45 episodes

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.

Uncanny Japan - Japanese Myths, Folktales, Superstitions, History and Language Thersa Matsuura

    • Places & Travel

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.

    Episode 45: Auspicious Cuisine (Osechi Ryori)

    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 herring wrapped in kelp and tied with gourd strings (nori maki), dried and candied anchovies (tazukuri), and golden sweet potato and chestnut mash (kurikinton).

    • 16 min
    Episode 44: Haunted Artifacts (Tsukumogami)

    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 of Uncanny Japan, I talk about the tsukumogami and some traditional ones you could run across on a dark spooky night.

    • 13 min
    Episode 43: The Great Horned Master (Tsuno Daishi)

    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 actually a bad guy; he's there to protect the family and household. On this episode of Uncanny Japan, I'm going to tell you why.

    • 12 min
    Episode 42: Story Time - Yotsuya Kaidan (The Ghost of Oiwa)

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

    In this episode I'm going to tell you a spooky tale called Yotsuya Kaidan, the story of Oiwa and her sad and vengeful ghost. This is one of the big Japanese ghost stories. Remember I told you about Okiku and the Nine Plates back in Episode 25. Today’s ghost, Oiwa, is as well-known as our poor Okiku.

    • 21 min
    Episode 41: Japanese Superstitions II: Spider Lilies and Ghostly Trees

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

    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 more Japanese superstitions, but this time plant and flower-related stories.

    • 13 min
    Episode 40: Daruma - He Cut Off His What?!

    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 invented green tea, or well, his eyelids did. Join me and a thousand singing night insects while in episode 40 I tell you about the great sage, Daruma.

    • 12 min

Customer Reviews

riding nerd ,

authenticity and depth

I've been looking for something like this in books or articles for a while and it's so much nicer to hear a story told by an insightful and well spoken storyteller. If you've been there and pushed past the hello-kitty curtain, this podcast will reveal aspects of Japanese culture to you that are fascinating and compelling. It's helped me to deepen my understanding of a rish and interesting part of the world.

Malamarmar ,

Great podcast for anyone interested in Japanese myths and stories

I love listening to this podcast. Some of these myths and stories I've heard before from Japanese friends but there are always details missing and questions unanswered. This podcast covers some of the most unique myths/stories and in detail and quality. I look forward to new episodes!

Podcastique ,

Soothing. Creepy. Beautiful.

Don’t pass this pod by! Thersa’s stories are just wonderful. The perfect palate cleanser between true crime podcasts. Gorgeously researched, written and voiced. So many cool things to learn and ponder!

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