The tsunami disaster in 2011 left large parts of Japan in ruins. And some of the people never being found, are still trying to reach home it seems.

It was a totally normal day. It was supposed to be a totally normal day in 2011. It was mid day, so everyone was at work. Children sat in class at school. It was supposed to be a normal day. But then, the tsunami hit. Several tsunamis, up to about 10 metres rushed in over the coast of Japan after a massive earthquake. After the waves hit, the entire city of Ishinomaki by the coast of Japan would never be the same again. After six minutes the entire city was under water and taking six thousand of the population. Half of those have not even been found.

Bilderesultat for ishinomaki
The destruction was massive on that fatefull day. / Ishinomaki, Miyagi Japan/wikimedia

One of the big tragedies, was the primary school. 70 of the 180 students, sitting in the classrooms would never finish school. The teachers by the school spent too long making a decision if they should evacuate or not. And when they first tried to run away they chose a route that would lead them right were the tsunami hit and the teachers and students disappeared in the chaos as they tried to cross a bridge on their way to safety.

Later it was exactly the teachers that were blamed for the death of the towns children. A year later one of the teachers committed suicide, burdened by guilt and responsible of the children they weren’t able to rescue. Only the ruins of the school was left when the water retreated, and the ghosts of children was left in the form of the extra shoes, the homework that would never be done and the toys that would never be played with, ever again.


Ghost Passengers

Over the decade since the tsunami hit, the echo of the humans that got their life broken by the power of nature. Several reports tells that it’s been seen people that wanders headless, without arms and without legs. They wander the streets, on the hunt after the city they knew when they were alive. They stand in line outside of shops that were taken by the wave and walks the streets that are no longer there.


Perhaps it’s not so weird then, that so many of these stories are told by taxi drivers. A university student wanted to look closer at this phenomenon a few years back. Yuka Kudo did her investigation as part of a school assignment. She tried to interview drivers about strange encounters. Most of them told her no and ignored her. But those who were willing to talk, told of ghost passengers, looking for their home. But no one reached their destination, because they as well as their former homes was long gone.

The stories are very similar. All the taxi drivers are sure they pick up completely normal passengers. They let the meter running and drives were they are told to. But when they arrive, there are never any passengers in the back seat. Another thing is that the passengers, all seems so young, so full of life.

“Young people feel strongly chagrined (at their deaths) when they cannot meet people they love,” she says. “As they want to convey their bitterness, they may have chosen taxis, which are like private rooms, as a medium to do so,” she says about the ghosts the taxi drivers encounters on a regular basis.

The destroyed district

One of the men told that a young woman sat in the taxi near Ishinomaki station, only a couple of months after the disaster. She told hum to go to Minamihama, a district in the town. The driver reacted to it. He wondered why she wanted to go there. Because it was one of the districts there was nothing left of. It was a silence from the backseat a while before the young woman said: “Have I died?” The driver turned, but there was no one there.

It is convenient maybe, so many ghosts trapped in one place. Perhaps its more for the people left. An echo of all those people disappear, those they could not rescue, and those they would never see again. Seeing the ghosts, at least means they are not completely gone.


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