Kayako Saeki (née Kawamata) is an Onryō and the central antagonist of the Japanese horror film Ju-On and its American counterpart, The Grudge. Her age at the time of her death is debatable, and she has been reported as being both 28 and 30 at the time of her murder.
She was the daughter of Nakagawa Kawamata and the sister of Naoko Kawamata. She was married to Takeo Saeki and had a child, Toshio Saeki, but had fallen madly in love with a teacher (Japanese teacher Shunsuke Kobayashi or American professor Peter Kirk, depending on the telling). Her pet cat was named Kuro. Unfortunately, it was her obsession with Professor that caused her disgraced husband to strangle her to death, drown both Toshio and Kuro, and finally hang himself, transforming the entire family into vengeful ghosts.
- Onryō, or vengeful spirit, the specific type of ghost that Samara is.
Several very similar Onryō characters exist in media, such as:
- Alma Wade, a similar character in the F.E.A.R series
- Sadako Yamamura, the template for Samara
- Samara Morgan, from The Ring franchise
- S-Ko, one of the primary ghosts possessing Zappa in the Guilty Gear fighting game series
- Tabitha, a parody of Samara from Scary Movie 3