Episode 89: Japanese Folklore Feat. Reina Scully

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Welcome to Episode 89! For our third episode of Spooky Szn 2021, we decided to have on our good friend Reina Scully to school us in the spookiest of Japanese Folklore! This week, we discuss “Kokkuri San”, “Hitobashira”, “Teke Teke”, “Tomino’s Hell”, and “Kuchisake Onna” in a very special episode of Japanese-themed hauntings.

Kokkuri: Kokkuri, or Kokkuri-san, refers to a paranormal game of divination, similar to the American Ouija Board. The word kokkuri refers to the game, the actual physical apparatus, and kokkuri-san refers to the being that is summoned that is considered by the Japanese to be some sort of animal spirit that is a mix between a fox, dog, and raccoon. The game is played by writing characters on a piece of paper (much like a Ouija Board) and moving a coin around the board instead of a planchette.

Hitobashira: Hitobashira refers to a cultural practice of human sacrifice used formerly in Japan, in addition to many other eastern and southeastern countries found in Asia, wherein humans were buried alive near large-scale construction projects (such as castles, bridges, and dams) as an offering to the gods to keep the structure safe from harm.

Teke Teke: Teke Teke is a Japanese urban legend about the ghost of a schoolgirl whose body was cut in half when she was run over by a train in a mysterious accident. Due to the unfortunate circumstances of her demise, her ghost is doomed to roam urban areas using only her hands and elbows since her lower half no longer exists. The dragging of her torso across the ground makes a “teke teke” noise similar to a skittering or scratching noise. She carries around a large scythe that she uses to chop unsuspecting passers-by in half.

Tomino’s Hell: Written by Japanese poet Saijo Yaso at the end of WWI, “Tomino’s Hell” is a dark and unsettling poem believed to curse, or even kill, anyone who reads it out loud.

Kuchisake Onna: Kuchisake-onna, meaning “Slit-Mouthed Woman”, is a popular urban legend about a malicious spirit who wears a mask to cover her mouth. She stops strangers in the night and asks “Do you think I’m beautiful?” Regardless of the answer (except in rare circumstances), she will tear off her mask, revealing her mutilated mouth, before killing the stranger.

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Episode edited by Ryan: https://twitter.com/RyanFarroki

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