Supernatural and Mysterious Japan: Spirits, Hauntings , and Paranormal Phenomena

This is a very good and very detailed small book into the supernatural in Japan. Information ranges from tales from the Edo era to present-day hauntings. A few of the more interesting pieces of information include the following:

There are believed to be over 8 million dieties according to Japanese belief. These are referred to as kami and can live anywhere. Their opposites, oni are the demons who mirror the "dark side of human nature." If you watch anime you will hear from time to time the term kami-sama, which is the Japanese way of saying kami, but adding the honorific -sama to the base word.

For those who have played Animal Crossing, the kappa will be familiar. This is a creature that has a beaked mouth, a scaly body with a tortoise shell and a hollow or bald spot on the top of its head whose favorite food is the cucumber. In Animal Crossing it's a friendly creature who rows you to your island and back. In Japanese mythology, it's most unfriendly, trying to drown children and washerwomen.

The tanuki is a raccoon-like creature that is a shape-shifter. Miyazaki's film Pom Poco tells a tale about these creatures.

Japanese shamans were referred to as miko.

Japan has had its share of prophets. A woman named Deguchi Nao foretold Japan's war with China and with Russia over a decade in advance. She also practiced automatic writing .

In 1873 a law was passed outlawing mediums and psychics, and in 1874 another law outlawed faith healers and psychic healers.

There's a lot of other information in this book including some folk-tales.

Main Index
Japan main page
Japanese-American Internment Camps index page
Japan and World War II index page