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Nisa Ryan

Nisa Ryan is an avid devourer of folklore and literature. She enjoys reading manga and watching anime as well as spending times outdoors. Growing up in Japan, her love of all things Japanese led her to get a B.A. in Asian Studies with a focus on Japanese history and religion. She later received her MA in TESOL from Carson-Newman University and works as an ESL teacher overseas. Currently, she is writing a fantasy novel that takes place in an alternate Japan, along with compiling a book of information on Japanese yokai as they pertain to the religious practices of Shugendō. You can read more about her projects at her website:


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There are many tales about the Tengu. Source: shihina / Adobe Stock.

Magic and Mayhem of Japanese Legend: Don’t Try To Out-Trick A Tengu!

The Tengu were not only protectors of the mountains and the Buddhist faith, they were also known to be mischievous tricksters who, much like their Kitsune cousins, were capable of using magic such as...
The practice of Onmyōdō. Source: Epiximages / Adobe Stock.

The Oriental Magical Practice of Onmyōdō and Its Checkered History

The practice of Onmyōdō has a contentious history in Japan and, for reasons that will become clear, was outlawed for some time along with its close cousin, Shugendō (修験道). Onmyōdō, means literally, ‘...
Japanese demon fox (Ekaterina Glazkova / Adobe Stock)

Beware the Kitsune, The Shapeshifting Fox of Japanese Folklore

Kitsune (狐狸精), the Japanese fox-spirit , is also known as the Kumiho (구미호) in Korea and the Huli Jing (狐狸精) in China. They are basically the same creature but with a few differences based on region...
Yoshitoshi, Ushiwaka Maru learns Martial Arts from Sojobo, King of the Tengu, 1880

The Dogs of Heaven - Tengu and the Secret Practice of Buddhism

The Tengu ( 天狗 ) are possibly the most recognizable of all the Japanese yokai , with their enormous black wings and faces of either a large crow or a red-faced, long-nosed, goblin . They are often...