…the earthquake also had quieter consequences that didn’t make headlines. In the London Review of Books, Richard Lloyd Parry investigates a peculiar phenomenon revealed in the aftermath of the storm. His piece is called “Ghosts of the Tsunami.”
RICHARD LLOYD PARRY: People reported neighbors – neighbors who died in the tsunami – appearing at their houses and coming and sitting down in puddles of water.
MARTIN: Parry has lived in Japan for 18 years and has known it to be a mostly secular culture. In global polls, Japan ranks as one of the least religious countries in the world.
PARRY: But there’s a bit more to it than that. I mean I’d got used to seeing, in the homes of friends, these little altars you find to the family ancestors. And I’d always assumed they were nothing much more than a quaint piece of interior decoration. But I realized in following this story and returning to the tsunami zone, that actually the religion of the ancestors is alive and well and very strong.