An interesting story has been spreading around online concerning the unbelievable and the unexplained — nothing new, but still a fun diversion. This time it’s coming from Japan and it concerns taxi drivers in the northeastern parts of the country encountering the ghosts of the 2011 tsunami. The stories cite an article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and concern the sociology thesis for Yuka Kudo, a student at Tohoku Gakuin University. Kudo has reportedly interviewed around 100 drivers about their experiences and, as the Telegraph reports, the encounters carry all of the hallmarks we’re used to hearing:
One of the men told Ms. Kudo that a woman climbed into his taxi near Ishinomaki Station just a few months after the disaster. She asked him to go to the Minamihama district, to which the driver said there was nothing left standing there.
The driver recounted that the woman asked, “Have I died?” and, when he turned to look, his taxi was empty.
As with any story involving ghosts or wild stories — particularly in countries that require translation — skepticism should be heavy. For all we truly know, the study could be based on the experiences of these taxi drivers and the figurative ghosts of the tsunami, their own experiences and memories or even the mind playing with them. If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, it isn’t strange to relive it in some manner.
Then again, if it is ghosts, there’s an interesting aspect of the story to grab onto. Ghost stories for most are terrifying, spooky, or something from a horror movie. But the cab drivers being interviewed seem to look at it from an interesting standpoint, giving it a far deeper meaning.
“Young people feel strong chagrin [at their deaths] when they cannot meet the people they love,” Ms Kudo said. “As they want to convey their bitterness, they may have chosen taxis … as a medium to do so.”
None of the drivers experienced fear of their ghost passengers, but instead regarded their encounters as events to be cherished.
This isn’t the first time that the 2011 tsunami has been connected to meetings with the spirit world. The northeastern shore of Japan lost 20,000 people in the tsunami and it’s not something people are willing to forget. It could be ghosts or it could be the mind playing tricks. Either way, it seems to be real to someone.