64 episodes

Speculative fiction writer, long-term resident of Japan and Bram Stoker Award finalist Thersa Matsuura explores all that is weird from Japan—strange superstitions, folklore and folktales, cultural oddities, and interesting language quirks. These are little treasures she digs up while doing research for her writing.

Uncanny Japan - Japanese Folklore, Folktales, Myths 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 Japan—strange superstitions, folklore and folktales, cultural oddities, and interesting language quirks. These are little treasures she digs up while doing research for her writing.

    Story Time:

    Story Time:

    "The Dream of Akinosuke" is Lafcadio Hearn's translation of a sweet Japanese (originally Chinese) folktale. In it you'll learn how insects can manipulate a person's soul.

    • 21 min
    Shinrei Supotto: Freaky Haunted Areas in Japan

    Shinrei Supotto: Freaky Haunted Areas in Japan

    On today’s show let’s visit a few ghostly places. They’re called shinrei supotto in Japanese. Areas that are believed to be haunted or cursed or have some other paranormal activity going on.

    • 21 min
    Yuurei: Japanese Ghosts from Protective to Wrathful

    Yuurei: Japanese Ghosts from Protective to Wrathful

    Yuurei are Japanese ghosts and they come in quite a few varieties, from the protecting shugorei to the vengeful and very dangerous onryou.

    • 22 min
    Oiran: The Glamorous and Wretched Life of a High Courtesan

    Oiran: The Glamorous and Wretched Life of a High Courtesan

    An oiran is not a geisha. Although at first glance they may look alike, one is a more reserved entertainer who is still in existence today. The other is a high courtesan, long disappeared, who wore flamboyant brightly- colored kimono and walked on 20 centimeter high geta.

    • 15 min
    Kanreki: Your Auspicious Years, Yakudoushi: Your Calamitous Ones

    Kanreki: Your Auspicious Years, Yakudoushi: Your Calamitous Ones

    Kanreki is the celebration of a 60th birthday. They’ll don a red vest, called a chanchanko, a red billowy hat, called an e-boshi and be given a white fan to hold. Yakudoshi are the ages you're believed to be more susceptible to sickness, misfortune or some other disaster.

    • 16 min
    Koumare Ishi: Inexplicable Rocks That Predict the Deaths of Monks

    Koumare Ishi: Inexplicable Rocks That Predict the Deaths of Monks

    Koumare Ishi is one of the nanafushigi or seven mysterious occurrences from my area. The belief is that a rock is born from the side of the mountain, and when it falls the head abbot of the nearby temple, Daitoku, dies.

    • 15 min

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