So far so good, as no one has mysteriously died since the renovation finished.

Taira no Masakado did not, by any means, have a peaceful life. The 10th-century samurai went to war with his uncle over a woman and/or land they both coveted, and eventually advanced from fighting family members to fighting the emperor, leading a rebellion and seizing control of Hitachi, Shimotsuke, and Kozuke Provinces (roughly corresponding to Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma prefectures today).

In the end, the rebellion was put down and Masakado beheaded, but he wasn’t about to let something as mundane as a little decapitation cool his blazing fury. More than a thousand years after his death in 940, Masakado remains Japan’s angriest spirit, with his most famous posthumous display of wrath being the 14 people who died in a span of five years inside the government building built on the same plot of land as Masakado’s grave in Tokyo’s Otemachi neighborhood in the 1920s (actually, the grave is just for his head, to make things extra creepy).

So last fall, when it came time to start renovations on the gravesite of Masakado’s head, a lot of people were holding their breath. Chests got tighter still when, just a few days after construction started, an earthquake occurred in Ibaraki, where Masakado’s torso is buried. But the renovation work is done, and Masakado now has a brand-new head grave.

Japanese Twitter user Kikuchiyo (@kikuchiyo_0518), who’s been tracking the renovation’s progression, stopped by the new gravesite during Japan’s Golden Week spring vacation period, and found it to have a surprisingly welcoming atmosphere. “There’s more sunlight and the drainage system is improved,” he reports, so Masakado should be comfortable on both clear and rainy days.

The gravesite, just one block away from the moat of the Imperial Palace, sits on some of the most expensive real estate in the world. It’s surrounded by office high-rises, but Kikuchiyo says the monument is situated such that no one can look down directly on Masakado’s head’s resting place.

“It doesn’t have the same mysterious atmosphere that the old grave did” muses Kikuchiyo, but maybe that’s because people haven’t started leaving figures of frogs (like the ones raised by Masakado’s supposed sorceress daughter) there yet.

With no natural mysterious deaths or natural disasters having occurred in the neighborhood lately, it seems that Masakado’s spirit is pleased with his head’s new digs. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more local architecture that exists thanks to samurai violence, don’t forget to swing by the still-in-operation Tokyo sweets cafe that only exists because a swordsman wanted to kill a dude and take vengeance for his little brother.

Source, images: Twitter/@kikuchiyo_0518
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