FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages 
Japanese Ghost Beliefs and Legends

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Ghosts - general
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Teen Titans Forum TGNMemory
Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Total posts: 974
Location: Teen Titans Message Board TGNMemory
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 31-10-2011 06:44    Post subject: Japanese Ghost Beliefs and Legends Reply with quote

Here is a brief article about ghost beliefs in Japan, as well as current Japanese attitudes regarding Hallowe'en, and related matters.

(Yes, this is what I came up with for a Hallowe'en topic.)

Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Total posts: 29
Location: Berkeley,California
Age: 59
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 01-11-2011 02:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always wondered about Japanese ghosts and haunts. I also read the Top Tokyo haunts: five scary spots" link below this story as well. I visited the Sunshine 60 building one of the spots mentioned. The 786 ft tall building has a great view,but didn't see anything paranormal.

Well,unlike haunted spots here,at least it is not in some forsaken part of town. Great shopping,great food. Smile

Back to top
View user's profile 
Great Old One
Joined: 22 Dec 2004
Total posts: 275
Location: Japan
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 02-11-2011 17:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two different segments to "haunted" in Japan - one is kids looking for a thrill and chill with inevitably made up stories. And famous spot, old building, abandoned property, etc is game - think school ghosts, famous statue that follows you with its eyes, etc etc...
And then the more "real", which you will almost never see as attractions and which tends to be more serious spanning back quite some time.

My husband's family carries the rumor of being partially descended from a shape-shifted fox (top of the line skill in mythology), so their town traditionally had them swim a burning boat out into the water to make an offering to the dead. Why? Because as they aren't fully human, they're closer to the spirit world... And if they died at the task, apparently they would shift back into fox form so the death of a human villager would be on no one's head.
I swam out with my husband the last time they did the ritual before the government stepped in because it was too dangerous... About a km out in the open sea, pushing a burning reed boat, wearing a gauze kimono. All very ritualistic...

But this isn't considered "supernatural" - it is all very much treated as a mix of superstition and just how things are. The types of things your see as attractions are generally fairly recent and designed to appeal to teens.

People who go to the spots that are supposedly most haunted or supernatural tend to do so with respect and reverence because that sort of thing is religious. A field with supernatural happenings or that was the site of horrific murders has a better chance of turning into a shrine (enshrining the supernatural rather than trying to erase it) than being a spot to go to be spooked.

Halloween in Japan is really not linked to the supernatural or anything like that at all. It is pretty much completely a day to dress up for the small percentage of people who celebrate it. It is nowhere near widely enough spread for there to be anything other than specific events in set locations. The appeal is more to English learners (or parents who want their children to learn English) so the events are almost always sponsored by English schools as a "do something that is a uniquely English speaking holiday event!"

For general handling of the supernatural in Japan, I think something that makes it easier to understand is the knowledge that religion in Japan is founded almost entirely on the supernatural. Instead of worshipping any specific large scale god, Japan enshrines and worships supernatural phenomena. "Something" unknown, something that feels out of the ordinary... That is the foundation for religion, and it colors perception.
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Android Futureman
Joined: 07 Aug 2002
Total posts: 4014
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 02-11-2011 18:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the insight!
Back to top
View user's profile 
Joined: 12 Oct 2011
Total posts: 5
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 15-11-2011 14:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japan is such an interesting country. The culture fascinates me and it's also fascinating how they deal with ghosts and other supernatural happenings! spirits and ghosts seem to be more normal than in the west and have their fix part in the society.
Halloween might be just a trend there, but they celebrate it with a lot of style *haha* I love Halloween decoration.
Back to top
View user's profile 
Piffle Prospector
Joined: 02 Aug 2001
Total posts: 5752
Location: Manchester, UK
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 30-10-2013 01:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Shirime.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin.

"In this tale, a samurai warrior is walking around Kyoto late one night when he is accosted by some naked pervert, seemingly the dumbest rapist in all of Japan.

"Before the samurai can draw steel and carve this guy up, however, the perv bends over and . . . reveals he has a huge eyeball peering out of his ass."

Graphic illustrations and much more at's 7 Most Ridiculous Ghost Stories

Malaysia has lady-ghosts called Hanu Tetek whose afterlife task is to smother young men with their breasts. The illustration of this one is a little misleading, as they turn out to be hags not babes. It tends to go with the being dead bit.

The others are:
Raw Head & Bloody Bones from the Ozarks.
The Toyol - a Malaysian Kleptomaniac Foetus-Ghost.
The Headless Celibacy-Enforcing Mule of Brazil. Well I wouldn't.
(It's the fire spurting from the neck that puts me off. That and it having no head. And being a mule, of course.)
The Hairy Toe. You find one; you want to stew it. It resists. Depression Era tale.
The Spectre of the First Frozen Chicken. Stuffed with snow by Francis Bacon and still trotting around in 1970. Ah, the Bohemian thrills of our great painters!

Maybe it's a bit unfair to file all this under Japanese Ghosts. But if anyone is stuck for ideas on Halloween, I hope they go as a Shirime and send us the photos.
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Freelance Subversive
Joined: 19 Nov 2012
Total posts: 2008
Location: Attice of blinkey lights
Age: 45
Gender: Female
PostPosted: 30-10-2013 11:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent find!

I've been watching a series of Japanese Ghost Stories called Yamishibai and some of those... well all are damn creepy but quite a few make no sense whatsoever to someone unfamililar with the culture.

You can find the odd episode on youtube.
Back to top
View user's profile 
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Ghosts - general All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group