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Tutor Andy D. 's Column

Abandoned Houses in Japan [廃屋]

Sep 29, 2019

Japan has a lot of abandoned houses.

Why are they abandoned? There are many reasons.
  • Sometimes elderly people pass away. With nobody to take care of the home, the home waits quietly for a new owner.
  • People can go missing. Like any country, missing people are a mystery.
  • The previous owner has decided to leave their home and everything in it.
  • And more...
The population of Japan is increasing. With more young people going to the cities, abandoned homes in the countryside are increasing too. Without jobs and a population to replenish these countryside cities, the homes will remain abandoned. 

I think that Japan has a very interesting culture surrounding abandoned homes.

In America, we have abandoned homes too.  A big difference is that abandoned American homes are often vandalized and looted. Graffiti will be drawn on the walls. Sometimes the abandoned homes will be used by homeless people as shelter. Other times it will be used by drug-users or gangs. Windows will be broken. Valuable, or useless items will be taken or destroyed. 

I respect how abandoned homes in Japan are left alone. They might be dirty, and sometimes they are looted or vandalized - but oftentimes they are almost like they were when the owners left. 

Abandoned homes show the history of the previous owner. They are a window into the past. If they aren't going to be destroyed for something new, then they should be left alone. It doesn't have to be treated like an occult spot or a ghost house. 

However, part of the reason these homes are left alone is because of the highly superstitious beliefs of Japanese people. If a terrible crime or murder occurred in the home, Japanese people are far more likely to believe that the spot is dangerous.

Of course, not all Japanese believe this. Americans are also known to believe in ghosts and devaluing property that was the site of a crime.

What do you think about abandoned homes?  I think they are very interesting, but I'm too scared to go inside! I also want to respect the wishes of the previous owner. Share your thoughts with me.

Thanks for reading! よろしくお願いいたします。

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