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Japanese Myths, Folktales, Folklore and Language


“Concerning Tea”… a reading (Ep. 129)

Learn about the history of tea and the tea ceremony in Japan, its origins in Buddhist rituals, and its later development into an art form. Listen to stories about the famous tea masters Rikyu and the legendary monk Daruma.
painting of a cup of cold green tea teapot nearby

Raijū: The Thunder Beast (Ep. 128)

The raijū or thunder beast is smallish, very weird-looking creature that darts around during thunderstorms and wreaks havoc on the community. Here's what you need to know about it.
Old image of clawed, fanged tick looking beast

Dōsojin: Cuddly and Carnal Road Side Statues (Ep. 126)

Dōsojin are "road ancestor deities" from ancient times. They're different than ojizo or rakan statues. So what are they? What do they do? And which prefecture has the wildest festival to celebrate them?

Black-Toothed Yōkai (Ep. 123)

There are several yōkai with black teeth, the Ohagruo Bettari, the Ao Onna, and the Uwan. Is it their practice of ohaguro that makes them scary or something else?

Ohaguro: The Ultimate Beauty Hack of Ancient Japan (Ep. 122)

Discover the origin and practice of ohaguro, the traditional Japanese teeth blackening, dating back to over 1,700 years ago during the Yayoi era.
Kunisada's Woman Blackening Teeth
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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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