Episode 27: Ojizo Bound in Ropes Doused in Oil

Episode 27: Ojizo Bound in Ropes Doused in Oil


The ojizo only wants to ease our suffering, and for that he gets tied up in ropes, doused in oil, and his head lopped off. Episode 27 of Uncanny Japan talks a little more about the ojizo statue, bringing to light some of the curious, unique, and bizarre manifestations of this beneficent deity.

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Notes: Intro/Outro music

by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 26: Ojizo. The Little Guy Saving You and Yours From the Torments of Hell

Episode 26: Ojizo. The Little Guy Saving You and Yours From the Torments of Hell


An ojizo-sama is here to put aside his own enlightenment in order to save us all from the torments of hell. True story. He is especially partial to children, expectant mothers, firemen, travelers, pilgrims, stillborn, miscarried, and aborted babies. Do you have some kind of pain? He’s here to take that away, too.

The background binaural sounds are a small group of Japanese men and women playing a game of gateball. They’re rooting for each other, taking the piss out of each other, and finally running out of time and losing their games against one another.

Photo by Thersa Matsuura

Notes: Intro/Outro music

by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 25: Okiku and the Nine Plates (Bancho no Sarayashiki)

Episode 25: Okiku and the Nine Plates (Bancho no Sarayashiki)


One, two, three… Okiku kneeling, counts the priceless plates that have been entrusted to her. Four, five, six… her samurai master, Tessan, stands, hands on hips, he watches her trembling hands. Seven, eight, nine… Okiku gasps. She checks the wooden chest, looks around panicked. There were ten. Now there are nine. Where did the other one go? Tessan enraged accuses her of stealing it, or perhaps breaking it and hiding the pieces. Where did she hide them? Maybe in the well. Tessan drags the poor servant girl from the room and to the well where in a fit of rage he throws her in to her death.

The following night Tessan awakes to the sound of Okiku carefully counting the plates. One, two, three… When she reaches nine and discovers there is no tenth plate she lets out an inhuman scream that shakes Tessan to his bones. This happens again and again until driven mad, Tessan takes up his own blade and ends his life.

Episode 25 of Uncanny Japan is me on a local train telling you about 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.

Notes: Intro/Outro music

by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 24: A Bedtime Story – Kachi-Kachi Mountain (PG Version)

Episode 24: A Bedtime Story – Kachi-Kachi Mountain (PG Version)

Episode 24 of Uncanny Japan is a story, a Bedtime Story. Here I read to you my retelling and reimagining of a classic Japanese folktale Kachi Kachi Yama (Kachi Kachi Mountain). There are quite a few versions of the story out there. This one is very PG and everyone friendly. The more true-to-the-original and very slightly R-rated is over as extra content on Patreon.

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


Episode 23: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (Kuchisake Onna)

Episode 23: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (Kuchisake Onna)

I’ve had quite a few requests via email, DMs, and reviews for a show on Japanese urban legends. Episode #23 is in answer to those requests. Here are two urban myths that have always intrigued me: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (kuchisake onna) and The White Thread That Comes from Your Ear (mimi kara shiroi ito).

Notes: Intro and Outro music is provided by Julyan Matsuura. He also does the music beds for my Bedtime Stories (available on Patreon).