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Taxi Drivers In Japan’s Tsunami Disaster Zone Report ‘Ghost Passengers’

In the coastal town of Ishinomaki, Japan, nearly 6,000 people died in 2011 when the city was smashed by tsunami that was more than 30 feet high.  Since then the people of the city have worked hard to clear debris and, for the most part, normalcy has returned.  Well, almost – several taxi drivers have reported that ghosts have been hitching rides in their cabs.

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According to The Asahi ShimbunYuka Kudo, a student of sociology at Tohoku Gakuin University, interviewed well over 100 taxi drivers about possible sightings as part of her graduation thesis. Some became angry at her line of questioning and some simply ignored her, but seven cabbies admitted they had experiences with ghostly riders.

One of the stories Kudo was able to gather was this:

According to the driver, a man who looked to be in his 20s got in his taxi. When the driver looked into the rear-view mirror, his passenger was pointing toward the front.  The driver repeatedly asked the man for his destination. Then, the passenger replied, “Hiyoriyama” (mountain). When the taxi arrived there, however, the man had disappeared.

Another taxi driver reported that a woman got into his cab near Ishinomaki Station and told him, “Please go to the Minamihama (district).” The driver told her that the area had been devastated by the tsunami and asked her to confirm that was in fact where she wanted to go.  He said the woman responded in a shivering voice, “Have I died?”

Yuka found in each of the cases that the cabbies had started their meters, believing they had a genuine fare.  Some had even taken notes.  Each of the drivers also reported the specters as being young and seemingly mournful.  Kudo explains, “Young people feel strongly chagrined (at their deaths) when they cannot meet people they love. As they want to convey their bitterness, they may have chosen taxis, which are like private rooms, as a medium to do so.”

The ghostly passenger reports aren’t the only ones coming out of the area; there have been reports of apparitions and disfigured specters walking amidst residential neighborhoods or structures that existed before the tsunami but were destroyed.