Japanese Superstitions

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

The makura gaeshi or pillow flipper, was thought to cause kanashibari–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 room around you, but there’s a subtle change in the air. You try to move, but you’re frozen. You try to call out, but you can’t make a sound. It’s a terrifying experience.

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Japanese Holidays

Episode 45: Auspicious Cuisine (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).

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Japanese Superstitions

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.

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Story Time

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.

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Japanese Superstitions

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.

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