Haunted by trauma, tsunami survivors in Japan turn to exorcists 創傷揮之不去 日本海嘯倖存者求助驅魔師

Thu, Apr 04, 2013 - Page 10

The tsunami that engulfed northeastern Japan two years ago has left some survivors believing they are seeing ghosts.

In a society wary of admitting to mental problems, many are turning to exorcists for help.

Tales of spectral figures lined up at shops where now there is only rubble are what psychiatrists say is a reaction to fear after the March 11, 2011, disaster in which nearly 19,000 people were killed.

“The places where people say they see ghosts are largely those areas completely swept away by the tsunami,” said Keizo Hara, a psychiatrist in the city of Ishinomaki, one of the areas worst hit by the waves touched off by an offshore earthquake.

“We think phenomena like ghost sightings are perhaps a mental projection of the terror and worries associated with those places.”

Hara said post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might only now be emerging in many people, and the country could be facing a wave of stress-related problems.

In some places destroyed by the tsunami, people have reported seeing ghostly apparitions queuing outside supermarkets which are now only rubble. Taxi drivers said they avoided the worst-hit districts for fear of picking up phantom passengers.

(Reuters)

兩年前吞噬日本東北部的那場海嘯,使得一些倖存者相信他們能看到鬼魂。

在日本社會,人們一般不大願承認自己有心理問題,因此有許多人轉而求助驅魔師。

傳說幽靈原來是在商店、如今只剩下一堆瓦礫的地方排隊。精神科醫師認為,這種鬼故事是人們的災後恐懼反應。二○一一年三月十一日發生的那場大災難,奪走近一萬九千萬條人命。

「人們聲稱撞鬼的地方大都是完全被海嘯沖毀的區域」,石卷市精神科醫師原敬三(譯音)說。石卷市是那場近海地震所引發海嘯的重災區之一。

「我們認為像見鬼等現象,也許是對那些地方的恐懼與焦慮的心理投射。」

原敬三說,創傷後壓力症候群(PTSD)也許如今才在很多人身上出現,而這個國家可能將面臨一波由壓力衍生的問題。

在遭到海嘯摧毀的一些地方,有人報告說看到鬼魂在如今只剩下一堆瓦礫的超市外面排隊。計程車司機說,他們避免駛去那些重災區,唯恐載到幽靈乘客。

(路透/翻譯:陳成良)