Professor KIMURA Toshiaki

Affiliations :

  • Graduate School Faculty of Arts and Letters
  • Division of Department of Global Humanities
  • Comparative and Cross-Cultural Studies Course
  • Department of Religious Studies

Ghost stories of Indonesia

I have a habit of browsing Indonesian bookshops on a regular basis. Recently, I have been finding numerous compilations of ghost stories offered by readers. As a religious studies scholar, I cannot resist buying a book with a terrible picture on the cover and a title like “Jakarta: the City of Ghosts” or “Indonesia Horror Tour” printed in blood font. I have hoarded quite a collection of such publications, magazines included. Surely, some rigorous followers of Islamic teachings might frown on ghost stores as inappropriate, but many Indonesians love tales about ghosts, spirits and psychics.
These tales include not only traditional Indonesian creatures like toyol (a child-shaped spirit) or kuntilanak (a ghost of a woman who died while pregnant), but motifs from other cultures, such as the urban legend about Hanako-san. I find it very intriguing that these foreign stories have spread in Indonesia. It would be interesting to conduct a comparative study of horror folklore one day.

  • Research, History
  • Books, papers, etc.
  • Courses
    Science of Religions (General Lecture): Modern Society and Religion; Science of Religions (Special Lecture): Natural Disaster and Religion; Science of Religions (Field Work): How to research religions. From planning to fieldwork; Science of Religions (Introductory Seminar): How to study religions ― presentation and discussion class.
    Personal History
    Graduated from the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    Completed the graduate program at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University

    Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities, Hirosaki University
    Visiting Scholar, Harvard-Yenching Institute
    Current position
    Ph.D. (Literature)
    Religious Studies; Anthropology of Religion
    Research Subject
    Natural disasters and religion;
    Modern transformations of folk belief;
    Indonesian society and religion
    Japanese Association for Religious Studies; The Folklore Society of Japan; The Association for Indology and Study of Religion; The Folklore Society of Tohoku
    Database of Researchers Information
  • Books
    Stratification in Cultural Contexts - Cases from East and Southeast Asia, Trans Pacific Press, 2013(editor)
    『聞き書き震災体験-東北大学90人が語る3.11』、新泉社、 2012(supervisor)
    『不平等生成メカニズムの解明―格差・階層・公正―』、ミネルヴァ書房、 2013(editor)
    Academic Papers
    "Revival of Local Festivals and Religion after the Great East Japan Earthquake," in Journal of Religion in Japan vol.5., 2016, 227-245
    "Social Change and Transformation in Toba Batak Ethnic Associations in Medan, Sumatra," in Stratification in Cultural Contexts - Cases from East and Southeast Asia, Ed. Kimura Toshiaki, Trans Pacific Press, 2013, 113-126
    「二年遅れで復活した二十年周期の祭礼から見えてくる現実‐東松島市浜市御潮垢離行事」、『無形民俗文化財が被災するということー東日本大震災と宮城県沿岸部社会の民族誌』、高倉浩樹・滝澤克彦(編)、 新泉社、2014、102-110