Episode Seven: Princess Mononoke: Nature, Shintoism, and Connections to Japanese Folklore

Produced by: Tristan Wilson, Abigail Stewart, Lakken Miller, Phoenix, and Julia Matthews

Hello everyone!

We are so happy to share this podcast with you! We hope you learn something new!


Group Mononoke has created a podcast that focuses on the film Princess Mononoke and its connection to nature, Shintoism, and Japanese folklore and mythological creatures. This podcast begins with a brief synopsis of the film and information about the Muromachi period of Japan (the time period that the film is set in). The podcast concludes by discussing the director’s interpretation of Shinto.

Group Contributions:

  • Abigail Stewart: research on nature/Shintoism, Princess Mononoke
  • Lakken Miller: research on Shintoism, Princess Mononoke
  • Phoenix: research on Muromachi period of Japan, Princess Mononoke
  • Tristan Wilson: research on mythological creatures, Princess Mononoke
  • Julia Matthews: research on Shintoism, editor of audio


Works Cited:

Alexander, Skye. Unicorns: The Myths, Legends, & Lore. Adams Media Corporation, 2015.Foster,

Grilli, Peter & Westphal, David, directors. Shinto: Nature, Gods, and Man in Japan. Japan Society, 1977.

Michael, Dylan. The Book of Yokai. University of California Press, 1994.

Morton, W. Scott. Japan: Its History and Culture. McGraw-Hill, 1994.

Muromachi Period: 1392-1573. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2002. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/muro/hd_muro.htm. Accessed 12 January 2017.

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

Walker, Brett L. The Lost Wolves of Japan. University of Washington Press, 2009.

Zuo, Qiuming. The Chronicle of Zuo (Chunqiu Zuo Zhuan). JiaHu Books, 2013.

“30 Years of Ghibli: Princess Mononoke.” Entropy Magazine, http://entropymag.org/30-years-of-ghibli-princess-mononoke/

Episode Six: Yokai Parade

Hello everyone! Our group is the Shudan Borei, which translates to “Group of Ghosts”. Our group members include Evan Whitis, Lauren Moore, Victoria Cummings, and Zoe Doubles.

This episode of the “Gods, Ghosts, and Spirits of East Asia” podcast series covers a group of four yokai, which are the kappa, oni, nurarihyon, and the kuchisake-onna. Our podcast looks at the cultural significance of these yokai, what context they were created into, and in some cases, how the yokai have changed with the culture of Japan.

Host and Sound Editor: Evan Whitis

Lauren Moore- The Kappa
Eli Rue- The Oni
Zoe Doubles- The Nurarihyon
Victoria Cummings- The Kuchisake-onna

Works Cited

Music: Nenbutsu Ceremony part 1 by Japanese Communities

Antoni, Klaus J. Momotarō (the Peach Boy) and the spirit of Japan: concerning the function of a fairy tale in Japanese nationalism of the early Shōwa age. Nagoya: Nanzan U, 1991. Print.

Beardsley, Richard K. et al. Village Japan. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1959.

Brandon Howard. A Yokai Parade Through Time in Japan.

Dore, Ronald Philip, and Reinhard Bendix. Aspects of Social Change in Modern Japan. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1967.

Foster, Michael Dylan. Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai. Berkeley: U of California, 2009. Print.

Foster, Michael Dylan. “The Question of the Slit‐Mouthed Woman: Contemporary Legend, the Beauty Industry, and Women’s Weekly Magazines in Japan.” Signs, vol. 32, no. 3, 2007, pp. 699–726. www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/510542.

Foster, Michael Dylan, and Kijin Shinonome. The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore. Oakland, CA: U of California, 2015. Print.

Hori, Ichiro et al. Folk Religion in Japan: Continuity and Change. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1968.

Miyake, Hitoshi, and H. Byron. Earhart. Shugendō: essays on the structure of Japanese folk religion. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Japanese Studies, the U of Michigan, 2001. Print.

O, Yasumaro No, and Gustav Heldt. The Kojiki: An Account of Ancient Matters. New York, Columbia University Press, 2014.

Ono, Motonori, and William P. Woodard. Shinto: the Kami Way. Rutland, VT, C.E. Tuttle Co., 1983.

Reider, Noriko T. “Shuten Dōji: ‘Drunken Demon.’” Asian Folklore Studies, vol. 64, no. 2, 2005, pp. 207–231. www.jstor.org/stable/30030420.

Sansom, George Bailey. A history of Japan to 1334. Stanford, CA: Stanford U Press, 1958. Print.

Seki, Keigo. Folktales of Japan. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1963.

Shirane, Haruo, and Sonja Arntzen. Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600. New York, Columbia University Press, 2007.

Tyler, Royall. The Tale of the Heike. New York, Viking, 2012.

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



Episode Four: Death Prepares for a Festival

Produced by: Eve Berry, Lawrence Han, Peyton Goodman, and Sarah Waldo

This podcast discusses the story of “The Star Weaver and the Cowherd” which is a popular story found in both Chinese and Japanese cultures.  It is not only a story for entertainment, but one that showcases Chinese marriage structures throughout its history. The story also shows insight into the process of integration of Chinese culture into Japan. One story that serves many functions.


Group Contributions:

Eve Berry: Researched Japanese language sources on Tanabata and worked on audio production.

Lawrence Han: Researched Chinese language sources on Qixi and found original documents of the Chinese story.

Peyton Goodman: Researched English language sources on Chinese marriage and its relation to the story.

Sarah Waldo: Researched English language sources on Japanese marriage and court system.


Music:Canary Productions Music Library

Sound Effects: soundbible.com

Image: Eve Berry

Works Cited:


  • Denny Sargent. Shinto and Its Festivals. Ye Old Goat’s Shoppe, 2000.
  • Hamilton, Clarence H. “Religion and the New Culture Movement in China.” The Journal of Religion, vol. 1, no. 3, 1921, pp. 225–232. www.jstor.org/stable/1195265.
  • Hinsch, Bret. “Women, Kinship, and Property as Seen in a Han Dynasty Will.” T’oung Pao, Second Series, 84, no. 1/3 (1998): 1-20. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4528735.
  • http://www.kyosei-tairyu.jp/star-festival/
  • LaMarre, Thomas, 1959-. Uncovering Heian Japan: an archaeology of sensation and inscription. Durham [N.C.] : Duke University Press, 2000. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.09202.0001.001.
  • Lindsey, William. “Religion and the Good Life: Motivation, Myth, and Metaphor in a Tokugawa Female Lifestyle Guide.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 32, no. 1 (2005): 35-52. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30233776.
  • McCullough, William H. “Japanese Marriage Institutions in The Heian Period.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 27 (1967): 103-67. doi:10.2307/2718385.
  • Morton, W. Scott, and J. Kenneth. Olenik. Japan : Its History and Culture. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005. Web.
  • Robins-Mowry, Dorothy. The Hidden Sun: Women of Modern Japan. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983.
  • Tang, Zongli. “Confucianism, Chinese Culture, and Reproductive Behavior.Population and Environment, vol. 16, no. 3, 1995, pp. 269–284. www.jstor.org/stable/27503398.
  • You Seihou 楊 静芳.中日七夕伝説における天の川の生成に関する比較研究. “A comparison of the creation of the Milky Way in the Chinese and Japanese Tanabata Legend.” Tokyo Gakugei University Repository, 2012.


Episode Three: Everyday Confucianism: Confucian Influences on Social Interaction in Heian and Kamakura Japan

One does not often consider the social norms that influence her actions on a daily basis. These norms come from an even less regarded underlying ideology that shape how one views things like her relationship with her parents, elderly people, lust, desire and how one behaves based on her gender. In this episode, we take a closer look at the ideology that shapes how people interact with and view the world around them, not in our own time and place, but in Heian and Kamakura Japan. In particular, we examine how Confucian ideology, imported from China, impacted both the behavior and understandings of social norms for individuals during these periods in Japanese history.

Henry Hawkins, Jacob Cooper, Maddy Coleman, Madison Rice, and Will Vineyard discuss the significant relationship between Confucian ideology and how people in Heian and Kamakura Japan treated elderly people, acted towards their parents, indulged in or avoided lust and desire, and looked at women and women’s’ roles in society. Using stories written during these two time periods along with the Confucian Analects we establish this relationship between Confucianism and Heian and Kamakura Japan.


Group Contributors:

  • Henry Hawkins: Collector of primary and secondary sources. Script editor. Podcast structural organizer. Editor of audio. Speaker on the introduction of Confucianism into Japan and on the presence of filial piety in tales written during the Kamakura period.
  • Jacob Cooper: Primer source compiler. Script editor. Head of legal counsel. Speaker on the presence of Confucian influences on elder respect in Heian Japan and Confucian influences on conceptions of lust during the Heian period.
  • Maddy Coleman: Script Editor. Speaker on the presence of Confucian ideology in Japanese tales concerning lust.
  • Will Vineyard: Expert on and researcher of Yokai. Script editor. Speaker on the subdued role of woman in Heian, Kamakura, and Muromachi Japan caused, in part, by Confucianism.
  • Madison Rice: Script editor. Podcast host.


Work Cited

Picture: http://www.womenofchina.cn/

Music: Canary Productions

Ruch, Barbara. “The Other Side of Culture in Medieval Japan” in Vol.3 of The Cambridge History of Japan edited by John W. Hall, Marius B. Jansen, Madoka Kanai, and Denis Twitchett, 500-543. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Confucius. The Analects of Confucius. Translated by Simon Leys New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.

Hane, Mikiso. Premodern Japan: a Historical Survey. Boulder: Westview Press, 1991.

Hsü, Leonard Shih-lien. The Political Philosophy of Confucianism; anInterpretation of the Social and Political Ideas of Confucius, his Forerunners, and his Early Disciples. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1932.

Mason, R. H. P., and J. G. Caiger. A History of Japan. New York: Tuttle Publishing, 1997.

Shively, Donald H. and William H. McCullough, “Introduction” in Vol. 2 of The Cambridge History of Japan edited by Donald H. Shively and William H. McCullough, 1-19. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Tyler, Royall. Japanese tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.


Episode Two: Buddha Got Back


Produced by: Kaylyn Berg, Thomas Darrah, Trace Oliver, Adam Riekert, and Emily Winkler.

In this episode of “Gods, Ghosts, and Spirits of East Asia”, Group Two discusses Buddhism and Buddhist themes that connect a Chinese tale and a Japanese tale. These tales come from the Tang Dynasty period of China (618-907 C.E.) and the Nara to Kamakura period in Japan (800-1300 C.E.) and are “The Crazy Bookworm” from Chinese Ghost and Love Stories and “The Invisible Man” from Japanese Tales.   The tales also had underlying themes of preexisting ideologies and religions from the respective countries, which are some interesting talking points in the podcast.

Adam and Trace covered much of the historical background and context for China and Japan.  They were  extremely valuable resources when it came to the historical background because they both are very knowledgeable about China and Japan.  Thomas and Emily really enjoyed looking into the tales and summarizing them for the podcast.  They found the themes of Buddhism and the preexisting themes of Confucianism and Shintoism that were tied into the stories interesting.  Kaylyn became the expert on Buddhism and gives an overall introduction of Buddhism to the listener.  All members of the group contributed to the discussion and gave their thoughts and views throughout the podcast.

Special thanks to Kaylyn and Thomas for the production and editing of the podcast and shoutout to Dr. Harney for his valuable insight on creating a well-organized and cohesive podcast!


Works Cited

Primary Sources

P’u, Sung-ling. Chinese Ghost & Love Stories. Pantheon Books, 1946.

Tyler, Royall. Japanese Tales. New York: Pantheon, 1987. Print.

Secondary Sources

De Bary, Theodore, Donald Keene, George Tanabe, and Paul Varley. Sources of Japanese 

Tradition. Second ed. Vol. One. New York: Columbia U, 2006. Print.

De Bary, Theodore, Burton Watson, Wing-tsit Chan. Sources of Chinese Tradition. Vol. Two.

Columbia University Press, 1960. Print.

Conze, Edward. Buddhism: Its Essence and Development. Windhorse Publications, 1951.

Kidder, J. Edward. “Early Buddhist Japan.” Asian Perspectives 19.2 (1976): 324.

Reischauer, Edwin O. Ennin’s Travels in T’ang China. New York: Ronald, 1955. Print.

Saunders, Ernest Dale. “Buddhism in Japan: with an ou lin of its origins in India.” (1964).

Shinshu, Jodo. “Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan.” (1989).

Smith, David Howard. Chinese Religions. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968.

Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro. Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism. Schocken Books Inc, 1963. Print.