Secrets of Tokyo #7: For centuries, a wooden five-storied pagoda stood on the grounds of Yanaka cemetery in Tokyo. On the evening of 6 July 1957, two guilt-ridden lovers, a married man and his decades-younger mistress, committed suicide there by setting themselves and the pagoda on fire. It was completely destroyed.
Now only the foundation stones remain, fenced off from a strangely deserted children’s playground on the fringes of a crowded graveyard. I have stood in many purportedly haunted places in my life but felt nothing. Something about the humid air after a thunderstorm, the deserted jungle-gym, the flicker of a shadow in the carvings on a nearby grave’s stone lantern…the air suddenly was quite cool for the briefest instant and the hair stood up on my arms. Something has stayed behind, I am sure of it.