Uncanny Japan logo

Japanese Myths, Folktales, Folklore and Language

Episodes

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

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

Children’s Day Iris Baths and Golden Boys (Shobuyu and Kintaro) (Ep. 51)

On May 5th people all across Japan celebrate Children's Day or Kodomo no Hi. It might not be a normal year, but if you look out your veranda you can possibly see some carp streamer (koi nobori). One of the ways to celebrate is with an iris bath or shoubu-yu. It's purported to make you strong like a samurai. Another way to celebrate is for boys to set out a fancy doll. Kintaro is often found in houses all over Japan. He's also big and strong like a samurai.

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.
Amabie

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. 
Kappa

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

1 10 11 12 13 14 18

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.

© Copyright 2024 Uncanny Productions
Buy Me a Coffee at Ko-Fi