Oni in

Setsubun is coming. Do you know what to say as you throw the beans?

"Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi" (oni out, fortune in) is traditional, although there is some disagreement about the execution. But it's not universal. There are plenty of temples and shrines with a more positive attitude towards oni -- such as Senzōji, which is...

... dedicated to Yakujin Kiō [厄神王; 鬼 is the character used for "oni" too], a fever-repelling god of Indian origin who is said to use a mallet and chisel to chip off the causes of disease and avert calamity. When throwing beans on Setsubun in February, it is their peculiar practice to say "fuku wa soto, oni wa uchi" ["fortune out, oni in"], invite bad oni into their darkened main hall, and then release these oni back into the world after converting them to the side of good.

The details of this "conversion" (改心) are not clear. I'm guessing it involves a sock full of quarters.

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Nice find.


"改心" is most interesting. My understanding of Japanese pales in comparison to your own, but would that roughly be a "revised heart"?

"I'm guessing it involves a sock full of quarters." is so very, very true. A faith of finances, not truth.




Oh no, Anonymous, I assure you it's entirely true. (Rimshot!)

Yeah, califguy4chirst, I'm afraid I did mean that the sock would be used to knock the oni unconscious. Oni only take credit cards in any case.

As for 改心, yes, that's basically what it means: to make a clean break with one's wicked heart and start again on the straight and narrow. (I find it hard to think of this word without being reminded of 改行, "line break".)


Funny you should say that —I had long known the word (here anonymous remembers that No-sword doesn't take the <i>) "bosh", but had only recently encountered "tosh".


Nice touch with the sock full of quarters. It got a chuckle at the imagination of monks beating oni senseless.

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