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Category: Japanese Urban Legends 

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?

The Dreaded Northern Pillow (kitamakura) and Fan Death (Ep. 136)

Is sleeping with your head facing north a practice that'll bring you bad luck and invite death or is it good luck, welcoming a restful night's sleep and money?
Reclining Buddha statue with radiant halo, symbolic of peace, resting on a colorful pillow facing north, with an artistic backdrop of mountains, representing the Japanese kitamakura myth

“The Other Side” A Creepy Japanese Ghost Story (Ep. 135)

"The Other Side" is a ghost story I wrote using some of the more common Japanese scary tropes. Put on some headphones and turn out the lights and let me tell you a story.

Creepy Haunted Tunnels in Japan (Ep. 134)

My guess is that Japan has more haunted tunnels than anywhere in the world. In this episode I talk about three of the creepiest and most well known.
A tunnel with a light at the end, representing hope and new beginnings. Or maybe not. It could be haunted.

Okiku: The Haunted Doll (Ep. 133)

The Okiku-chan doll is believed to contain the spirit of the little girl who once owned her. This is seen by her constantly, slow growing hair.
A haunted Japanese doll named Okiku, with long black hair and a traditional Japanese kimono.

Shinrei Supotto: Freaky Haunted Areas in Japan (Ep. 63)

On today’s show let’s visit a few ghostly places. They’re called shinrei supotto in Japanese. Areas that are believed to be haunted or cursed or have some other paranormal activity going on.
Osorezan

Human-Faced Fish (jinmengyo) (Ep. 30)

Next time you’re staring down into a rowdy school of koi, keep an eye out for the one that has a human face. This is a jinmengyo and rumor has it if you see one a tsunami is on its way.

#Uncannytober: Oct 4

jinmengyo

Kuchisake-Onna: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (Ep. 23)

Here are two urban myths that have always intrigued me: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (kuchisake onna) and The White Thread That Comes from Your Ear (mimi kara shiroi ito).

#Uncannytober: Oct 2

kuchisake onna

Playing Hide and Seek by Yourself (hitori kakurenbo) (Ep. 16)

Hitori kakurenbo (一人隠れん坊) means playing hide and seek by yourself. It sounds silly, but it's actually a super creepy, Japanese urban myth that involves you all alone at night with nothing but a stuffed animal, some red thread, and a knife.
hitori kakurenbo

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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