Where The Gods Hide People: The Vanishing Japanese
A lot of the people we write about disappear against their will. Their life is ended by awful examples of humanity. Most are found in one form or another, too many are not. An over lapping aspect of unsolved murder is people who deliberately step out of their lives leaving murder or suicide as possible explanations.
I came across a program from a Japanese perspective. It introduced an element I had never considered: They have people who make their living ‘vanishing people’.
I have written about several cases that have very obvious signs of a deliberate intention to disappear. Others are like the situation that befell John Donovan when he was hiking. He got himself stuck in a bit of terrain he could not get out of and was not found for a year. In another case an American medical student (Brian Shaffer) went missing in the centre of a busy town. Some believe he manufactured his disappearance and that a close friend knows more than he is letting on.
The Japanese, like Britain, have specific cultural differences. What could be a social pressure here might not be there. In the US there are some things about what is expected of a person that would be different in my country even though we share a lot of common heritage. So when we look at unsolved disappearances maybe we should remember that.
The documentary below illustrates how varied our ‘normal’ is from one place to another.
Hidden By The Gods
Missing people years ago were considered to be victims of Kamikakushi. It means spirited away. We have our myths here ranging from vampires to the ancient otherworld of legend. These days, like elsewhere, the Japanese believe in more rational explanations when people step out of their lives.
In the film the makers discuss the concept of Johatsu. This is where cultural pressures can make someone feel they must vanish. In amongst those cases will be the sort of circumstances that is the subject of this website. Murder makes people disappear too.
Complicating this further is when a company can be paid to help relocate people. Maybe you have heard of this? If you know of a Western equivalent I would appreciate a heads up. For now though if you are a student of unsolved crime or missing person cases you might find the below video useful.