Japanese Taxi Drivers Report Phantom Fares Near Site of 2011 Tsunami
News| | By Felissa Allard
Don’t tell the taxi cab drivers of Japan not to believe in ghosts. At least seven cabbies have reported picking up passengers in northeast Japan, only to have those passengers disappear into thin air.
The Ishinomaki Station, one of the most devastated parts of Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, is just area where a cab driver reported a phantom fare.
In each instance, when a passenger entered the cab, the driver started the meter and asked for the destination. That’s when things started to get eerie.
Often, the passenger would ask for a destination destroyed by the tsunami or was virtually uninhabitable. At some point, when the driver would turn around to address the passenger, the riders were gone.
Yuka Kudo, a student of sociology at Tohoku Gakuin University, is compiling these phantom fares together as part of her graduation thesis. She interviewed 100 taxi cab drivers, asking them if they’d experienced anything supernatural or strange after the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Her research showed that each driver earnestly believed they were picking up a genuine passenger and not a phantom fare. She also pointed out that each ghost appeared young in age.
“Young people feel strong chagrin [at their deaths] when they cannot meet the people they love,” Kudo said. “As they want to convey their bitterness, they may have chosen taxis … as a medium to do so.”
Almost 16,000 people were reported killed in the 2011 tragedy, leaving many taxi drivers wondering who they’ll pick up next.