Would you live in an apartment someone died in?
October 8, 2019 Franchesca Rivera
It’s time to get spooky! Would you ever live in an apartment someone died in? Today we’ll talk about “Jiko Bukken”!
In honor of the Halloween spirit, we thought it would be a nice change of pace to talk about something spooky. It’s not new information that Japan has a higher suicide rate than most countries. But did you know that a good percentage of those happen in Japanese homes? It happens so often that there’s a whole culture about properties where a murder or suicide happened—they are called “Jikko Bukken.” But do you know what’s surprising? It’s the fact that realtors still try to rent off these homes. Do you think you would ever live in an apartment someone died in?
What do you think?
Picture it, a nice two-bedroom unit with your own private veranda, great natural light, close to transit options, a city center location, and a newly refurbished bathroom. All for the lowly price of 20,000 PHP a month. Plus the realtor is even offering you one month free, and half-off on the rent for the first year! Sounds a little too good to be true, right? So you ask why such a great apartment is offered so cheaply. And the realtor tells you, the reason why that sparkly new bathroom is new is that someone drowned themselves there. Would you still take it? It’s a bit shocking, right? But this kind of thing really does happen in Japan.
What is “Jikko Bukken”?
According to Japan Property Central, they define “Jikko Bukken” as a “property where the former occupant died of unnatural causes, such as suicide, murder, fire or neglect.” But it can also refer to a property that has been stigmatized. Such as being near a gravesite, populated by gangs, built over a well, or any negative indicator when choosing a property. And by law, realtors are legally obliged to inform tenants or buyers of any known unnatural deaths that occurred on the property. You may or may not be surprised that in recent years, people have begun to get less and less bothered by living in properties someone has died in. And often, these properties get snatched up very quickly now. Maybe the Japanese are less superstitious now or that the economy is that bad?
So are they haunted?
Well, there is one tale of a “haunting” we found online. It was about the death of an 80-year-old woman in a small apartment in Ueno, Tokyo. A realtor shared the story of how one day they got a very concerning phone call from the police to open one of their apartments in Ueno. He checked the records and saw that it belonged to an 80-year-old woman. The rent was all paid up, so he wondered what could be wrong. When he got there, he simply unlocked the door and let the police do their work. When the police opened the door, they found the decomposing corpse of the old woman. They figure it’s been around five months since the time of her death. He shared that nothing could have prepared him to see what he saw, and the smell too.
The owner decided to renovate the apartment, but the news already spread to the area that a corpse was found there. So he had a hard time getting anyone to rent. He decided to rent out the apartment via Airbnb instead. At first, there was nothing wrong, tourists were coming and going frequently.
Then one day the owner was called in by one of the tourists. They said they had been locked out. Somehow the door latch on the inside of the apartment locked itself. Nobody was inside to lock it. And the lock wasn’t loose. So it couldn’t have accidentally locked itself. Could it have been the old woman’s ghost? We’ll never know…
I’m pretty sure we have our fair share of unnatural deaths in homes here in the Philippines. The only difference is that in Japan, they fully disclose it. So have you ever lived in a surprisingly cheap house or apartment? Maybe the next time you’re scouting for a new place, make sure to ask if the property has any “history”. Or are you better off not knowing?
So would you ever live in a house someone died in? And have any of you actually lived in one knowing that someone died there of unnatural causes? Share with us your spooky story! We’d love to hear what you think! So share with us your thoughts in the comments down below! Or hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.