Supernatural and mysterious Japan (spirits, haunting, and paranormal phenomena) was written by Catrien Ross. I proudly said that Catrien Ross is half Indonesian. She was born in Jakarta to an Indonesian mother and Scots Father. She grew up with Scot’s ghost story and Indonesian demon story and that’s why she became curious with Japan’s mystery. She is currently living in Nishi Hachioji running QRQ, a healing center.
Believe it or not, Japan has an intriguing combination of the primitive and the sophisticated, the ancient and the trendy, the mythical and the mundane. There are glass and steel skyscrapers which symbolize modern age and yet Shinto n Buddhist priests are still called to purify buildings and people are still carrying amulet.
This book has 7 chapters with an interesting drawing to begin with. My favorite drawings are the drawing on opening page and the sixth chapter.
The first chapter is called In Search of the Supernatural. It mostly talks about animal represent certain mythical power, such as fox, tanuki and shinsi. It also talks about Japanese well-known goblin like tengu and kappa. But the most interesting part is about Garuda which happen to be Indonesian’s symbolized bird. Garuda is a Hindu Buddhist Guardian, the mythical bird deity able to transform its shape. A massager and helper to the God, enemy of serpents and demons
The second chapter is called Psychic Stirring. This chapter talks about the existence of superpower. This chapter mentions names of Japanese famous psychic. One of them that caught my intention is Mita Koichi, she has nensha (the projection of thought images onto undeveloped photographic dry plates) ability. On june 24, 1931, she projected the dark side of moon. From 1969-1972 American’s Apollo spacecraft the images are similar.
The third chapter is called New Forays into the Mystic. This chapter talks about ki, an ancient metaphysical principle, similar with chi in China. Every cell of the human body functions like an electricity charges, human body as a huge battery assembled of million2 of tiny battery. All these batteries together constitute the human magnetic fields. Ki practitioners believe that at the core of every human being lies this world-forming energy waiting to be individually awaken.
Most alternative halers are the one who can control ki. There were a lot of healer in Japan and somehow those healers and people who believed them create a new belief or religion. So in the beginning of twentieth century there were about 200 thousand religions in Japan. But because of Meiji restoration, 1868, which decided to westernize Japan, most of those religion were banned and the government created common spiritual basis and turn private shrine into state shrine. It also believed that western medicine is better than kanpo (herbal medicine from Japan). After war world 2 things changed, government made a separation of state n shrine. Shrines became private again.
The fourth chapter is called Strange but True. It talks about things and places with its strange stories but believed to be true. There are a lot of interesting places and things in this chapter, I’ll write some of it.
The people of Aomori Prefecture believe this place on the left is Jesus Christ’s grave. They really believe that Jesus didn’t die in the crucifix. He escaped to Japan and lived till 106 years old.
Shakoki Dogu is a clay figurine which believes to come from Jomon Era (8.000-2.00 BC) has unique look unlike any other doll from that era. People believe it portrays visitors from other world, an alien.
This one is the most interesting one, because it isn’t based on what people believe, it actually happened. It is called living Mummy. Devoted monks would stop eating meat and only eat rice and other grains in small portion. Eventually they will stop eating. Their body will shrink and dried out and turned into ‘living mummy’. The most famous one is Monk Tetsumonkai.
The fifth chapter was called Modern-Day Hauntings. This chapter is my favorite chapter. It talks about hauntings in many places. A woman appeared in a club every rainy day, and not everyone could saw her presence. An actress who died a day before her stage performance reappeared with her bloody cloth on the opening day. The grave of Tairo no Masakado which always brings bad luck to the people work in its surrounding building. A couple appeared without in the middle of the night and they have no legs. And many other interesting ghost stories.
The sixth chapter is called Scenes of Ghosts and Demons. It talks about yokai and oni. There is an interesting tradition called hyaku monogatari, 100 people each brings a candle and tell 100 eerie story. After one story has been told, one candle has to be put off and eventually it will make the room dark. There are 9 yokai stories in this chapter, not all of them are bad yokai.
The seventh Chapter is called Edo-Era Tales. Edo-era was the heyday of ghost stories. This chapter represents 2 most famous stories from Edo-era. The first is The Leony Lantern, it is about a man who fell in love with a woman spirit. The second is Tokaido Yotsuya Ghost Story. This story is the most famous story of all time because it has caused a lot of accidents. It tells a story of a woman named Oiwa. She was poisoned by her husband and the poison made her right side face look dreadfully disfigure. She was then killed by her husband. Her spirit haunted her husband forever. After her husband died, she kept on haunting people till this day. People who made movie or stage drama always ended up with freak accident, the only way to prevent that is by coming to Oiwa’s grave and pray for her.
I find this book very interesting. I am a true Islam believer but it is always fun to read about other people’s belief and this book provides a lot of info of those unusual beliefs. Besides that, this book also has good ghost sighting stories. I enjoy every page on this book.
Rating : 5 Stars (It was amazing)