Imagine that you’re a taxi driver in Ishinomaki, Japan. You pick up a young passenger and ask for her destination. She tells you that she’s headed to the Minamiyama District, which is strange because no one ever goes to the Minamiyama District — not since the tsunami, anyway. You tell her this and she asks, “Have I died?”
When you turn around, she is no longer there.
Ghost passengers are apparently a common sight among taxi drivers in Ishinomaki, which is one of the cities that was affected most profoundly by the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred in March of 2011, killing nearly 16,000 nationwide, injuring over 6,000, and leaving 2,572 missing.
Sociology student Yuka Kudo spoke to 100 different cabbies. Seven of them said that they’d encountered ghost passengers who requested destinations, but weren’t there when the meter stopped.
Most of the ghosts are said to be young men and women. Kudo theorizes that the young people who died are frustrated that they did not find love in life. For some reason, they’re taking it out on cab drivers.
Yet the taxis drivers don’t seem frightened by the ghost passengers. In fact, they gladly take their ghostly patrons wherever they need to go.
Kudo found that many of the taxi drivers wanted to talk about these ghost passengers after being asked if they’d noticed anything strange since the tsunami. It makes you wonder how many more have experienced this phenomenon, but are too afraid to come forward.