As an island nation with the world’s highest cremation rate, Japan looks like the ideal spot to ride out a global zombie pandemic, but one expert on the undead says this assumption is dangerously mistaken.

Matt Mogk, Zombie Research Society (ZRS) founder and head researcher, believes Japan would be no safer than other countries in the event of a zombie outbreak and could be even more dangerous.

Japan’s tight border control, which last month denied entry to Paris Hilton, would offer some protection against hordes of rotting corpses brought back to life, but only provided the outbreak starts outside of Japan.

“If the zombie sickness has a long incubation period, hundreds of millions of people could be infected for years, or even decades, without knowing,” said Mogk, who has been sinking his teeth into all things zombie for most of his life. “All we would need is the right trigger to launch an instant zombie pandemic everywhere at once. Japan would not be protected.”

ZRS, a non-profit organization with local chapters on six continents and in Japan, believes a zombie pandemic is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. And Mogk surmises the situation would be particularly bleak if “Z-Day” kicks off in Japan.

“Citizens would have a hard time escaping an island nation, especially if the other countries block their exit out of fear of infection,” he said.

ZRS describes a zombie as “a biologically definable, animated being occupying a human corpse.” Japan has one of the world’s highest cremation rates at 99.85%, according to Cremation Society of Great Britain statistics, so relatively fewer corpses lying around to animate. But according to Mogk, a high cremation rate does not make Japan any safer than other countries that practice standard burial preparation techniques.

“The embalming process destroys the brain of the corpse, so is functionally the same as cremation in terms of preventing a zombie from inhabiting the body,” he said.

The Max Brooks novel “World War Z” popularized the Japanese katana sword as an ideal weapon for fending off the flesh-eating undead. Mogk sees this as another dangerous misconception.

“Bladed weapons in general are not ideal because they will inevitably get stuck in things and become dull,” he said. “A single strike can find your sword jammed in a tree or ribcage, leaving you to pry it free while zombies chew on your neck.”

Have a safe Halloween.

Jim Hawe

Jim Hawe

I am a freelance writer and journalist based in Tokyo. In my free time I like to play the drums and read manga until they kick me out of the convenience store. I am also on a quest to find the best cup of ice coffee in Tokyo (any suggestions?).