The Four Gods

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The concept of the four gods, also referred to as the four symbols (四象), originates from ancient Chinese astronomy. Astronomers believed there are 28 mansions or constellations spread out along the sky. They divided the sky into four quadrants – north, south, east and west, each containing 7 of the mansions, and with a divine creature ruling each quadrants. These creatures are known as the four gods: the azure dragon, vermillion bird, white tiger and black turtle.  Continue reading

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Ikiryo and Ushi no Toki Mairi

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People have heard of out-of-body experiences, but the Japanese belief takes it a step further. According to folklore, a living spirit is what happens when a spirit leaves a living person to haunt someone, like an out-of-body experience. Supposedly, it takes a strong emotion to provoke this happening – usually hate. If a person holds a strong grudge against another, their spirit could leave their bodies to cause harm against that person, even possibly possessing it.

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Onibaba

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Myths and folklore are littered with ‘villains’ in the form of an old woman. Think Baba Yaga, and virtually every old witch in the fairytales. In Japan, there is the infamous onibaba (鬼婆) from which noh plays and films have draw inspiration.

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