setsubun oni beans

Episode 29: The Devils are Coming! (Setsubun)


The devils are coming! Or the ogres or demons, depending on how you translate the Japanese word oni (鬼). February 3rd is Setsubun in Japan and it’s not just the day before spring according to the lunar calendar, it’s also the day that oni prowl the streets and children must pelt them roasted soybeans to insure good luck for the coming year. In this episode of Uncanny Japan, I talk about Setsubun and the various ways it’s celebrated.


Eho-maki Sushi for Good Luck!

This years good luck direction to face when eating your eho-maki is east northeast.

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Notes: Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

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4 Responses

  1. I recently stumbled upon your podcast as I was looking for Japan-related podcasts. Your podcasts are well made and always a joy to listen to. It’s great that I get to learn about Japan and am able to relax at the same time. Looking forward to more episodes. =)

    1. Jack, thank you so much for listening and commenting. I’m aiming for two a month in 2019, working on the next one now. Very glad to have you along for the ride.

  2. The superstition about eating eho-maki in silence and making a wish: I’ve heard something similar about the mince pies we eat at Christmas in the UK (not sure they exist anywhere else) – eat a mince pie in silence and you’ll have one happy month in the coming year.
    PS Setsubun is my favourite Japanese festival. We always threw beans when my kids were small – not sure what my neighbours here in the UK made of it!

    1. I had never heard that before about eating mince pies in silence. Thank you for sharing! And I love that you did the bean throwing there! Oni wa soto!

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