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One year on, 'ghosts' stalk tsunami-hit Ishinomaki

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Interesting story, and Mr. Funabiki's reasoning seems to be convincing.

But why do ghosts always have to be malevolent and get a bad rap?

Couldn't it be possible that some ghosts are trying to the right thing?

If that were the case we might hear stories such as:

"I saw some ghosts yesterday in the devastated area downtown... they were helping with the reconstruction efforts"

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I drove a truck load of food and stuff to Ishinomaki on March 20th. The evacuation center was full of crying, grieving people. The tsunami was a brutal emotional shock for everyone there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@choiwaruoyaji, I do believe in "ghosts" (I prefer "spirits") and agree that they do get a bad rap. I have "seen" only two, but in both occasions, they were not threatening, and actually gave off warm vibes when I was in their presence. I have yet to find an upset or threatening spirit as many have claimed to come across. I fully believe they are just trying to come to terms of their death and get things in order before moving on.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan has a great tradition of kwaidan in all aspects of it's culture, so this doesn't seem so surprising to me.

In fact, my wife's family home in rural Saitama is one of the few places I have been to that feels distinctly 'ghosty', for want of a better term. Several members of the family have confirmed this. The family have lived on the same site for around 400 years and there have been several times in the house when I have had the distinct feeling I am not alone. I also knew a super intelligent scientist who worked at Riken in Wakoshi. He, very calmly and soberly told me one day that he had a 'special ability' - which was that he is able to clearly see dead people all the time. In fact, he told me, they were everywhere and very easy for him to identify. He said they move around in the world in much the same way as the living do - wandering around on streets, moving in and out of buildings, hanging out in parks. It was the only time I saw him deadly serious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I can understand people's thoughts turning to the spirit world. Hard times. It must be awful to now walk those streets and remember what and who was there in the past and is no more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think the people working hard to repair the store were more likely affected by radiation and/or stress, not "spirits".

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sounds like an episode of Scooby Doo. Who's buying this land anyway?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The tragedy was a Pandoras box of grief and devestation, however hope rmains

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Every ghost I have ever met or seen has been very nice and friendly. They get such a bad rap and its not really fair.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

My wife is also sensitive to spirits. She has had many experiences in her life where she has 'seen' ghosts. We once stayed at a hotel in the mountains, and while we were having dinner she directed me to look in the lower corner of a large mirror behind her. I glanced at the mirror and saw the face of an old woman smiling. She told me the old woman had worked there for many years. I asked her how she knew, and she said she just knew. Since then, she has pointed out ghosts to me on several occasions. I always thought ghost stories were bunk until then. So, I would be very surprised if there WEREN'T plenty of ghosts around Ishinomaki considering the catastrophe.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

who you gonna call?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are no ghosts, but you can't blame the poor folk of Ishinomaki for going mad.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ghosts and spirits are not real (fact)... Your mind is real (and powerful) and it can play all sorts of tricks on you, if you choose to believe in spirituality because it brings you comfort.

Before you think I am insensitive, know that I have volunteered in Ishinomaki on a few occasions in addition to independently raising money for the NPO's in the town.

Life is already very tough for people in Tohoku looking to try and rebuild. I do hope that the work is not slowed because some people choose to believe in spirituality... It is not fair on critical thinkers who just want to rebuild.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Poor people. The emotional trauma coupled with the deep superstition of many Japanese come together to give ruise to these ghost myths. Like religion, if it gives people an emotional outlet fine. Interested to see several posters who say thay have had encounters with supernatural beings....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How come no-one has yet attributed the "sickness" to radiation? Perhaps ghosts are a more plausible cause.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TEPCO absolutely loves this. I can see some lawyer using this as TEPCO's defense in the future.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Person dies. Comes back as ghost. Kills more people. Where is the logic?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Herve Nmn L'EisaFEB. 29, 2012 - 09:55AM JST My wife is also sensitive to spirits. She has had many experiences in her life where she has 'seen' ghosts. We once stayed at a hotel in the mountains, and while we were having dinner she directed me to look in the lower corner of a large mirror behind her. I glanced at the mirror and saw the face of an old woman smiling. She told me the old woman had worked there for many years. I asked her how she knew, and she said she just knew. Since then, she has pointed out ghosts to me on several occasions. I always thought ghost stories were bunk until then. So, I would be very surprised if there WEREN'T plenty of ghosts around Ishinomaki considering the catastrophe.

Were any of the ghosts that you and your wife saw wearing super hero costumes or Brazilian bikinis? That would've been cool to see, wouldn't it?

Not surprising that the ghosts are up and about in that area. All that land and practically no neighbors within 20km so there's less chance of the ghosts being hassled by non-ghosts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think many Japanese actually believe in ghosts. Several times, the owners of the houses I have borrowed or used, asked me not to die there. I always promised to try and make it at least to the car park!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Life is already very tough for people in Tohoku looking to try and rebuild. I do hope that the work is not slowed because some people choose to believe in spirituality... It is not fair on critical thinkers who just want to rebuild

Agree. But equally I hope people dont debunk and laugh at those choosing to believe in spirituality if it is making them feel better.

Personally I believe in spirits because I have seen them many times, and I find the experience really positive but each to his own. Would never tell anyone else what they should or shouldnt believe.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Ghosts and spirits are not real (fact)...

And you base this statement on what? I have experienced the paranormal first-hand, and it is absolutely real!! When you learn a bit about the properties and interactions of photons and electrons, it is not surprising to find that contact with spirits is possible. (Energy cannot be destroyed). So while I do not think there is any credibility in the some of the stories about ghosts circulating around the devastated area, I do believe it is possible for some to have seen spirits.

Don't base your ''fact'' on your own uninformed belief.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

rmistric, no, I'm sad to say none of the ghosts were wearing superhero costumes or Brazilian bikinis. But, good on you for the comment! About AKB, I was being quite sarcastic, but on this topic quite serious. I'm an atheist, so I don't buy religious mumbo-jumbo, but after seeing a few ghosts myself, I must say there are many things we humans don't know.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@bookowls: And you base this statement on what?

Evidence. i.e the lack of any.

Yes I understand people claim this that and the other. But like I said, the mind is very powerful and it can play tricks on even the smartest people. But please, lets not try to portray mind games and illusions with facts and reality.

Show me a single piece of scientifically verified evidence to support ghosts or other spirits/spirituality and I will listen. Until then (i.e forever) ghosts will remain true only in the minds of those who prefer comfort and fiction over reality. Nothing wrong with that either, lets just not confuse facts and fiction.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nicky WashidaFEB. 29, 2012 - 12:16PM JST Life is already very tough for people in Tohoku looking to try and rebuild. I do hope that the work is not slowed because some people choose to believe in spirituality... It is not fair on critical thinkers who just want to rebuild Agree. But equally I hope people dont debunk and laugh at those choosing to believe in spirituality if it is making them feel better. Personally I believe in spirits because I have seen them many times, and I find the experience really positive but each to his own. Would never tell anyone else what they should or shouldnt believe.

Agree 100%. Trying to tell others "what they should or shouldn't believe" is just wrong. It reminds me of when Japanese people complain that foreigners cannot really understand Japan because they are not Japanese, or when foreigners whine and complain about the way certain things are done here because those things are done differently back in their home countries.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Apologies to the skeptics Herr but I totally believe in ghosts. I myself have had many experiences since I can remember. You are all entitled to your own opinion and I respect that. I would like to add that I have a clean bill mentally health wise. Naturally, thousands of people dying in one area is going to create an atmosphere, real or imagined. Either way, my heart goes out to anyone who was directly affected in that area and those trying to help them overcome the myriad of emotions being experienced!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Science, remember, is the observation of phenomena. Scientists observe cause and effect, but they have no real explanation for WHY things work. One observation about proof.......it cannot be scientifically proved that everyone will die. Think of why not.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

almxx, the same old excuse from ignorant people. I fully understand It is impossible to disprove anything, but it is possible to prove facts based on evidence and/or tests. Until something is proven scientifically, being skeptical and/or a non believer is an intelligent position to take. And remember, overtime science has been and will continue to shatter many mystical and spiritual beliefs. We have not answered them all yet, but in time we will. BTW, it is highly probable that everyone will die, to believe otherwise is foolish.

Believing in something is fine. If it makes you feel comfort or it helps to validate some other feelings you have, then good for you. However, feeling comfort or certain about something does not in anyway mean it is true. Sure it may feel real to you, but in the world of science nothing is real until it is proven. Until then it is just a myth and nothing else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tokyokawasaki I'm going to weigh in here because up until recently I pretty much took your line on this argument. If you can't prove it, it's not real. And I had never had any experiences that made me think otherwise.

But I simply can't ignore a couple of experiences that I have had since that are certainly not stonewall claims I have seen ghosts, because they aren't, but they are what I can only describe as a sort of 6th sense suspicion that I'm not the only person or entity in a room that I thought was empty (this is in my wife's family home in Saitama). I experienced this several times but didn't say anything to the family because; a) I was a non-believer and b) I didn't want to upset anyone. As fate would have it, the subject came up anyway, whereby my wife's Mum spoke of several experiences where she has seen her husband's dead parents in the house (she nursed both of them to their death bed) and both my wife's brothers in law said they had felt the presense of 'something else' in the house. Now, what you more accurately should say in regards to this topic is that 'it isn't real for me' or 'I have never had any experiences of that nature so I don't believe' because your experiences aren't necessarily those of others, and just because they aren't doesn't give you any kind of intellectual or moral high ground in the argument. You don't have the right to say 'I hear your story and you are either lying or dellusional' because, simply put, you are commenting on an experience that happened when you weren't there......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Tamarama - I am exactly where you are. Used to be a skeptic, demand proof, a total non-believer without scientific evidence to the contrary.

But too many things have happened to me now, like the spirit I saw that couldnt possibly have been a trick of the light or my imagination (we eventually correctly identified the person I saw by the dress she was wearing - the same dress she wore in an old family photograph I had never seen). She was in Starbucks with us so hardly "setting a spooky scene"!

Or my 2 year old just last week - carrying on a merry conversation with someone I could sense but not see in the corner of the room. He was waving, smiling, speaking English to them (so I am guessing it wasnt a Japanese spirit?!) and pointing me out to them (I was lying next to him). This was all the more poignant because it was the morning after I had come out of hospital and I had been certain "someone" was with me while I was in there getting treatment but had put it down to my imagination or wishful thinking - until my son (who has never done anything like it before) had a good chitchat with whoever it was.

Sorry TokyoKawasaki - normally I agree with whatever you say! I dont think I am ignorant but to deny what I have seen would not really be taking an intelligent position from my point of view, no?! ;)

But again - this is just my experience - would never suggest anyone else should believe just cos I do, or insult their intelligence if they dont.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Unlike Sam though, I have to admit I have never officially been given a mental clean bill of health..... :) !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

After the Kobe earthquake I met a 'seer' and I was told that she had seen many spirits asking for help.

Until we more about the human consciousness I am not ready to discount anything-as we all know,even if we can't see it with our eyes does not mean it is not there....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Nicky I appreciate your comments. I agree that you can't tell others to believe - I'm not really interested in doing that anyway, it's just that you also can't tell others that what they have seen or experienced isn't valid. A misunderstanding. An incorrect interpretation. I mean, by nature I'm kind of reluctant to throw myself in the 'believers' camp - but I can't put myself in the non-believers camp anymore either because I simply can't ignore what I, and others close to me have experienced.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Guys and gals...we can't prove others entirely wrong and we can't prove ourselves entirely right. If you don't believe, okay. That's your choice. Let the believers remain believers. If someone gets comfort from the belief that the spirit of a loved one is nearby, don't try to call them a fool and take that away from them.

Hopefully someday everyone can find some peace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tokyokawasaki I hear what your saying. And it sounds logical and correct. But all I can say is being the ultimate skeptic about most of this kind of thing, I've seen some weird stuff. Example, and no BS: While I was at University my parents moved to an apartment - an older place in the historic section of town. I knew absolutely nothing about the place. I come home for the first time at winter break, grab a drink and sit down on the sofa. Out of the corner of my eye I see what immediately processed as a woman in a old style nurses uniform (red cross on the front) float up through the door to the kitchen and vanish before reaching the stairwell. Turns out the place was an old US Civil War era hospital. If there are no such things as ghosts, how did the 'power of suggestion' make my mind see a CW era nurse when I knew absolutely nothing of the history.

I know a ton of friends who live on or near the battlefield at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, scene of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Even the most rational and sane have seen things. Suggestion? Maybe. But so much death concentrated in one place seems to leave a footprint. I can believe in that before I'd believe in something like an 8 foot tall Sasquatch that no one has ever successfully photographed or found the carcass of. In the realm of the unknown and the slightly insane, ghosts seem a better prospect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad to hear other serious skeptics have also had undeniable experiences. I wouldn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. If you don't believe, that's fine, but I can't deny what I've seen.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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