folklore

Do You Know What “Namahage” Is? Find Out at This Museum in Akita, Japan!

If the Western culture has a trick or treat custom wherein kids dress up in scary costumes to play a prank or receive sweets from house owners, in Japan, particularly in Akita Prefecture, grown men in frightful demon masks will come knocking on your door. This is called the Namahage visit. It used to take…

Do You Know These 4 Mythical Beasts Guarding Japan’s Cardinal Directions?

If it’s about myths, folklore, and legends, Japan is a country with a lot to offer. From stories based on local traditions up to those derived from foreign influence through cultural assimilation, the country has developed a rich collection of tales that are mirrored in today’s pop culture. Belief in sacred beasts and spirits is…

All You Need to Know About the Japanese Legendary Creature ‘Tengu’

The Japanese word “Tengu” comes from the two words, “tian” and “gou,” which translates to “heaven” and “dog,” respectively, thus the name “heavenly dog.” Found in old Japanese folktales, Tengu are considered as a type of god in the Shinto religion but are mostly only thought of as supernatural creatures. Let’s find out more about…

Think You Know Japanese Folklore? Check Your Knowledge of These 5 Animal Yokais

Yōkais are famous elements of Japanese folklore and are considered to be a class of supernatural demons and spirits. The word itself is made up of the characters meaning “bewitching; attractive; calamity” and “an apparition; mystery; suspicious.” Together, these characters form a word meaning something like “bewitching, mysterious apparition.” Yōkai can take many forms and…

How Many of These Ghosts from Japanese Folklore Do You Know?

You’ve probably come across the term “yokai (妖怪)” in Japanese. These are supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. They encompass several legends from all parts of Japan and all periods of Japanese history. The ancient times were abundant with these kinds of folktales which have been passed from generations to generations. Until now,…

This Horror Anime Uses the Traditional Japanese Storytelling Kamishibai

After a festive Christmas celebration and an optimistic look to the new year, an anime that uses Japan’s traditional way of storytelling makes us feel like it’s Halloween all over again. Yamishibai (闇芝居): Japanese Ghost Stories returns for its fourth season this January 2017. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, also known as Yami Shibai and Theater…

Uncovering 3 Mythological Creatures Unique to Japan

Recently I was covering a unit in my English Listening class and the subject that was used to teach the lesson was about mythological creatures. It referred to various creatures such as the Lochness Monster, Sasquatch, and Banshee. These are some of the more well-known mythological creatures, but as with most content I use, there…

Urashima Taro: What’s the Moral of this Japanese Folk Legend?

How many folktales and legends do you know? Are there any fables or moral stories that are unique to your country? Folktales are often told throughout generations to simply explain morals and values to children with easy to understand stories. Some folk legends endure hundreds of years and are still well known today. Some examples…

Take a Stroll Down Eerie ’Yokai Street’ and Greet the Monsters Along the Way

In Japanese folklore, a class of supernatural spirits and monsters is called “yokai.” It can also be called mononoke or mamono in other terms. These are often seen in the form of animals as well as humans or as inanimate objects with no specific shape. Most of these are dangerous but some are thought to…
Page 1 of 212