ukioe monkey

Monkeys and Monkey Lore! (Ep. 4)

March’s Uncanny Japan podcast is all about monkeys and monkey lore — wordplay, superstition, and good luck charms. You can listen to that below.

Also, if you’re interested in me retelling/reimagining obscure Japanese folktales, take a look at my Patreon page. This month’s Bedtime Story (5$ and up reward) is “The Monkeys’ Ojizo Statue” (“Saru no Ojizo”).

(Me holding my smashed faced Sarubobo.)

Finally, below I give you a lucky saru. It’s a hanga-engraving I carved of a cheeky monkey flashing the peace sign while the character for ‘dream’ floats overhead. What could be luckier than that?

Thanks for listening!

You can also find me on:

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.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on tumblr
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

8 Responses

  1. I love the monkies. I couldn’t help thinking of the Monkey King stories from China. I wonder if they’re any relation?

  2. I’m a bit late the to the party, but…
    Many British, Australian and New Zealand people of a certain age will unknowingly be very familiar with the tale Saiyuuki that you mentioned in this episode.

    There was a Japanese TV production of Saiyuuki in the late 70s/early 80s that was overdubbed by the BBC retitled ‘Monkey’ or ‘Monkey Magic’ (it was also screened in Australia and New Zealand).

    When I was a child, it was shown at around 5pm every weeknight and me and my buddies LOVED it. To this day, it still has a cult feeling and its theme song remains very recognisable.

    But few fans of the show know the story’s true origin.

    Just found your podcast and am rapidly digesting all of the episodes! Thanks, it’s really interesting!

    1. I’m afraid I was in Japan and involved in watching other things. I totally missed the English-language version of Saiyuki. I wish I had seen it when it hit outside Japan. Thanks so much for listening, Stewart. New episode coming soon. It’s a wee bit creepy and gross.

  3. Hi Thersa:

    A colleague of mine told me about your podcast and I’ve become a fun of it immediately. (I’m a Japanese woman living in California for 20 years.)

    I like your approach about Japanese culture (I also like “weird, creepy” stuff. 🙂 I assume you have more and more topics in your mind, but here’re some requests/suggestions from me: “Kami kakushi”, “Mushi no shirase”, “Hyaku monogatari”, ” Iki-ryo”, “Yumemakura ni tatsu” , “Zashiki warashi” and “Ushi-no-koku Mairi”.

    Good luck and keep up with the great podcasts!


    P.S. My most favorite Japanese horror story is “Miminashi Hohichi”.

    1. Oh, Emi! Thank you so much. Yes, a couple of those topics (kamikakushi, ikiryo, zashiki warashi, ushi no koku mairi) are on my ‘To Podcast’ list. But the other suggestions are wonderful, too. In particular, ushi no koku mairi intrigues me (and scares me!). I want to do more reading about it. It’s sooo deep. I don’t know much about yumemakura ni tatsu, but I’ll read up on that. Thank you.

      Today I’m recording this month’s podcast and I’ll reveal here what it’s about so only people who read this response will know. This month I’m doing ‘Ubasute Yama’. I just love that story. Miminashi is very nice as well. Thank you for listening and for the ideas. I will definitely pick one out for next month!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.