Characters: The Grudge

The Saeki Family

Kayako Saeki

The Big Bad of the series, Kayako was an ordinary Housewife who has an obsessive crush on a teacher Peter Kirk. Unfortunately, her husband Takeo found out and brutally killed her, along with her son Toshio and the family cat Mar. Brought back by her family's rage as a Curse, Kayako appears as a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, crawling about to hunt down and kill anyone who enters her house to consume them in the curse. She is most iconic for crawling her way down the stairs, and lets out a chilling death rattle whenever she appears.

Toshio Saeki

Kayako's young son who was drowned by his father Takeo after witnessing him murder his mother. Appearing as a ghostly pale little boy, Toshio is the only ghost shown to talk but most of the time meows at his victims.

  • Black Eyes of Evil: Sometimes portrayed as having these, noticeably in box-art.
  • Cat Scare: He often scares characters (and viewers) by meowing at them, sometimes on the phone.
  • Creepy Child: Holy hell!
  • Creepy Monotone
  • Elevator Snare: Susan flees Kayako into an elevator and appears to be safe. That is until Toshio is seen on the passing floor, and the next, and the next, and so on and so forth... getting closer with each passing floor.
  • Killer Rabbit
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover
  • The Other Darrin: He has been portrayed by three different actors. In the first film and in flashbacks/photographs for the second and third films, he was portrayed by Yuya Ozeki (who also portrayed the version of the character in the two theatrical Ju-on films). In the second film, he was portrayed by Ohga Tanaka. In the third film, he is portrayed by Shimba Tsuchiya. (Unfortunately, the difference is rather jarring in the third movie, as Toshio looks a lot older than in the previous films.)
  • Peekaboo Corpse: Averted. His corpse was hidden in a closet, Karen finding the ghost of Toshio in there during her first visit to the house.

Takeo Saeki

Kayako's husband and Toshio's father. Takeo found out about his wife's obsessive crush on Peter Kirk and didn't take it very well. He broke his wife's neck, drowned his son in the bath (to cover up his tracks), and then killed the family cat for some reason. He was then killed by Kayako's ghost although it looks like he hung himself. Part of the curse, Takeo rarely appears and when he does, it is to re-enact the murder of his wife.

  • Asshole Victim: And the first of many victims, assholes or not.
  • Ax-Crazy: Seems this way when he attacks Kayako, throwing himself against the walls and doing an eerie head spasm before he breaks his wife's neck.
  • Demonic Possession: He pulls this in the third film with Max, killing Naoko, his sister-in-law in the process.
  • Driven to Suicide: Seemingly hangs himself but is really killed by Kayako using her own hair as a noose.
  • Freak Out!: Takeo has one hell of a one, flipping out and cutting Kayako's face out of all the family photos!
  • Harmful to Minors: He kills Toshio to cover up his tracks, but is still considered the primary suspect by the police.
  • Neck Snap: Takeo kills Kayako this way, and then with Aubrey.
  • Oh, Crap: Kayako's expression when she realises Takeo read her diary.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The room Takeo uses to hide Kayako's body.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Takeo was a loving father and husband despite Kayako's crush.
  • Vicious Cycle: Subverted. Takeo repeatedly kills victims by re-enacting Kayako's death, although in Naoko's case he stabbed through the back of the neck with a knife.


The family cat, Mar was Toshio's best friend until both were murdered by Takeo. Rarely appears but is used to lure victims into the house or appear as a "pilot fish" before Kayako comes for her victims. It is confusing why Takeo killed the cat, but its likely out of pure rage.

Naoko Kawamata

Kayako's sister. Naoko goes to the Chicago apartment to exoricse her sister and end the curse. Unfortunately, it doesn't go very well. She is attacked by a Takeo-possessed Max and killed by him, only to rise as a ghost like her sister and kill Max.

Characters in The Grudge

Karen Davies

An American careworker living in Tokyo, Karen goes to look after the elderly Emma at the Saeki House and is stalked by Kayako. She investigates the family's murder whilst people around her are consumed by the curse including her boyfriend Doug. She eventually attempts to burn the house down, but is killed by Kayako in the second film.


Karen's boyfriend, who attends the University of Tokyo. He does not play much of a part in the film until the very end where Karen finds him wandering the Saeki House, both at the mercy of Kayako.

Peter Kirk

A teacher who Kayako had an obsessive crush on, stalking him and writing quite insanely about him a diary, leading to Takeo murdering his family and creating the curse. Peter visits the Saeki House to talk to Toshio's parents, finding Kayako's corpse and how crazy she was about him. He then is (apparently) Driven to Suicide.

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Not that he knew about it until too late.
  • Dead Star Walking: He's played by Bill Pullman, and he dies in the first five minutes. (Of course, he appears later due to the Anachronic Order of the film, but this trope still applies.)
  • Driven to Suicide: Although it is strongly implied that he may have been under the influence of the curse.
    • Interestingly, despite being the first person to enter the Saeki house after the murders, he is not shown to have been visited by any of the ghosts before his death.
      • Toshio's ghost lures him into the house, although it's set up to make Peter (and the audience) think Toshio is still alive until he starts meowing.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: In the Director's Cut, the camera focuses on his dead face for a couple of seconds.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: He's played by Bill Pullman.
  • Hot Teacher: In Kayako's eyes anyway.
  • May-December Romance: The news article states he was 51 years old. His wife? 31.

Detective Nakagawa

A Japanese police detective, Nakagawa is the latest in a long line of officers investigating the Saeki house deaths, three officers (who were also his friends) before him disappearing. A bit of a Hardboiled Detective, Nakagawa eventually attempts to destroy the house by burning it down. He fails.

  • Beard of Sorrow: A taped interview with him in the second film, which took place some time shortly after the deaths of his colleagues, shows him looking extremely unkempt.
  • Composite Character: He shares the name and profession of Detective Nakagawa from the original Ju-on film series, but his personality and actions are closer to that of retired detective Toyama, also from Ju-on. Like Toyama, he lost his colleagues to the curse, and also tries to burn the house down.
  • Fair Cop
  • Hardboiled Detective
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Mr. Ryo Ishibashi plays the role, already a master of J-Horror films like Suicide Club and his role in Audition.
  • The Inspector
  • It's Personal: It's implied that one of the driving forces behind his attempt to destroy the house is due to three of his friends being claimed by the curse.
  • Kill It with Fire: Nakagawa attempts to burn down the house, but is lured to his doom by Toshio and Takeo.

The Williams Family (Matthew, Jennifer, Emma, Susan)

The American family who moved into the Saeki house after the murders were cleared up. However, they all quickly become part of the curse on the house.

  • Bedmate Reveal: Susan gets a nasty surprise when Kayako pops up in her bed.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Emma seemingly acts like this at times.
  • Death from Above: Emma is killed when Kayako descends from the ceiling to end her life.
  • Demonic Possession: In deleted scenes, Matthew is possessed by Takeo.
  • Elevator Escape: Susan flees from Kayako's ghost into an elevator, not noticing Toshio watching her on every passing floor.
  • Fish out of Water: Jennifer feels particularly out of touch in Japan.
  • Grumpy Old Woman: Emma seems like this at first, but it quickly becomes obvious that the reason she acts so sullen is because she knows something isn't right with the house.

Yoko and Alex Jones

Employees at a careworkers office. Alex runs the business, whilst Yoko is meant to be caring for Emma. Unfortunately, she becomes a victim of the curse and suffers a painful death. Alex later meets his end at the hands of Yoko's ghost.

Characters in The Grudge 2

Aubrey Davies

Karen's younger sister and mistreated by her controlling mother. She goes to Japan to bring Karen home, but soon gets involved in the curse of the Saeki household.


An Intrepid Reporter who rescued Karen from the house fire but is also cursed as a result.

Mrs. Davies

Karen and Aubrey's abusive, terminally ill mother.

Allison Fleming, Vanessa and Miyuki

A trio of students in Japan who visit the Saeki house. Vanessa and Miyuki trap Allison in the closet until Kayako/Aubrey appears and they soon become victims of the curse.

Jake Kimble

A young boy who's family becomes victims of the curse. He survives his first encounter with Kayako in "The Grudge 2" and is hospitalized in "The Grudge 3" where he gets killed when Kayako breaks every bone in his body.