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Japanese Myths, Folktales, Folklore and Language

Episodes

Ushi Oni: The Bloodthirsty Cow Demon

There are a lot of legends and stories about the ushi oni, a dreadful yōkai that has the head of an ox and the body of a giant spider, with blades on its feet.
Ushi oni

Six New Year’s No-Nos (Ep. 115)

In old Japan there were six rules, six things you weren't allowed to do on the first three days of the New Year. How do you score on the Six No Nos List?
Ukiyoe image of two men fighting with Mount Fuji and rising sun in background

Temple Statues: Why All the Red Bibs? (Ep. 114)

While strolling through the grounds of a Japanese temple or shrine you have no doubt seen the endearing sight of a statues decked out in red bibs. But why?
Red Bibs on foxes kitsune

Goshuin: Temple or Shrine Stamps (Ep. 112)

Goshuin are special stamps you can get when you visit a shrine or temple. In this episode I'll tell you what exactly they are, how to get them, and the manners involved.
Goshuin

Ōkami: Japanese Wolf Part 1 (Ep. 109)

Kitsune are everywhere, games, manga, anime, artwork, guarding shrines, possessing people. But what do you know about Japanese wolves? Maybe not so much?
Drawing of Japanese Wolf

Hunting for a Tsuchinoko (Ep. 108)

The tsuchinoko is a mysterious, mythical creature that can be seen and heard all over Japan since ancient times, but not one has ever been captured.
Tsuchinoko wanted poster in Japanese

The Unconnected Dead: Muenbotoke (Ep. 106)

Graves with no one to care for them are called muenbotoke. Learn about a temple that gathers all those ashes and bones and makes Buddhist statues out of them.
Muenbotoke Graves with No Connections
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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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