Monday, February 24, 2014

Japan’s Tsunami Ghosts

An article written this month recounts several stories about recent encounters the Japanese have had with ghosts that they feel were victims of the terrible 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. This disaster killed 20,000 people.

One Zen temple priest from the northern part of Japan, Reverend Kaneda states he has had to exorcise several people who have been invaded or possessed by the spirits of tsunami victims. He also shares several ghost stories that he has been told.

Skeptics point to the fact that many Japanese still practice the unspoken religion of traditional “cult” ancestor worship. They still keep memorial tablets for the dead--the ihai, which they consider to be alive in some way. So these skeptics feel these recent stories are a result of these antiquated beliefs.

Regardless whether they are believed or not they are very disturbing and scary.

Here are a few stories Reverend Kandea shared with one writer, Neal Colgrass, Bizarre Tsunami Ghost Stories Haunt Japan, published on

A fire station located in Tagajo kept receiving calls to places that were demolished by the tsunami. These only stopped when these firefighters prayed for the spirits of the people who had died.

A Sendai cab driver picked up a sad-looking lady. She requested to be taken to an address that was swept away in the floods the tsunami caused. When the cab driver looked in his rear view mirror his passenger was gone. But out of respect he drove to the area near this address and opened the door for the ghost.

Another man, a builder by trade in comparison showed little respect as he stood eating an ice-cream cone near one tsunami site with his wife and mother. His wife described his terrifying behavior after this. He jumped around on all fours and licked the furniture. He bellowed loudly and kept repeating, “everyone will die.” 

The Reverend Kaneda performed an exorcism to get rid of this resentful spirit. This saved this builder's marriage because his wife was threatening to divorce him. This man stated he had no memory of his behavior while possessed. **

The Reverend also exorcised one woman who was possessed by 25 separate spirits that had entered one after another. One of these spirits stated he was a father trying to find his daughter after the quake struck. He stated that he and other bodies were all trapped at the bottom of the sea.

As stated above many skeptics discount these stories. In contrast, one has to wonder why people would question the possibility of hauntings after such a devastating disaster.

Before and after satellite photo.

One book publisher, Richard Lloyd Parry--who is a skeptic; arranged for several gatherings at Japanese community centers where readings of ghosts stories were shared. People were encouraged to share their own stories as a form of therapy or healing.

** In an essay Parry wrote for the London Review of Books he shares how Reverend Kaneda performed his exorcism on the builder who was named Ono.

Kaneda beat the temple drum as he chanted the Heart Sutra:
“There are no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue,
 no body, mind; no colour, sound, or smell;
 no taste, no touch, no thing; no realm of sight,
 no realm of thoughts; no ignorance, no end 
to ignorance; no old age and no death; 
no end to age and death; no suffering, 
nor any cause of suffering, nor end 
to suffering, no path, no wisdom and no fulfillment.”
Ono’s wife told him that he pressed his hands together in prayer as the priest’s recitation continued, she saw him raise his arms high above his head as if being pulled from above. The reverend then splashed him with holy water. Ono suddenly returned to his senses and found his hair and shirt covered in water. He stated he was filled with a sensation of tranquility and release.

No comments: