10 Top Japanese Superstitions

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Main 10 Japanese Superstitions that are very popular in Japan. Japan is a country with many popular beliefs and traditions

There are many popular Japanese superstitions. Most of these superstitions are intimately related with the culture and tradition of the Japanese people. It is said that the atomic bomb that caused devastation to the Japanese people also have some link to some superstitious beliefs. Many of the Japanese superstitions have close link with the Chinese traditions also because of the close cultural connections between the two peoples. A major part of the Japanese superstitions are based on the ancient Japanese Pagan beliefs and animalistic traditions in which living and natural things were considered to be endowed with some spirit. Hence in many Japanese superstitions, animal or animal depiction is considered to have the effect of bringing about fortunes good or bad.

(1) This is a popular superstition in Japan. In Japanese tradition a person attending a funeral should not enter his home without throwing salt over him. The throwing of salt is believed to be a purification action.

(2) One of the popular superstitions in Japan is that sleeping with your head in the northern direction could mean that you will have a short life. That is, you may die soon.

(3) One Japanese superstition in the use of red ink. In Japan, writing a person’s name in red ink is considered inauspicious.

(4) If you are in Japan, cutting your finger nail at night might be taken as a sign that you will not be with your parents at their death.

(5) The beckoning cat at business places is considered as lucky. Hence may business houses, shops and restaurants have the lucky cat featured. It is believed that this practice will bring fortune and success.

(6) Here is a Japanese superstition about spiders. A Spider can mean both good and bad to you. If it is in the morning that you see a spider, it is good look and you should not kill it. But, on the other hand, if it is at night that you see a spider it means bad luck for you and you can kill it.

(7) In Japan, in most cases cats are lucky sign. But if a black cat crosses your path, it is an ill-omen and something amiss might befall. This superstition is in fact same as that in the West.

(8) Another Japanese superstition. Suppose in Japan you see a funeral hearse moving before you. Then you should hide your thumb in a fist. This is because the Japanese word for thumb has the literal meaning of "parent-finger". You have seen hearse and hence the meaning of death and the parent in the parent finger will have some link and your parent will die. So you are hiding your thumb.

(9) It is a very popular Japanese superstition. Number 4 is inauspicious in Japan because it has same pronunciation with the word ‘death’ in Japanese. Hence any item in four numbers is considered inauspicious. Hence, you should not give in Japan presents consisting of four pieces. Hotels and other places often skip the number 4 while giving number to rooms.

(10) Sticking chopsticks into the rice is inauspicious in Japan. Chopsticks are not usually stick into food, especially rice. It is only at funerals that chopsticks are stuck into food and placed at the altar.

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Mukhia Gideon
Posted on Feb 28, 2011
Gregory Tarleton-Markov
Posted on May 22, 2010