Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the University of Essex's Myth Reading Group to run a session on Japanese folklore. The group is part of the university's Centre for Myth Studies, which aims to support and promote the study of myth. For the past two terms, the Myth Reading Group has been focusing on trees... Continue Reading →
Tottori may be Japan's least populated prefecture in terms of people, but if it's yōkai you're counting then it will come out on top. In the city of Sakaiminato, they have taken over the streets with their somewhat disturbing charm. In Japanese folklore, yōkai are mischievous supernatural creatures akin to spirits or demons in Western culture. The... Continue Reading →
In the city of Ise, you will find many shops selling charms in the shape of dogs. These things are homage to the Okage Inu (thankful dog) of local legend.
Where there are castles, there are also stories. Himeji is no exception. This vibrant, serene city is also home to one of Japan's most famous ghost stories.
In Mie Prefecture, on the east coast of Japan, I learned stories of sea demons, underwater dragon palaces, and the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.
In Western countries, there are stories of the man in the moon. But in Japanese folklore, instead it's a mochi-making rabbit.
Imagine going to boil some water, and suddenly your kettle sprouts legs and runs away. Or turning a light on, to find your paper lampshade grinning at you and waggling a long tongue. You might have a spirit problem, but these are no ordinary poltergeists. Meet the tsukumogami! Tsukumogami is the collective name given to a type of yokai... Continue Reading →