Revenge of the living spirits

I was drinking with my colleague A at a bar when this happened. By chance we ran into some of my old workmates from a former workplace. We parted on good terms and I was friendly with them, so while I didn’t join them, several guys came over and shared drinks. We ate fried chicken and sashimi together and so on.

But before long A said that he wasn’t feeling very well, so we left the bar a little earlier than expected.

“Are you okay?” I asked him when we got outside.

“The section manager from your former job, that guy that came over and poured us a drink, he’s no good,” he said suddenly.

“Why?” I asked.

“That guy’s being haunted by three ikiryo (living spirits). When that happens to a person, it’s all over. That’s why I felt sick all of a sudden,” he said.

Ikiryo? Seriously? You can tell that?” I asked, and apparently he could.

“Like, there are people you meet and after talking to them for a few minutes, or even just at first glance, you feel something off about them, right? It’s not like they look bad or anything, just a feeling,” A started to explain.

A: “Those types of people are being haunted by something. But that section manager is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that.”

Me: “Is it really that bad?”

A: “Yeah, there’s nothing anyone can do for him anymore.”

Me: “When you say ‘ikiryo,’ you mean, like, resentment, yeah?”

I couldn’t believe it. I mean, yeah, my former section chief wasn’t a guy I could respect or anything, but was he really being haunted by three powerful living spirits?

A: “Yeah, but it might be more accurate to say implacability, or rather, a grudge, I guess?”

Me: “So you mean, somewhere three people are playing with a straw effigy or something?”

A: “No, that’s not it. They just have to think about it.”

Me: “But if you have such intense resentment towards someone, don’t you also have to pay a price for it?”

A: “Not at all. They’re already paying for that resentment in the form of harassment, sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. They’re paying for it in ways I can’t even describe.”

Me: “So you’re saying all they have to do is think about wanting him dead and then their living spirits start haunting him?”

A: “That’s right. Scary, isn’t it?”

‘Yeah, I guess so,’ I thought. I could understand why people would hold resentment towards him. But there was something else I wanted to know as well.

Me: “Hey, am I being haunted by any ikiryo?”

A: “I can only see your grandparents. You should make sure to look after the elderly, you know.”

I was hoping it might be a hot young lady. Finally, I asked A the biggest thing that was still on my mind.

Me: “So the three living spirits that are haunting him, who are they?”

A: “One’s a woman. She seems quiet and shy, and something really terrible happened to her.”

Ah, come to think of it, workers at my last workplace rotated quite often. According to the rumours, if the section chief didn’t like someone, they were fired.

A: “The other two are men. One is constantly focused on him. That’s the most dangerous type. When you become obsessed with feelings of resentment, it starts to affect your own daily life as well. Then things get even worse. His resentment is going to be his own downfall.”

So focusing on nothing but your resentment would ruin your own life as well, huh? This guy really knew just the right things to say, I thought.

A: “The other guy is you.”


Yeah, I could see that. I often thought about how I wanted that section chief to die.

But putting that aside, A really was amazing. He was the real deal. He really could see things. Ever since then I’ve started to believe in the power of the supernatural.

Translator’s note: Ikiryo are living spirits where a person’s soul leaves their body unawares to haunt another person or place. It’s kind of like an out-of-body experience when a living person’s spirit gets angered enough.


Want even more Japanese horror?

Grab over 81 brand new tales right now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.