Category Archives: SOCIETY

7 Terrifying Japanese Urban Legends That Are Based on True Stories

Source: Gaijin Pot
Red Room Curse Japanese Urban Legend

A haunted village in Kyushu, a doll possessed by a girl’s spirit in Hokkaido—these may sound like Japanese Horror movies, but they’re real-life stories based on actual events. Not only that, you can go and visit the origin of many of these creepy stories for yourself, if you dare.

While Japan’s yurei and yokai (ghosts and mythological spirits) are based on old superstition, the following stories are more than real. All we have to say is, whatever you do, don’t open the portal to Tomino’s Hell—no matter how tempting it may be. Some stories are better left on paper, without a second chapter.

Here are seven Japanese urban legends that are totally based on reality to tell in the dark this Halloween.

The lawless Inunaki Village

If you stumble upon the entrance to Inunaki Village, you will be greeted by signs to stay away, warning “the constitution and laws of Japan do not apply here.”

Sitting in the countryside of Kyushu’s Fukuoka Prefecture, this abandoned village is only accessible through a tunnel in which hundreds of workers were killed when it collapsed during its construction.

Photo: Wiki
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

The village was slowly abandoned for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Some say it was because of a widespread plague that wiped out the population. Others say it was just due to its remoteness, but the wildest story is that one of the villagers went crazy and murdered everyone with an axe.

Whatever the case, no one has actually lived here since the end of World War II and electronic devices reportedly don’t work inside. Are those the sounds of barking dogs, or the screams of dead workers that you …continue reading


Japan is aging faster than we think

Elderly people work out with wooden dumbbells at the ground of Koganji temple to celebrate Japan's Respect for the Aged Day in Tokyo, Japan, 16 September 2019 (Photo: AFLO/Yoshio Tsunoda).

Author: Masataka Nakagawa, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research

Population projections from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs confirm that Japan will remain the world’s most aged country for at least the next few decades. The 2019 Revision of World Population Prospects, released in June 2019, predicts the proportion of people aged 65 years and older in Japan will increase from the current level of 28 per cent to 38 per cent by 2050.

During this period, Japan’s population will shrink by nearly 20 per cent. These demographic trends set the fundamental context for challenges and changes to Japanese society in the coming decades.

Japan’s population has been getting older over the past 100 years, but this process accelerated at the turn of the century when the large cohort of post-war baby boomers, born in the late 1940s to early 1950s, began joining the elderly population. Between 2000–10, the country’s population aged 65 and over increased by an unprecedented 7 million. This population is likely to increase by another 7 million by 2020.

According to the government’s official population projections conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (IPSS), the elderly population will continue to grow — though at a slower pace — until it peaks at around 2040, when the second baby-boomer generation (the children of the post-war baby boomers) passes the age of 65. At this time, a much smaller younger population will face the task of supporting this large number of elderly Japanese.

The conventional indicator of an aging population — the proportion of people aged 65 and over — may lead to its extent and impacts in Japan being underestimated. IPSS projections suggest that the country’s population aged 75 and over will increase by 20 …continue reading


5 Scary Japanese Foods and Why You Should Try Them

Source: Gaijin Pot
5 Scary Japanese Foods Shirako

I once thought natto (fermented soybeans) was Japan’s worst culinary bogeyman, but much nastier, nightmarish foods exist in the archipelago to tempt foreign fates. I’m from Australia, where the Japanese dining landscape is mostly dried seabeds of sushi and tempura bound by rivers of teriyaki sauce. The truly alien encounters await in Japan’s gastronomic world, from surreal sea creatures to pod-like akebi fruit.

There are 400 Japanese words just to describe food texture. Many are a charming onomatopoeia, like fuwa fuwa (fluffy) or mochi mochi (chewy). This, then, is my onomatopoeic eating journey.

Warning: These foods might confound your taste buds and mess with your psyche.

With that obligatory message out of the way, like a lightweight Anthony Bourdain, I’ll start with the mildly disconcerting and finish with the fully terrifying.

1. Beta beta yokan


I love pastries and buns. Too bad in Japan they’re often pumped with anko (also called an) most commonly, an azuki (red bean) and sugar paste. From manju (steamed bread) to mochi (rice flour cakes), Japan abounds in anko stealth bombs disguised as dessert.

Yokan are bouncy anko and kanten (algae jelly) blocks. It’s the specialty of Toraya, a wagashi (traditional sweets) empire founded in Kyoto circa the early 1500s and a purveyor to the Imperial Palace. You can buy yokan at Toraya department store outlets or cafés across Japan.

Japan abounds in anko stealth bombs disguised as dessert.

Yokan is rich, dense and (as the Japanese call it) beta beta (cloyingly sticky). As with peanut butter, anko fans like to debate the merits of smooth versus chunky, but for this Westerner, legumes as candy are weird because I think of chili con carne. It’s not unpleasant but won’t replace Pocky as my go-to snack.

2. Tsuru …continue reading


“Alleged Japanese stalker studied reflection from photos of pop star’s pupils to find out where she lived”

Text from The Japan Times, 10/12/19.

A man arrested on suspicion of stalking a female pop idol used the reflections of her pupils in photos she shared on social media and Google Street View to find where she lived.

Tokyo police declined comment on the specifics of the investigation but confirmed Friday that 26-year-old Hibiki Sato was arrested Sept. 17 on suspicion of indecent behavior in connection with stalking and causing injuries to the 20-year-old woman.

The police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the case was related to the reports about a stalker and pupil images.

Police described Sato as an “avid fan.”

NHK and other media reported this week that details in the woman’s selfies were used to identify the train station she frequented. They said Sato looked at other images she shared, such as her apartment, to figure out where she lived.

Police say he hurt her and committed indecent acts, such as groping her after accosting her from behind and knocking her down.

Tokyo Shimbun, a metropolitan daily which reported on the stalking case, warned readers that even casual selfies may show surrounding buildings that will allow people to identify the location of the photos.

It also said people shouldn’t make the V-sign with their hand because fingerprints could be stolen.

Cyberstalking has been a problem for years, with criminals and perpetrators of domestic violence using hacking, clandestine activation of microphones and cameras and other methods to track their victims.

It’s unclear how prevalent the use of high-resolution photos to locate potential victims might be.


See also: “Security researcher cautions against striking Japan’s favorite picture pose” …continue reading