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Category: Japanese Culture 

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?

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?

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.

The All-powerful Five Elements and You (Ep. 141)

In Japan there are two types of Five Elements, the gogyo and the godai and you can find them all throughout Japanese culture-in tea ceremony, martial arts, acupuncture, herbalism, esoteric Buddhism, and even in cemeteries.
Handwriting calligraphy with black ink on white paper.

Joya no Kane: Purify Yourself With This Episode (Ep. 139)

Joya no Kane is the Buddhism tradition of ringing out the old year and ringing in the new one. Where did it come from and what does it mean?
Artist's hand drawing a serene Japanese landscape with a bell tower and rising sun, symbolizing 'Joya no Kane,' a traditional end-of-year bell-ringing ceremony, on a sketchpad, with watercolors and a brush, against a backdrop of artistic tools.

Shochikubai: Pine, Bamboo, Plum and Samurai Shade (Ep. 138)

Shochikubai means "pine, bamboo, plum" and are considered the three winter friends. You'll find them in New Year decorations as well as another interesting and surprising place. I'll tell more on today's show.
Traditional Japanese shochikubai painting with calligraphy on a sketchpad, featuring plum blossoms, pine, and bamboo, the symbols of perseverance, longevity, and flexibility, alongside an ink stone and brushes, indicating an artistic setting.
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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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