Uncanny Japan - Japanese 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 12m. Bisher sind 43 Folge(n) erschienen.


episode 43: The Great Horned Master (Tsuno Daishi)

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...



episode 42: Story Time - Yotsuya Kaidan (The Ghost of Oiwa)

It's almost Halloween, so for this episode of Uncanny Japan I'm going to tell you a spooky tale called Yotsuya Kaidan, the story of Oiwa and her sad and vengeful ghost. The last ghost story I told here was in episode 25, Okiku and the Nine Plates...


 2019-10-26  21m

episode 41: Japanese Superstitions II: Spider Lilies and Ghostly Trees

(Transcript below) 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...


 2019-10-10  13m

episode 40: Daruma - He Cut Off His What?!

His eyelids. He cut off his eyelids. But that is not all that the Daruma (Bodhidharma) is famous for. 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...


 2019-09-12  12m

episode 39: Behind the Curtain: Advice for people coming to Japan

Episode 39 of Uncanny Japan is different, it's special. Today 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. Here we...


 2019-08-22  18m

episode 38: Story Time - Cicada (Lafcadio Hearn)

In Episode 38, you can listen to Lafcadio Hearn's whimsical take on the cicada (semi) while enjoying some real time cicada singing in the background.   A lot of the poems didn't make it into the podcast. Here are a few: "A very large number of...


 2019-08-08  20m

episode 37: The Ogre App to Discipline Your Child (Oni Kara Denwa)

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:...


 2019-07-21  17m

episode 36: The Rock That Cries at Night (Yonaki Ishi)

A rock that gets weepy when the sun goes down,  a pregnant woman slain alone in the mountains, a newborn baby visited by a ghostly priest who feds him candy to stay alive.


 2019-06-27  12m

episode 35: Seven Mysterious Things (Nanafushigi)

A giant hairy foot crashing through the roof of a old house and demanding to be washed. A festive tanuki band that appears in the dead of night and lures you into parts unknown. These are just two of the Honjo Nanafushigi. Nanafushigi can be...


 2019-05-27  15m

episode 34: Hidden by the Gods (Kamikakushi)

Today's show feels like a wacky and wonderful one. You see, 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,...


 2019-05-06  16m