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Category: Japanese Stories 

The Legend of Shippeitaro (Ep. 119)

Shippei Taro is both a folktale and a nanafushigi (strange occurance). I'll tell you all about this local legend as well as read you my translation of the famous story.
Shippei Taro Figurines

Ushi Oni: The Bloodthirsty Cow Demon (Ep. 117)

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

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
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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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