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Tag Archive: Japanese beliefs

Fascinating Japanese Superstitions

  • Posted by:
  • March 15, 2012

Most, if not all, countries have customs and beliefs that make them distinct as a people. These include superstitions, of which the Japanese have many. A lot of these superstitions may sound familiar and could be variations of our own, while others may verge on the bizarre.

You might come across some of these of common Japanese superstitions during your stay in Japan for the KCP program:

  • If you hiccup a hundred times in a row, you will die.
  • If you don’t eat all your rice during meals, you will go blind.

Rice meal | Chi King

  • Hide your bellybutton when it is thundering, or else the god of thunder will eat it.
  • Do not whistle at night unless you want a snake or a ghost to pay you a visit.
  • A broken geta (Japanese wooden footwear) means bad luck.

Broken geta | annemarievanl.

  • The number 4, pronounced as “shi” in Japanese, is considered unlucky since the Japanese word for “death” is pronounced the same. Many Japanese elevators do not include the number 4. The number 9 is also unlucky because it is pronounced “ku”, also the pronunciation of the Japanese words for agony” or “torment.”
  • The number 7 is a lucky or holy number for the Japanese as well as many other cultures. For example, the seventh day after a baby’s birth is a cause for celebration, and the Buddhists believe in seven reincarnations.
  • If you see a funeral hearse traveling on the road, hide your thumbs into fists or else your parents may die. The thumb literally means “parent-finger” and should be hidden when the hearse, which connotes “death”, passes by.

Japanese hearse | Jim Epler

  • Do not lie down after a meal or you will turn into a cow.
  • If you sleep at night with your head facing north, you will have a shorter life. Japanese corpses are laid in that position during their wake.


For more Japanese superstitions, click herehere, and here.

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