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 55 Folge(n) erschienen.

episode 15: Inviting a Friend to Die (Rokuyo)

The rokuyo (六曜) or six days is the Japanese calendar that you consult when preparing to engage in various affairs: wedding, funerals, trips, and business dealings to name a few. Some days are good for some things, other days are good for...


 2018-02-19  12m

episode 14: Living Buddhas-kinda… (Sokushinbutsu)

Listen to me talk about this wonderfully surreal thing I found: Living Buddhas (ikibotoke, 生き仏 or sokushinbutsu, 即身仏). The thing is, they're not really alive, at least not anymore. *cue scary music*... no, seriously, cue the scary music,...


 2018-01-17  11m

episode 13: Teachers Running (Shiwasu)

Everyone's busy. It's the end of the year. Come listen to me talk about how we spend December in Japan while you listen to a mochi-pounding event in the background on binaural mics. There is cleaning, haircuts, paying debts and staying up all night to...


 2017-12-17  17m

episode 12: Tricky Numbers (Goro Awase)

In Japan numbers can be tricky. Four is thought to invite death. Nine brings suffering and agony. But, hey! Eight is good! Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi Gui” from Ting Shuo)....


 2017-11-16  15m

episode 11: The Devil’s Gate (Kimon)

You have one. I have one. We all have one: a Devil's Gate. It's the place where oni (Japanese devils) sneak into your home, steal all your good luck and fine health, and scuttle away. It's the place you have to be very careful about and treat...


 2017-10-18  19m

episode 10: Hungry Ghosts (Gaki)

Careful. Living a life of luxury while being selfish and coveting your neighbors goodies just might lead you to another spin on this Wheel of Life. This means after you die you'll be reborn not as a human again, not even as a squirrel in someone's...


 2017-09-13  15m

episode 9: Obon Part Two-Sending Away Fires (Okuribi)

This month's podcast is Obon Part Two, the time when you have to send ol' grandma and grandpa back to the World of the Dead. There are various ways of doing this. I talk about two, the chill, mellow way and the flinging-balls-of-fire-into-the-air way....


 2017-08-15  16m

episode 8: Obon Part One-On Cucumber Horses They Ride

In Japan, Obon is the time of year when all the ancestors' spirits make the long haul back to the world of the living to pay a visit. It's kind of a big deal. Butsudan-altars are decorated to the hilt and families wait expectantly for grandma and...


 2017-07-16  11m

episode 7: The Thousand-Stitch Belt (Senninbari)

The senninbari or one thousand-stitch belt is a magical kind of sash worn by soldiers in World War 2 to ward off enemies bullets and impart super human strength. Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi...


 2017-06-19  12m

episode 6: Japanese Superstitions

In May's Uncanny Japan you get three Japanese superstitions and why: 1)Please don't cut your nails at night. 2)Please don't whistle at night. 3) Please do kill spiders at night...or don't, actually you might not want to. There's a good argument why...


 2017-05-15  14m