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Category: superstition

Episode 34: Hidden by the Gods (Kamikakushi)

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, mountain warrior. That being the notion of kamikakushi (神隠し) or being spirited away. In this episode I get into that but the more I researched the really wild and fascinating information I ran across.

In this Episode 34: Spirited Away (Kamikakushi), I’ll tell you about the Shinto scholar Atsutane Hirata who back in the 1800s interviewed and wrote a book about a boy (Torakichi) who had claimed to have been abducted by a tengu for many years. There are stories of 100-days fasts, trees that glow from an inner light, and small unlucky men riding horses who are born from the placenta of a new born baby.

All this while I walk through a drizzly evening, recording the first frogs of the season.

※Notes: Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 18: The God of Smallpox (Housougami)

Episode 18: The God of Smallpox (Housougami)

Welcome to May’s Uncanny Japan. In this episode I talk about the God of Smallpox (housougami/疱瘡神). Come listen to the beliefs in this fearsome god and how dogs and the color red kept him at bay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In the above picture you can see a child sick with smallpox and all the talismans

placed around him for protection. Notice all the red and the taisha, too. 

The above photo is of an aka-e (red picture) of a taisha (sea bream car).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Above is the samurai Tametomo scaring away the God of Smallpox.

Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi Gui” from Ting Shuo).  The whole album is just gorgeous as it everything else by FM3.

Episode 15: Inviting a Friend to Die (Rokuyo)

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 others. Some days are just bad, bad, bad.

If you take a good look at a lot of Japanese calendars and daily planners, they have two small kanji written in the corner of every day. These signify which of the six rokuyo that particular day is. You definitely don’t want to incur bad luck and have your wedding on a butsumetsu (仏滅 ) or invite a group of mourners to join the deceased loved one in the Buddha’s paradise by holding a funeral on a tomobiki (友引).

This month’s podcast is all about the rokuyo. Come listen while you take a ride with me on the local train via binaural mics.

Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi Gui” from Ting Shuo).  The whole album is just gorgeous as it everything else by FM3.

Episode 11: The Devil’s Gate (Kimon)

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 with respect. The problem is, most of us have no idea where our Devil’s Gate (kimon) is, much less what to do to appease and/or keep out those pesky devils.

Walk with me in the pouring rain and listen to this month’s podcast. It’s all about your devil’s gate, where to find it, and what might be done to protect yourself and your family from those intrusive luck-nabbing oni.

A hanging talisman to ward off devils and ogres and oni. Hell, yeah!

 

This incident I talk about in the podcast (the moving and my mother-in-law) was the impetus for my short story “My Devil’s Gate” that was published in my first collection: A Robe of Feathers and Other Stories.

Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi Gui” from Ting Shuo).  The whole album is just gorgeous as it everything else by FM3.

Episode 10: Hungry Ghosts (Gaki)

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 backyard. You might just come back as a hungry ghost, and let me tell you why that’s not a very good thing.

This month’s podcast is about Japanese hungry ghosts or gaki in Japanese. Not for the feint of heart.

Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi Gui” from Ting Shuo).  The whole album is just gorgeous as it everything else by FM3.