An increasing number of Japanese quake survivors need emotional support as they report having experienced supernatural apparitions of people dead or missing in the March 2011 natural disaster.
Leaders from different religions have gathered to provide emotional counseling, as victims feel often uncomfortable to discuss this kind of issues with government officials and even with family members.
Many victims report having seen people walking on the surface of the ocean, or missing relatives begging to have their bodies found and properly buried.
Christian priests and Buddhist monks gathered in Ishinomaki city, Miyagi Prefecture, for an informal discussion at a Buddhist temple.
Facing death so close is one of the reasons people feel emotionally pressed. “Regardless if they are real or not, these people are seeing apparitions. We weren’t prepared to lose all of those lives,” explains United Christ Church head priest Taiou Kaneda of Tsudaiji Temple in Miyagi prefecture. “Religion must patiently give counsel to these people until they can accept the death of their family and friends, until they can lift their heads up again.”
“Many people passed away, so it is natural for you to see their apparitions. Please do not be scared,” says priest Kaneda.
“This can also become an opportunity for you to take a moment and think about life and death for yourself. You should make this a first step towards moving forward in this life,” he added.