Uncanny Japan - Myths, Folktales, Superstitions, History and Language

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.


Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 13m. Bisher sind 53 Folge(n) erschienen. Alle 3 Wochen erscheint eine Folge dieses Podcasts

episode 53: Creepy Children's Song - Kagome Kagome

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.



episode 53: Putting a Curse on Your Enemies (Ushi no Koku Mairi)

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...



episode 51: Children's Day Iris Baths and Golden Boys (Shobuyu and Kintaro)

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...


 2020-04-30  17m

episode 50: Story Time - Sand Walls, Paper Doors

This is the short story that got me my book deal, my agent, and my best friend. Also, yokai, lots of yokai.


 2020-04-16  32m

episode 49: Close Encounter with an Amabie

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 all over Japanese social media...


 2020-04-01  13m

episode 48: The Kappa's Fart

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?


 2020-03-15  14m

episode 47: The Guest Room Child (Zashiki Warashi)

Have you ever been sleeping and had a bout of ? Then during that surreal -- most likely frightening -- experience, have you ever had what feels like a ghost child crawling on top of you? Or maybe late one night when you're all alone, you've heard an...


 2020-02-27  15m

episode 46: Kanashibari and the Pillow Flipper (Makura Gaeshi)

The makura gaeshi, or pillow flipper, was thought to cause kanashibari, otherwise known as 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...


 2020-02-11  11m

episode 45: Auspicious Cuisine (Osechi Ryori)

Want to increase your chances of a new year filled with health, prosperity, and an abundance of children and grandchildren? All you need to do is eat some delicious osechi ryori. Osechi is Japan's New Year's cuisine that includes such delicacies as...


 2020-01-23  16m

episode 44: Haunted Artifacts (Tsukumogami)

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...


 2019-12-24  13m