Japanese Folklore

Episode 35: Seven Mysterious Things (nanafushigi)

A giant hairy foot crashing through the roof of a old house and demanding to be washed. A festive tanuki band that appears in the dead of night and lures you into parts unknown. These are just two of the Honjo Nanafushigi.

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Saikyo Tengu sarai
Japanese Folklore

Episode 34: Hidden by the Gods (kamikakushi)

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.

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Japanese Urban Legends

Episode 30: Human-Faced Fish (jinmengyo)

Next time you’re staring down into a rowdy school of koi, keep an eye out for the one that has a human face. This is a jinmengyo and rumor has it if you see one a tsunami is on its way.

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setsubun oni beans
Japanese Holidays

Episode 29: Setsubun: The Devils are Coming!

The devils are coming! February 3rd is Setsubun in Japan and it’s not just the day before spring, it’s also the day that oni prowl the streets and children must pelt them roasted soybeans to insure good luck for the coming year.

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Japanese Folklore

Episode 28: Ebisu, The Leech Boy Who Became a God

I’m starting 2019 off with the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin), or more specifically one of the Seven Lucky Gods: Ebisu. He’s the only one born and bred in Japan and, boy, does he have some seriously weird backstory.

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Hokusai Sarayashiki
Japanese Folktales

Episode 25: Okiku and the Nine Plates (bancho sarayashiki)

Okiku, the poor servant girl who is still believed to haunt the well where she perished so many years ago. If you hear her count to nine, you too will die a horrible death. If you hear her but flee before she gets to seven, you may perhaps live, but you may also lose some of your mind.

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