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Category: Yokai 

Kanashibari and the Pillow Flipper (Makura Gaeshi) (Ep. 46)

The makura gaeshi or pillow flipper, was thought to cause kanashibari--sleep paralysis. It happens when you believe you've woken up in bed, but you're actually somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. You’re aware of the room around you, but there's a subtle change in the air. You try to move, but you’re frozen. You try to call out, but you can’t make a sound. It’s a terrifying experience.
fudo miyou

Haunted Artifacts (Tsukumogami) (Ep. 44)

In Japan when an inanimate object reaches its 100th birthday and perhaps it was mistreated, or lost, or thrown away, it gains a soul and might possibly start playing tricks on people. This is called tsukumogami, or haunted artifacts. In this episode of Uncanny Japan, I talk about the tsukumogami and some traditional ones you could run across on a dark spooky night.

#Uncannytober: Oct 9

Tsukumogami

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)
kappa

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

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

Heavenly Dogs and Brilliant Swordsmen (The Tengu) (Ep. 32)

There are two types of tengu: the karasu/crow tengu and the hanadaka/long-nosed tengu. They're both awesome martial artists and fearsome foes, among other things.

#Uncannytober: Oct 5

Hanadaka Tengu

Setsubun: The Devils are Coming! (Ep. 29)

The devils are coming! February 3rd is Setsubun in Japan and it's not just the day before spring, it's also the day that oni prowl the streets and children must pelt them roasted soybeans to insure good luck for the coming year.
setsubun oni beans

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

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
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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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