(From Asahi Shimbun)
By Hideaki Ishibashi
In early summer 2011, a taxi driver working in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which had been devastated by the tsunami a few months earlier, had a mysterious encounter.
A woman who was wearing a coat climbed in his cab near Ishinomaki Station. The woman directed him, “Please go to the Minamihama (district).” The driver, in his 50s, asked her, “The area is almost empty. Is it OK?” Then, the woman said in a shivering voice, “Have I died?”
Surprised at the question, the driver looked back at the rear seat. No one was there.
A Tohoku Gakuin University senior majoring in sociology included the encounter in her graduation thesis, in which seven taxi drivers reported carrying “ghost passengers” following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Yuka Kudo, 22, went to Ishinomaki every week in her junior year to interview taxi drivers waiting for fares. She asked them, “Did you have any unusual experiences after the disaster?”
She asked the question to more than 100 drivers, and many ignored her. Some became angry. However, seven drivers recounted their mysterious experiences to her.
Another taxi driver who was in his 40s told of an unexplainable occurrence.
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. Read more