Giving you a little view of Japan without leaving your home!

Prayer letters, curious subjects, events, people, customs, and more for you to enjoy and learn.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Japanese Superstitions



How many of us on a regular day think about superstitions...as Christians we never should have 'things' that lead or guide us in our decisions--just the Word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Even probably most Americans don't really believe in their gimics--unless maybe you are a pro athlete. The Japanese though DO believe in many superstitions that may guide the decisions they make on a daily basis or in other specific areas of their lives. For example:

Luck

You'll get bad luck if you talk back to someone talking in their sleep. You will have bad luck if you break a comb, strap of gata, zori, or wooden shoe. You should always throw salt where a beggar has just been. If the first person you meet on any given day is a woman, you will have good luck. If it is a Buddhist priest, be prepared for a bad day. A good omen is getting a bird dropping on your head. If you are overtaken by a funeral procession on the street, you will have bad luck. A material (paper or wood) wrapped in cloth brings you good luck if you keep it near you at all times. Since the fish known in Japanese as 'tai' (red sea bream) is part of the word 'medetai' (which means good luck) and is also red in color (a celebration color in Japan), it is regarded as the good luck fish of Japan.

Lucky Days

Weddings are usually held on "taian" days (days of great peace) or "tomobiki" days (friend pulling days). Funerals are also held on tomobiki days because it is like pulling a friend to death. "kichi" is a day of great fortune, and "kyo" is a day of bad fortune because it is the day of the Buddha's death. The fourth and fourteenth days of a month are considered unlucky, while the fifteenth and 28th days are thought of as lucky days. Lucky days are good for starting projects and trips.

Unlucky Numbers

"4" is pronounced as 'shi' (she) in Japanese, which is same to the word "death." "9" is pronounced as ku (koo) in Japanese, which is same to the word "pain." So the two are considered as unlucky numbers. Hospitals usually have neither 4th or 9th floors. (copied)

Oh how we desire to show the Japanese that their superstitions do not have to hold them hostage. In Acts 17, Paul said, "... Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious." It also says that Paul's 'heart was stirred in him' because the city was given to idolatry. Idolatry includes both the seen man-made idols of wood, stone and gold as well as the unseen 'gods' of the mind. Pray that the Japanese minds would be open to the truth and desire to be set free from the bonds of superstition in their life. And Praise God for our salvation to free us from the need for superstitions to guide our daily life.


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