10 Strange Japanese Superstitions
Ahhhh… You’ll have a nice shower at the end of a day. And you may decide to clip your nails…
Well, too bad, because by doing that, supposedly, you are destined to die of young age.
Whhhaaat?! Why? Who the heck decided such a silly rule?
Well, it’s just one of the many Japanese superstitions.
Just like any other superstitions around the world, some makes much sense; others don’t make sense at all.
It’s a fun little trivia to know and also may save you from accidentally doing something offensive to the people in Japan.
Here are some more Japanese superstitions:
1. Don’t whistle at night, or a snake or a ghost will attack you.
Well, this makes some sense, because back in the days, when child trafficking was still pretty active after dark, whistling was a signal to call out the sellers. By creating a superstition like this, kids were taught by the parents to be wary of making any noise at night.
2. If a wife wears pants in your household, you’ll have a baby boy. If a husband wears pants in your household, you’ll have a baby girl.
Baby boys have been more treasured in Japan. By setting up a superstition like this, I am assuming this encouraged the wives to be tougher and better at taking charge of the households.
3. If you lie down right after finishing a meal, you’ll turn into a cow.
This is a classic one! As a child, I’ve heard this one so many times! Fortunately, I am still a two-legged creature.
4. If three people take a photo together, the person in the middle dies first.
Another classic superstition! This is derived from the fact that the central subject is the most focused one in photography. Back when the technology was still rare, people used to fear and believe that photography sucked people’s soul out of the subjects. More focused, stronger your soul was sucked out; hence, the middle subject was believed to die early.
5. When you see a reikyusha (Japanese funeral truck that contains a dead body that’s yet to be cremated.), make sure to hide your thumbs, or your parents or older relatives will die.
This makes no sense. By the way, would you like to know what reikyusha looks like?
It’s a totally pimped up circus car! Too bad, you only get to ride such a fancy car after your death.
6. Don’t press the hair whorl, or you’ll have diarrhea.
I remember as a kid, I pulled pranks on fellow students to sneak behind them and push the hair whorl. I have no idea of its accuracy, but I’m sure it has something to do with reflexology/acupressure point on the crown.
7. If green tea’s stalk floats vertically in a cup, it brings a good luck.
I heard this was a clever word-of-mouth sales tactic created by tea makers back in the days. Leafy green teas were cheaper kind, and the one that contained stalks were more expensive kind. Clearly, the superstition was in order to boost the sales of the more expensive kind, and it worked like a charm.
8. If a pregnant woman cleans a bathroom, she’ll have a good-looking child.
This is a funny one. I guess it means; don’t spoil a pregnant woman; get her back to the regular chore.
9. Wives who are born in the Chinese zodiac year of Hinoe Uma丙午, in 1906 and 1966, are believed to be much more dominant than the husbands; so much so that they may end up killing the husbands!
By the way, the next Hinoe Uma comes in 2026.
10. When catfish starts to become unsettling, earthquake will break out soon.
According to Japanese mythology, earthquakes were created by the angry but sacred giant catfish. Now, some may consider this superstition as an extent of the mythical belief, but others suggest there could be a scientific evidence to back it up. We all know wild animal’s instinct wins over the human’s; we’ve evidenced the fleeing wild animals right before the horrendous tsunami hit in Indonesia. So this superstition could be true.
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