Japan’s ghostly housing problem | Letters

Houses in Tokyo’s Suginami ward. Photograph: Sutton-Hibbert/Rex

Your article (17 November) on why Japanese houses tend to be torn down after a 30-year period was quite informative, but failed to touch on one rather significant point. Whenever there is a death in a housing unit, whether from suicide, murder or natural causes, it must be noted and pointed out to any potential renters. There is a widespread superstition in Japan regarding ghosts, and particularly in the cases of suicide or murder – and almost no one will be interested in renting the property. I know of one landlord who decided to tear down and rebuild after a suicide in one of his apartment units because, once he had rebuilt, he no longer had to list the death as having occurred on the property. I’m assuming the ghosts, if any, were still there.
Giovanni Fazio
Saitama, Japan

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