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Category: Yokai 

Baku: The Eater of Dreams (Ep. 65)

The baku is a Japanese mythical creature that, when invited, slips into your room at night to gobble up your nightmares.

Yokai Related Sayings (Becoming a Tengu) (Ep. 54)

What if someone told you that you were turning into a tengu, one of those red-faced, long-nosed goblins? What would they mean? In this episode of Uncanny Japan, I talk about a handful of Japanese sayings that are based on yokai.
fuda iriya kishimoujin

Close Encounter With An Amabie (Ep. 49)

An amabie is a Japanese yokai that is said to have predicted a plague and then encouraged people to share its image to protect them from that previously predicted plague. Or something like that. The amabie has recently been re-remembered all over Japanese social media with people posting their own adorable depictions of that long-haired, beak-faced, three-footed creature and wishing the current plague (Covid-19) to go away.

The Kappa’s Fart (Ep. 48)

A kappa is a  small, scrawny, aquatic yokai with a parrot-like beak, a tortoise-style shell on its back, and an indentation on the top of its head full of water. They're found in rivers, lakes, ponds, and even coastal areas. But what do they do?  While recently kappa have been rebranded to be very kawaii, that hasn't always been the case. Listen to the newest episode of Uncanny Japan to find out how heinous these slimy critters can be. 

The Guest Room Child (Zashiki Warashi) (Ep. 47)

During sleep paralysis have you ever the feeling of a ghost child crawling on top of you? If so, you've probably experienced a zashiki warashi (Guest Room Child). But don't worry, they're not bad. In fact, they're the bringer of good luck and fortune.

#Uncannytober: Oct 10

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


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)

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.
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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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