Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - Page 8 News List

The curse of Masakado: why a malevolent ghost haunts Tokyo

The tale of the ‘first samurai’ whose severed head still terrorises Tokyoites today is the story of the city itself

By Jonathan Clements  /  The Guardian

Masakado’s grave is still there today, among the skyscrapers and construction sites near exit C4 of Otemachi station, a little garden with a couple of trees, one last patch of green in the swish business district. It is a small, concrete square, set behind low walls topped with sculpted privet hedges. There, set on a triple-stepped plinth, is a slab of stone carved with ornate cursive Japanese and images of frogs.

This is all that is left of Masakado’s resting place, a tiny scrap of the old world, nestled within the cracks of the new.

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