mythology

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…

The Mythical Couple Who Gave Birth to Japan’s 800+ Shinto Deities

Approximately 90% of the Japanese population are followers of Shintoism (神道), Buddhism (仏教) or both. This can be attributed to the high regards paid by the Japanese towards their ethnic origins as well as the value they put on ancient traditions. Shintoism, in particular, has been popular both in traditional and pop culture thanks to…

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…

9 Intriguing and Spooky Japanese Superstitions You Might Not Know Of

Every country and culture have their own superstitions that they learn from birth or from growing up and are part of their identity. For example, in the UK, our superstitions include not stepping on the cracks and not walking under ladders or you’ll get bad luck. Japan has their own superstitions and beliefs, some of…

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…

2 of Japan’s Mythological Creatures and Their Real Counterparts

While blood-drinking bats have been incorporated in the tales of Transylvania’s Dracula, in Japan there are also some real animals that have become the central part of their mythology. Baku and Tapirs hyakumonogatari.com/ The history of baku originates from China as a creature with the trunk of an elephant, the eyes of a rhinocerous, the…

The Road to Hell and Celebrating Death in Japan

Heaven and Hell are common in any religion. Japan has many religions and the Japanese concept of hell is quite interesting. There are two major religions in Japan which are: Shinto and Buddhism. There are minor religions as well, such as the Ainu religion followed by the indigenous Ainu people of Japan. There are quite…

Take a Step into the Afterlife at Eerie Mount Osore

There are three most sacred places in Japan: Mount Osore (Osorezan), Koyasan and Hieizan. Among the three, Osorezan, translated to “Fear Mountain,” is considered as the “gateway to hell.” ichinen-fourseasonsinjapan.blogspot.jp/ The place has a peculiar and strange feeling making tourists uneasy and wanting to leave the place as soon as they get there. This is…

The Origins of Japan’s Most Famous Monster Kappa

There are all sorts of monsters and ghosts mentioned in Japanese mythical stories which have always intrigued millions of people. They’re the Oni (鬼), which literally means demons, though it is more suitable to describe it as a demon; and also the Tengu (天狗), legendary creatures with the head and the wings of a bird.…

Japanese National Foundation Day and the History Behind It

Every country has at least one National Holiday commemorating the day the country was founded or the day the country became glorified etc. Japan has been sovereign and isolated throughout its history. It is believed that the foundation of Japan has taken place some two thousand years ago by its first Emperor named Jimmu. The…
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