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Category: Japanese Superstitions 

Mushi Okuri: Sending Off the Bugs (Ep. 79)

Mushi Okuri is a yearly event, usually taking place sometime in June or July, when the locals get together to ceremoniously expel harmful insects from their fields and pray for a bountiful crop.
Mushi Okuri Sending Away the Bugs

Kan-no-mushi: Adorable Parasites Living Inside Your Spine (Ep. 71)

Let me tell you why your toddler might cry at night and throw tantrums. It could be a mythical parasite that lives in their spine. 

Cursed Swords That Want to Murder You (Youtou) (Ep. 69)

A Muramasa blade is one of exceptional quality and great bloodlust. It’s called a youtou  (妖刀) in Japanese. Depending on how you translate that, it could mean cursed sword, mystic sword, or demon sword. In this episode I talk about one of the most well known youtou made by Muramasa Sengo.
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi cursed sword

Kanreki: Your Auspicious Years, Yakudoushi: Your Calamitous Ones (Ep. 60)

Kanreki is the celebration of a 60th birthday. They’ll don a red vest, called a chanchanko, a red billowy hat, called an e-boshi and be given a white fan to hold. Yakudoshi are the ages you're believed to be more susceptible to sickness, misfortune or some other disaster.
kanreki chachanko

Food Superstitions and Sayings (Ep. 56)

Why shouldn't you eat crab and watermelon together? What will happen if you don't eat all the rice in your bowl? Today I'll answer these and a whole lot more. Japanese food superstitions and sayings are quite interesting and sometimes funny.
A crab and persimmon image

Creepy Children’s Song (Kagome Kagome) (Ep. 53)

In Japan "Kagome Kagome" is an old children's game and the song that goes along with it. It's interesting because the mysterious lyrics have several different interpretations and most of them are pretty grim.
strange children playing

Putting a Curse on Your Enemies (Ushi no Koku Mairi) (Ep. 52)

Ushi no Koku Mairi means visiting a shrine at the hour of the ox (between 1:00 and 3:00 am). It also means going there so you can put a curse on your enemy. Deriving from the legend of Hashi Hime (The Bridge Princess) and the Noh play Kanawa (The Iron Crown), this peculiar and frightening way of cursing those who have wronged you is definitely next level.
Ushi no koku mairi

Japanese Superstitions II: Spider Lilies and Ghostly Trees (Ep. 41)

Why is the beautiful spider lily also called a corpse flower? Why didn't samurai keep camellias in their gardens? Why do Japanese ghosts like to hang out under weeping willows? On this episode of Uncanny Japan I'll take on a few more Japanese superstitions, but this time plant and flower-related stories.
Yanagi Onna by Takehara Shunsensai

Oni Kara Denwa: The Ogre App to Discipline Your Child (Ep. 37)

Ever since I saw a mother discipline her child by threatening to call an oni/ogre, I've been wanting to do talk about this. Then I found out it really is a thing, an app called Oni Kara Denwa (A Call From an Oni, or as it's translated in Japanese: Ghost Call)
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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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