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Category: Japanese Folklore 

Story Time: “The Kappa’s Abyss” (Ep. 75)

Today's Story Time on Uncanny Japan is one I found in an old collection of Japanese folklore. It's about a couple of conniving kappa and an innocent young girl. It's called "The Kappa's Abyss."

Koumare Ishi: Inexplicable Rocks That Predict the Deaths of Monks (Ep. 59)

Koumare Ishi is one of the nanafushigi or seven mysterious occurrences from my area. The belief is that a rock is born from the side of the mountain, and when it falls the head abbot of the nearby temple, Daitoku, dies.
Koumare Ishi Small Shrine

The Rock That Cries at Night (younaki ishi) (Ep. 36)

A rock that gets weepy when the sun goes down, a pregnant woman slain alone in the mountains, a newborn baby visited by a ghostly priest who feds him candy to stay alive.

#Uncannytober: Oct 7

Night Crying Rock

Nanafushigi: Seven Mysterious Things (Ep. 35)

A giant hairy foot crashing through the roof of an old house and demanding to be washed. A festive tanuki band that appears in the dead of night and lures you into parts unknown. These are just two of the Honjo Nanafushigi.
nanafushigi

Hidden by the Gods (kamikakushi) (Ep. 34)

I started talking about the tengu in Episode 32 (Heavenly Dogs and Brilliant Swordsmen), but I wasn't able to cover one of my favorite things about this red faced, long nosed, mountain warrior. That being the notion of kamikakushi (神隠し) or being spirited away.
kamikakushi

Ebisu, The Leech Boy Who Became a God (Ep. 28)

I'm starting 2019 off with the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin), or more specifically one of the Seven Lucky Gods: Ebisu. He's the only one born and bred in Japan and, boy, does he have some seriously weird backstory.
ebisuko

Ship Goddesses, Boat Ghosts, and Sea Monks (Funadama, Funa Yurei, Umi Bozu) (Ep. 20)

The third Monday of July is Umi no Hi (Marine Day), so this month I decided to talk about three otherworldly ocean creatures: Ship Goddesses, Boat Ghosts, and Sea Monks.

#Uncannytober: Oct 1

funa yuurei

The God of Smallpox (Housougami) (Ep. 18)

In this episode I talk about the God of Smallpox (housougami). Come listen to the beliefs in this fearsome god and how dogs and the color red kept him at bay.
Housougami

Granny Dumping Mountain (Ubasuteyama) (Ep. 17)

Back in old Japan when times were tough and there were too many mouths for one family to feed, they might do something called kuchi herashi, or getting rid of mouths by sending your children to live with a wealthier family or hauling grandma or grandpa up into the mountains and leave them to fend for themselves.
ubasuteyama
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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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