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Japanese Myths, Folktales, Folklore and Language

Episodes

The Dangerous Truth about the Jorō Spider (Ep. 150)

The joro spider, a colorful arachnid from Japan, is harmless but tied to folklore about shape-shifting brides who fatally ensnare lovers at waterfalls.
Women in kimono shooting webs from her six spider arms. Baby spiders attached!

Beto Beto-san Vs Teke Teke: Things That Stalk You at Night (Ep. 149)

If you're ever walking alone on an empty street or path at night and you hear something distinctly not human following you, could it be the Beto Beto-san or the Teke Teke? One will take your life in the most horrendous way.

Bug News: Body Parasites or Ghosts (Mushi no Shirase)? (Ep. 148)

Have you ever had a premonition or a foreboding feeling that turned out to be true? Was it a parasitic insect living in your belly or a ghost trying to tell you something?

Falling Trees: Tengu or Furusoma (Creepy Dead Guy)?(Ep. 147)

If a you hear a tree fall in the woods, but can't find any sign of that fallen tree, is it the work of a tengu, a creepy dead guy ghost, or something else?
A furusoma, dead woodcutter, with tengu looking on

Ryomen Sukuna: Awesome Saint or Japan-Destroying Demon? (Ep. 145)

The two-faced, eight-limbed giant named Ryomen Sukuna has been around since very early Japan, still is he a Buddhism-protecting hero or a cursed demon who tried to destroy Japan?

Teru Teru Bōzu: Cute, Magical, Unsettling Origins (Ep. 144)

You'll often see ghostly-looking dolls strung up in windows in Japan on rainy days. What do they mean and why are they a little creepy?
Hand-drawn watercolor illustration of Teru Teru Bozu, traditional Japanese weather doll, hanging outside a window with a scenic view of a tree and house facade, showcasing Japanese culture and art.

Abe no Seimei & His Mysterious Place Near Me (Ep. 143)

Abe no Seimei was the greatest onmyōji in Japan. While he lived in Kyoto, he visited Shizuoka at some point and performed some magic, giving us another nanafushigi (seven mysterious things).
A disembodied hand begins to draw Abe No Seimei.
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About The Uncanny Japan Podcast

Speculative fiction writer, long-term resident of Japan and Bram Stoker Award finalist Thersa Matsuura explores all that is weird from old Japan—strange superstitions, folktales, cultural oddities, and interesting language quirks. These are little treasures she digs up while doing research for her writing.

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