Episode Five: Dragons and Snakes: East Asian Folklore and Beyond

Dragons and Snakes: East Asian Folklore and Beyond

Produced by: Caitlin Johnson, William Sarros, Christina Stoler, and Sili Wu

This installment of the “Gods, Ghost, and Spirits of East Asia” podcast series focuses on the representation of dragons and snakes in Japanese folklore, the meaning behind this symbolism, and the context found within Chinese and Japanese history and culture. You will hear in depth discussion of the role of snakes and dragons in Chinese and Japanese culture from Caitlin Johnson with historical context from Sili Wu. Tales and the themes of gender, power, and sexuality will be discussed by Christina Stoler with Sili Wu providing historical context. Moderation and questions will be provided by host, William Sarros.


Group Contributions:

  • William Sarros: In depth research on dragons and snakes in lore. Research and contribution of pop culture references. Host and moderator.
  • Caitlin Johnson: Collector of secondary and primary sources and organization. Contribution of how China and Japan view dragons and snakes, as well as water symbolism. Main editor of audio.
  • Christina Stoler: Editing and producing sound effects/music. Contribution of in depth discussion of gender, power, and sexuality with Japanese tales as symbolized by snakes and dragons. Creation of landing page and music sourcing.
  • Sili Wu: Contribution of in depth historical context with China and Japan. Research collected on Chinese folklore and culture. Translation and description of Chinese and Japanese terms. Linguistics.


Works Cited:

Music: Purple-planet.com “Green Tea”

Image: Clipart by AnimalsClipart.com

Tyler, Royall. Japanese Tales. New York: Random House, Inc., 1987.

Birrell, Anne. Chinese Mythology: An Introduction. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Confucius, James Legge, Dai Sheng, and Luc Guo. The Book of Rites = Li Ji. Beijing: Intercultural, 2013. Print.

Daniels, F. J. “Snake and Dragon Lore of Japan.” Folklore 71, no. 3 (1960): 145-64. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1258001.

de Visser, M. W. The Dragon of China and Japan.  Amsterdam: Johannes Muller, 1913.

Ions, Veronica. Indian Mythology. New York: P. Bedrick Books, 1984.

Picone, Mary. “Lineaments of Ungratified Desire: Rebirth in Snake Form in Japanese Popular Religion.” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, no. 5 (1983): 105-13. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20166691

ShanQin, Yang. ChengYang County Annals, 1755

Spirited Away, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (2001, Studio Ghibli)
Wilson, J. Keith. “Powerful Form and Potent Symbol: The Dragon in Asia.” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art,  (1990), no. 8 186-323.

“YuShe County Annals”, 1881



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