The curse of Masakado: why Tokyo is still haunted by a malevolent ghost

The tale of the ‘first samurai’ whose severed head still terrorises Tokyoites today is the story of the city itself

A Tokyo bank once opened an account in the name of a man who had been dead for 1,000 years.

The bank was a branch of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (now part of MUFG, the largest bank in Japan), which looked out over a neighbouring lot that contained the grave where the man was buried. The bank employees were reportedly instructed not to open any windows to the man’s grave, nor to turn their backs on it, even when at their desks; the account was set up to placate him.

As Japan's capital enters a year in the spotlight, from the Rugby World up to the 2020 Olympics, Guardian Cities is spending a week reporting live from the largest megacity on Earth. Despite being the world's riskiest place – with 37 million people vulnerable to tsunami, flooding and due a potentially catastrophic earthquake – it is also one of the most resilient, both in its hi-tech design and its pragmatic social structure. Using manga, photography, film and a group of salarimen rappers, we'll hear from the locals how they feel about their famously impenetrable city finally embracing its global crown

We went to pay our respects to Masakado's grave at Otemachi station, exit C4... only to find the curse in full effect #guardiantokyoweek pic.twitter.com/I1TvxbWp00

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