Kayako Saeki (née Kawamata) is a fictional character from the Ju-on series of Japanese-horror movies and The Grudge trilogy of American remakes. In all of the films, except for the third, she is played by actress Takako Fuji. In The Grudge 3, Kayako is played by Aiko Horiuchi, Fuji having turned down the role. The only other time Fuji has not appeared as Kayako is in the web series Tales From The Grudge where Kayako is portrayed by Anna Moon.
She was created by director Takashi Shimizu. She represents a popular antagonist in Japanese culture, the vengeful ghost (Onryō). She is typically characterized by long dark hair covering her face, twisted movements with crunching neckbones and a haunting croaking sound from her mouth. She first appeared in Shimizu's short movie Katasumi and spends the whole Ju-On series haunting a house in Nerima, Japan. She is one of the fulfillers of the Ju-On curse, which states that when someone dies in a state of intense rage, those feelings remain at the death site and kill whoever it touches.
She was seen more recently in The Grudge 2 and returned in The Grudge 3, which was released direct-to-DVD in May 2009. She has proven to be a very popular character in horror cinema, having appeared in six films (with one more to be released) and one short.
Kayako's origin story is outlined in The Grudge 2. Kayako spends her childhood with her mother, an Itako (Japanese exorcist) who uses her daughter to "eat" the evil spirits she drives away from her patients. This marks the child for the rest of her life, making her a target for gossip and cruelty. Kayako did seem to have a father-figure in her life. When she attends university, she meets Shunsuke Kobayashi (Peter Kirk in The Grudge), with whom she falls deeply in love.
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Official Site: Columbia Pictures
Links: The Grudge Wiki Entry The Grudge Ju-On: the Grudge