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Japanese Myths, Folktales, Folklore and Language


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


Tsuno Daishi: The Great Horned Master (Ep. 43)

When walking around Japan you might see a small rectangular piece of paper pasted near a front door or on a gate. On this paper is an image that can only be described as a demon or devil. While off-putting at first, this creepy little fellow isn't actually a bad guy; he's there to protect the family and household. On this episode of Uncanny Japan, I'm going to tell you why.

#Uncannytober: Oct 8

Tsuno Daishi

Yotsuya Kaidan (The Ghost of Oiwa) Story Time (Ep. 42)

In this episode I'm going to tell you a spooky tale called Yotsuya Kaidan, the story of Oiwa and her sad and vengeful ghost. This is one of the greatest Japanese ghost stories. Remember I told you about Okiku and the Nine Plates back in Episode 25. Today’s ghost, Oiwa, is as well-known as our poor Okiku.
The Ghost of Oiwa

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

Daruma – He Cut Off His What?! (Ep. 40)

He’s the man who brought Chan to China and Zen to Japan. Some say he taught the Shaolin monks how to fight while other tales talk about how he invented green tea.
Inoue Setsuzan's Prostitute Plucking Daruma's Beard

Behind the Curtain: Advice for people coming to Japan (Ep. 39)

I forgo my usual format and invite my friend, fellow long time expat, and Sound Dude, Rich Pav, to join me in answering some listener questions about advice when coming to Japan.
Rich Pav and Thersa Matsuura

Story Time: Cicada by Lafcadio Hearn (Ep. 38)

Listen to Lafcadio Hearn's whimsical take on the cicada (semi) while enjoying some real time cicada singing in the background.

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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