- vol.10, pp.237-254, 2014-03-31
In this paper, the author provides an overview of how religious professionals (i.e. Buddhist monks, Christian pastors, etc.) are dealing with socalled occult phenomena in the tsunami stricken areas after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Most of the ghost tales seem to result from a variety of unconscious anxieties but there are no professional support workers available for people to consult with about them other than religious people, especially Buddhist monks. Furthermore, even these religious people do not necessarily have any particular prescription that has been prepared by their sect or denomination to deal with such tales. However, this could be an advantage for them from the viewpoint of spiritual care, because it makes it possible for them to listen in an open and frank manner, and with an unbiased view to these stories.The main characteristics of the care provided by such religious professionals is that they aim not only at removing troubling symptoms as medical doctors do, but also aim for creating a better quality of life for people by restoring their views of life and the world. The experts do this through conducting religious ceremonies intended to bring peace to the restless souls of the dead. Even if they believe that the “true” cause of occult phenomena is some secular anxiety, they deal with these phenomena as religious or spiritual issues instead of reducing them to secular matters to be resolved by secular means. This is why religious people can take a unique role among caregivers and it is of importance to reconsider the role of the religious professionals as social capital.