More and more victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake are reporting that they are suffering from visions of ghosts and other supernatural sensations.
The disaster brought many people face-to-face with death and many believe the apparitions may be a manifestation of their emotional wounds.
As Japan has no governmental office that deals with this kind of issue and many people feel uncomfortable consulting family members, leaders from several different religious organizations in Japan have come together to provide emotional and mental support for the victims.
An elderly couple living in temporary housing in Sendai, the largest city in Tohoku to be impacted by the disaster, went to visit to a local Jōdo Buddhist temple earlier this month. After exchanging greetings with head priest Mizuki Nakamura, the couple confessed they were troubled by something they felt was supernatural and they didn’t know who to turn to for help.
“There’s someone at the temporary housing grounds. We think that something may have happened there,” said the husband.
Mr. Nakamura offered to hold a mass for the dead at the grounds and after completing the ritual the couple thanked him with an expression of relief.
Many victims report seeing more vivid images, such as eyeballs appearing in puddles of water or people walking on the surface of the ocean.
Others say that they’ve been visited by the ghosts of missing family members, begging to find their bodies and give them a proper burial.
However, like the elderly couple in Sendai, many of these people don’t know how to cope with such problems.
The Sendai branch of the United Christ Church (UCC) in Japan currently provides emotional support services regardless of religious affiliation. “The government can’t do anything about it and it’s difficult to discuss the issue with family or other people in the neighborhood,” says Reverend Naoya Kawakami.
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