was always considered strange by the other inhabitants of her home island of Oshima as she would sit on the beach and stare at the ocean for hours. It is implied that Shizuko is in reality talking to the sea demon and a while later, it impregnated her with a daughter named Sadako Yamamura who possessed strange supernatural powers.Shortly before this, she had 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 professor from a Tokyo university who wanted to prove the existence of ESP. He arrived on Oshima, and visited Shizuko. The girl and the married professor began an affair, and as Shizuko was found pregnant shortly thereafter, Ikuma was presumed to be Sadako's father. After Sadako's birth, Ikuma took her and her mother to Tokyo, where he continued his experiments.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. Ikuma, who loved Sadako as his own daughter, wanted her to have a normal life, but he realized that there was an evil and good version of Sadako. Ikuma imprisoned and drugged the evil version of Sadako so that the evil version will never develop during puberty. Meanwhile he took great care of the good version of Sadako and allowed her to live a normal life by joining an acting troupe in Tokyo.
During her time in the acting troupe, Sadako's beauty and charisma charmed everyone, 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. The evil version of Sadako began to taunt the good version of Sadako which led her 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. However, this caused both the evil and good versions of Sadako to merge and she later killed each of the troupe members one by one including her lover Toyama.
As the good version of Sadako recovered in her home, Ikuma planned to drug her but she later finds out and attempts to escape by going outside in the forest. However, Ikuma catches up to her near the well and he bludegeons her with a machete and throws her body into the well. Believing that Sadako was killed from the attack, Ikuma left the well. Sadako however remained alive for 30 years inside the well until her uncle Takaishi retrieves her body from the well and is s
ummoned to identify her. Meanwhile, a set of rental cabins was 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.
Sadako has great influence over the characters of the films, even if they had copied the cursed videotape and sent it to another individual under the 7 day deadline or never watched it, and the people who have never seen the videotape yet are aware of her presence can also die directly or indirectly by her.
In the novels, Sadako creates a virus known as the "Ring Virus" in the cursed videotape since she will "live on" in it, as long as her DNA merged with that of a strand of the smallpox virus still exists. This was to ensure her that she will reproduce, which she cannot do herself due to being intersexual, or in other versions, to find a host in order to be reborn. In some incarnations, the "Ring Virus" is simply treated as a mysterious phenomenon rather than a biological virus; in these versions, she is portrayed as having created it to wreak vengeance on humanity. Sadako's goal is to make mankind aware of her suffering in life and uses the videotape through various means to achieve this.
Sadako vs Kayako
Sadako is featured as the main antagonist in Sadako vs. Kayako where she now tricked to fight her rival Kayako.
With Yuri(protagonist of the film) and Natsume's attempt to save themselves from Sadako's curse ended in disaster as Natsume's attempt to rid the said curse by uploading the tape's contains to internet wind up gave Sadako tons of victims on her list and the exorcism provoked Sadako to slaughtered miko who assisted them, they resort for Keizo Tokiwa's aid whom suggested that they must pit Sadako against another powerful vengeful spirit. Keizo then suggested that they chooses Kayako to combat Sadako, as coincidently Keizo has discovered Sadako's lair which none other than her own house and found that Suzuka would inflict herself with Kayako's curse.
Just as they began to carry out this plan, Kayako has began her own rampage by slaughtered Suzuka's family whom tries to help their daughter. Keizo distracted Kayako long enough so Yuri and Suzuka had the opportunity to summon Sadako for them via the cursed tape and set up a television as medium for Sadako to enter. Predictably, as Kayako and Toshio emerges, Sadako launched her hair to pulled Toshio into TV and immobilized him inside before proceed to fight Kayako in brutal fight.
Kayako pounches Sadako and seemingly defeat her offscreen, but just as she goes for the girls, Sadako recovers and ensnared her with her hair before impaled some of them to the opposing ghost's eyes and mouth to tear her into bloody mess, seemingly defeated her. By the time Sadako resume the chase, Kayako has already regenerated from her own remains before resume the fight. During this point, Keizo tossed Sadako's cursed tape on Kayako whom proceed to broke it, but interrupted by Sadako whom resume the fight.
Due to the fight ended in stalmate and began to compete on the common target, Yuri decided to sacrifice herself by jumped to the well that they used to seal the fighting spirits in case of this would happened. Just as Yuri entered, both ghosts inadvertly crashed on each other due to blindly lunged on their target, and explodes upon impact. Their essences then fell on Yuri just as Suzuka sealed the well and Keizo was killed by the blast due to protecting his assistant Tamao.
Just when the horror finally seems to be over, the seal is suddenly ripped off, revealed that the previous explosion that seemingly killed both spirits turned out given birth to a new, stronger entity called Sayako where it composed of Sadako and Kayako's essence that possessed Yuri's body, killing her and took her appearance in process. The hybrid ghost then proceed to kill Suzuka, just as Toshio, whom recovered from the ambush began to approach Tamao.
- 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 that were killed by a relative, causing their spirits to want the whole world to understand what they went through. Both also have victims who turn into onryo spirits themselves (in Ringu, after Tomoko was killed by Sadako, she became an onryo spirit who lured her cousin Yoichi to watch the cursed videotape).
- Both Sadako and Kayako even featured in crossover film Sadako vs. Kayako (see Sadako vs. Kayako section above) together as opposing antagonists where in their confrontation, aside being similar, both are equally powerful.
- 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 folklore Banchō Sarayashiki, 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 has 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.