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Category: Japanese Stories 

Scary Story Time: “Go-Away Monkey” (Ep. 86)

For the spooky month of October, I'm reading my horror short story "Go-Away Monkey" from my collection The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales.
Art for Go-Away Monkey short story by Thersa Matsuura

Obon Story Time: “At Yaidzu” by Lafcadio Hearn (Ep. 82)

It's Obon and today I want to read to you an essay by Lafcadio Hearn. He wrote it about the town he would stay at during summers, the town I've lived in for 25 plus years. Here he talks not just about the lantern floating ceremony, but also the ocean and ghost and gods and how we humans fit into it all.
Lafcadio Hearn / Koizumi Yakumo

Story Time: “The Dream of Akinosuke” by Lafcadio Hearn (Ep. 64)

"The Dream of Akinosuke" is Lafcadio Hearn's translation of a sweet Japanese (originally Chinese) folktale. In it you'll learn how insects can manipulate a person's soul.
The Dream of Akinosuke butterfly ukiyoe by Koson Ohara

Story Time – The Jellyfish Takes a Journey (plus eel and seppuku!) (Ep. 57)

Ever wonder why a jellyfish looks the way they do? Well, the Japanese folktale "The Jellyfish Takes a Journey" (Kurage no Honenashi) tells you how that came about. Then after that folktale, I'll give you a little trivia about the connection between eel and seppuku.
jellyfish drawing

Yotsuya Kaidan (The Ghost of Oiwa) Story Time (Ep. 42)

In this episode I'm going to tell you a spooky tale called Yotsuya Kaidan, the story of Oiwa and her sad and vengeful ghost. This is one of the greatest Japanese ghost stories. Remember I told you about Okiku and the Nine Plates back in Episode 25. Today’s ghost, Oiwa, is as well-known as our poor Okiku.
The Ghost of Oiwa

Story Time: Cicada by Lafcadio Hearn (Ep. 38)

Listen to Lafcadio Hearn's whimsical take on the cicada (semi) while enjoying some real time cicada singing in the background.
cicada

Story Time: Hoichi The Earless by Lafcadio Hearn (Mimi-nashi Hoichi) (Ep. 33)

After coming to live in Japan (1890), Lafcadio Hearn listened intently to the folk stories and ghostly tales that were related to him. He then wrote them down in English, adding his own unique style and began publishing books of his gathered observances and retellings. This is Mr. Hearn's most well-known story.
Miminashi Hoichi
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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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