Afterlife beliefs and the weather: Japan’s heat wave means the haunted-house business is booming

According to this piece from the Malaysian Insider, it’s customary in Japan to visit “ghost houses” (obake yashiki, or haunted houses) during the summer. This is because, when it’s hot outside, you want to go somewhere where you’ll feel a chill, don’t you? Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but to me it suggests something about the constructedness of even the most basic bodily experiences, such as temperature. Personally, speaking as a non-Japanese person, I have never found that fear cools me off — for whatever that’s worth.


About Nathan Rein

I'm a historian of the Protestant Reformation. I teach religious studies at Ursinus College, in southeastern Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. More about me at
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