Guide Ghosts of Tokyo

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Between and , I was fascinated by the Yamanote train line running only a few hundred metres from my home in Tokyo at the time. Most people only ever visit these vibrant, pulsing focal points, but few ever venture into the in-between—that quiet, leafy village, which to me, constitutes the real Tokyo.


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In March , armed with my beloved film camera, I decided to walk around the line, staying within visual distance of the tracks whenever possible. Almost a year, and over kilometres of walking later, I had a few hundred photos, and no idea what to do with them. Some time afterwards, while over coffee in Ebisu, I pulled out my pile of photos in front of Steph.

I had with me a blank book and some removable Scotch tape. The audience has come to Amuse Museum to hear Ghostly spirits and summer go hand in hand in Japan, and there are few things more frightening than the annual August exhibition of hanging scrolls at Zenshoan Temple in Tokyo's Yanaka district.

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This year, however, the scrolls will be displayed together at a different location While many overseas scholars are attracted to the retrained aesthetics of Japanese arts and letters, it was the country's wild and wooly folklore that captivated Zack Davisson, an American writer and translator. While pursuing his masters degree in Japanese studies Davisson immersed himself in Caught up in the rush of modernity, it is sometimes easy to forget just what a unique and unusual country Japan is.

If you are brave enough to go on the hunt for a yurei , you could try a number of places. Himeji Castle is haunted by the famous Okiku, the ghost of an unlucky servant maid. Aokigahara , dubbed the Suicide Forest, is an infamous place where many people have ended their lives.

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The dark, dense forest at the foot of Mount Fuji is said to be haunted by numerous vengeful spirits. Several other places across Japan offer good hunting grounds for those of you hoping for a ghostly encounter. However, you better be sure to know your ghosts before you go. Onryo: Angry spirits who want to right a wrong done to them during their lifetime.

Most are female ghosts who were abused or neglected by their partners.

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Ubume: If a woman died in childbirth or died leaving a young child behind, she might come back as an ubume. The strong love these women feel for their children will bring them back to our world to help in times of need. Ubume often bring gifts or sweets for comfort. Goryo: Vengeful and very powerful ghosts. Martyred in life, they return for revenge.

One of the mightiest yurei to exist, they are strong enough to destroy entire crops and bring earthquakes and typhoons upon their enemies. Funayurei: Sailors have a dangerous profession. They can be swallowed by the stormy waves of the sea on any given day. The ghosts of deceased sailors will approach ships at sea and ask for a ladle. If provided with one, they will use it to scoop water into the ship until it sinks. Zashiki-Warashi: Another interesting kind of yurei is the zashiki-warashi.


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These mischievous child-ghosts usually dwell in family homes and play harmless pranks on the residents. Although nasty little creatures, having one in your home is said to bring good fortune.

Tokyo Ghosts short story: All Coming Together

Woodblock print portraying the ghost of Oiwa. For those of you less eager to lose your lives at the hands of a vengeful spirit, a story might be enough to keep you chilled on a hot summer night. The number of Japanese ghost stories is endless, and sure to include something for everyone's taste--from mothers coming back for their children and dead lovers seeking vengeance from the grave or young maids trying to finish their last uncompleted task.

Once, there was a poor samurai who lived in Edo.

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He had a beautiful wife with long black hair who adored him, despite having to live in poverty. One day, he was summoned by the lord of a distant land to work in his service. The samurai eagerly accepted the lord's generous offer. However, when it was time to move, he abandoned his wife, choosing another woman instead of her.

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A woman younger and more beautiful than she was. When he was released from his duties with the lord, the samurai returned to Edo. Longing for his old wife, he went to the house he once called home. A full moon hung over his head, shedding its light on his old dwelling. The gate was open, and so the samurai stepped inside. He shyly called his wife's name but received no answer. The entrance was dark and silent save for the soft light of the moon shining through the window.

When he reached the bedroom, he found his wife sitting silently on the bed, her face covered by her long black hair. Not a flicker of anger or resentment crossed her face. Instead, she gave him a soft smile and said, "My dear husband, I've been waiting for you to come back to me.

Finally, we are together again.