spirits

Our Japanese language reporter P.K. offers a spooky tale, advice to protect yourself from spirits

It’s best to be ready for the Halloween season!

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Clipping your nails at night may cause death, according to a Japanese superstition

When in Japan, if you open an umbrella indoors, no one will bat an eye, but if you start whistling at night or kill a spider during the morning hours, you’ll probably be stopped in your tracks and lectured about some Japanese superstitions.

One of the most common, yet seemingly nonsensical, Japanese superstitions suggests that you should not clip your nails at night (yonaka ni tsume wo kitte ha ikenai). Why? Because if you do, you won’t be with your parents when they die (oya no shinime ni aenai). Uh… okay.

Don’t worry, we have some logical and not-so-logical reasonings behind this age-old superstition after the jump.

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One man’s mission to record the stories of Tohoku survivors “revisited” by lost loved ones

What happens after we die? Is it possible to communicate with loved ones after they are gone? And if not, how can we explain the stories of those who claim to have done so? These questions are pertinent to the work of journalist Shuji Okuno, who researches the yūrei banashi, or ghost stories, of relatives bereaved by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Over 18,000 people were killed in the disaster in March 2011, most by drowning; including 2,601 bodies that were never recovered. Okuno has been researching and recording the stories of Tohoku people bereaved by the disaster who say they were visited by the spirits of their deceased family members, often at the exact moment of their passing.

But reporting on ghost sightings in a disaster zone is controversial work. In an interview with Tohoku-area newspaper Kahoku Shimpo this week, Okuno spoke about the stories he has uncovered and the criticism he continues to face.

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