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The Ending Of JU-ON: Origins Explained

Ju-On (also known as The Grudge) is one of the most storied franchises in Japanese horror. "Ju-On" translates to "curse grudge," and explores the idea of how violence against an individual can leave a supernatural residue on not only a place, but anyone who might visit that place. In the United States, The Grudge is best known as the horror film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar

Adding to the the rich tapestry that is The Grudge (there are 11 films, novelizations, and a video game) is Netflix's series, JU-ON: Origins. Origins, in addition to being Netflix's first Japenese live-action original series, is also the first time The Grudge has been adapted to the format of television.

Most of the Japanese films in the series are based around a specific house in Nerima, Tokyo. JU-ON: Origins is also primarily about one specific location. Despite the setting being largely specific, there's a lot of complexity to the rest of JU-ON: Origins. There are multiple time periods and multiple storylines, and both the time periods and characters interact, often in non-linear ways. All of which is to say that if, by the end of the six-episode series, you are very confused, you are probably not alone.

Explaining the origin of JU-ON: Origins

Before we can even think of where JU-ON: Origins story ends, we first need to explain where it actually begins. While the first episode might start us off in 1988 with young actress Haruka (Yuina Kuroshima) sharing her ghost story with writer Yasuo Odajima (Yoshiyoshi Arakawa), the story of what causes Haruka's haunting starts much earlier.

In 1952, a man kidnaps a woman and hides her in a suburban home, where he sexually assaults and impregnates her, then locks her in a hidden attic space until she gives birth and dies. Both the child and the man disappear, but the woman, after her death, becomes a Woman in White, an apparition that is classic in both Eastern and Western folklore. The Woman in White is the original "curse grudge," and the suburban home in which she died becomes ground zero for others to become infected by her, and by what happened to her there.

Remember, a person has only to set foot in the haunted house to become infected, and they can spread their infection to others elsewhere.

Where Yasuo and Haruka fit in on JU-ON: Origins

In 1988, Haruka, having recently moved into a one-bedroom apartment, begins to hear the sound of children's feet running across the floor. Haruka has no children, so the origin of the footsteps is unclear. She brings the case, and a cassette recording of the event, to Yasuo to investigate what might be happening.

As part of the investigation, Yasuo seeks out Haruka's boyfriend, Tetsuya Fukazawa (Kai Inowaki). Tetsuya says the haunting is his fault, because he recently went house hunting and wound up inside the haunted house. Tetsuya claims he can see the supernatural and is convicned that the haunting traveled with him to Haruka's apartment. Yasuo wants to know where this haunted house is, but Tetsuya refuses to tell him.

Shortly after this declaration, Tetsuya dies, causing both Yasuo and Haruka (along with Tetsuya's mother) to commit themselves to tracking down this supposed haunted house.

Why Yasuo is fixated on hauntings on JU-ON: Origins

One of the questions a lot of people ask Yasuo throughout JU-ON: Origins is, "Why are you writing about ghosts?" For most of the series, Yasuo confesses he doesn't know why he's so fixated on the supernatural. Once he tracks down the haunted house in 1995 (after the haunting infects a married couple, causing them to re-enact the events of the original murder), however, Yasuo realizes that he actually lived in the haunted house in 1960, 8 years after the initial curse. Yasuo appears to be the only person to have ever lived in the haunted house and not suffered any immediate ill effects.

When Yasuo's family moves into the haunted house, his mother is already dead. There, Yasuo and his sister discover the secret attic and the Woman in White. The Woman in White hands Yasuo her child, but Yasuo drops the baby when he sees a dark spirit breaking through the house's sliding, glass doors. The dark spirit takes the child and Yasuo, looking out the window, sees his father vanish into thin air.

After these events, Yasuo and his sister wind up in separate foster homes. Later, Yasuo is told that his sister took ill and died.

Who is the dark spirit on JU-ON: Origins?

There are many stories of people being haunted by this curse grudge, but the most relevant one, also begins in 1988, at the same time that Haruka brings her story to Yasuo.

Kiyomi Kawai (Ririka) is a student transferring to a new school. She meets two girls at the school who invite her to an abandoned house they call the "cat mansion" ... which, in actuality, is the haunted house. When Kiyomi and her "friends" got to the house, they are joined by a young man who it turns out is there to sexually assault Kiyomi. After the assault, Kiyomi hides in a closet, where she discovers and becomes possessed by the Woman in White. From that point on, Kiyomi is infected. The long and short of it is that, between 1988 and 1997, Kiyomi has a child and raises it with her rapist, who is also infected by the curse. The child winds up in a coma, and Kiyomi becomes a sex worker before ultimately killing her rapist-husband.

Because time in JU-ON: Origins doesn't always happen in order, Kiyomi returns in 1997 to the haunted house and, through the glass doors, sees Yasuo as a child in 1960 — and Yasuo sees her. Kiyomi breaks through the glass doors. From her perspective, she stays in the house, looking at Polaroids that were taken when she was originally assaulted. From Yasuo's perspective, Kiyomi is a blackened figure who takes the Woman in White's baby. The most reasonable assumption we can make is that the figure is the part of the Woman in White that possessed Kiyomi in 1988, and which has returned to take back her child.

The end of the haunting and Haruka's fate on on JU-ON: Origins

In the final episode, Yasuo, Haruka, and Tetsuya's mother visit the current family residing in the haunted house in 1997, which consists of a man and his pregnant wife. It is here that Yasuo finally remembers all the details of his own time in the house.

Unfortunately for the latest couple, the wife is attacked by the spirit of the original man who assaulted and murdered the Woman in White. The pregnant woman escapes and his taken away in an ambulance, but her husband is not so lucky — he suddenly begins screaming in the street, and much like Yasuo's father, suddenly vanishes never to be seen again. Tetsuya's mother sees the Woman in White in her true, decayed form and, presumably, is killed.

After all these events, Haruka and Yasuo become convinced that the only way to end the hauntings is by burying anything associated with them on the property of the house. Earlier in the story, a man buries his wife's unborn child (which was conceived in the haunted house) on the grounds there. Similarly, Haruka decides to bury the cassette tape of the haunting she experienced in her apartment back in 1988.

As Haruka buries the tape, she sees the spirit of Tetsuya's mother laughing and crying, and the crying ceases momentarily. Haruka thinks the curse is over, bu, then she hears a crying baby. Moments later, the spirit of the man who killed the Woman in White appears behind Haruka, grabbing her and pulling her back toward the house. In other words, the grudge continues. That is where JU-ON: Origins ends — as dark and as grim as humanly possible.