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Japanese Myths, Folktales, Folklore and Language


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.

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

Story Time – Of a Mirror and a Bell (Lafcadio Hearn) (Ep. 31)

Instead of me telling you about some interesting, odd, or spooky tidbit, I’ll be reading you a story. This is something I do over on Patreon once a month.
Of a Mirror and a Bell

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


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

Ebisu, The Leech Boy Who Became a God (Ep. 28)

I'm starting 2019 off with the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin), or more specifically one of the Seven Lucky Gods: Ebisu. He's the only one born and bred in Japan and, boy, does he have some seriously weird backstory.

Ojizo: Bound in Ropes Doused in Oil (Ep. 27)

The ojizo only wants to ease our suffering, and for that he gets tied up in ropes, doused in oil, and his head lopped off.
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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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