Japanese Shinto culture

The Japanese culture has a religion of Shinto embedded within it. This is followed at the many shrines around the country. One of their important jobs is the process of purification for health and good luck.

In this blog about one of these cultures, Aizawa sensei gives a brief introduction to one of these Shinto beliefs and traditions. Read the Japanese to learn more vocabulary and listen to the video to learn fluent Japanese pronunciation.

Japanese exorcism






厄祓いの時期は、地域によって異なりますが、年の節目である新年1月1日から節分までに行われることが多いようです。 一般的に厄祓いは、厄年に行われますが、日々の生活で少しずつ溜まっていく「日常厄」を、祓い落とすために、日本の行事である2月3日の節分は、厄年に関係なく行われる、まさに厄祓いの行事の一つとも言えます。



To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.



厄祓(やくばら)いの時期(じき)は、地域(ちいき)によって異(こと)なりますが、年(とし)の節目(ふしめ)である新年(しんねん)1月(いちがつ)1日(ついたち)から節分(せつぶん)までに行(おこな)われることが多(おお)いようです。 一般的(いっぱんてき)に厄祓(やくばら)いは、厄年(やくどし)に行(おこな)われますが、日々(ひび)の生活(せいかつ)で少(すこ)しずつ溜(た)まっていく「日常厄」(にちじょうやく)を、祓(はら)い落(お)とすために、日本(にほん)の行事(ぎょうじ)である2月(にがつ)3日(みっか)の節分(せつぶん)は、厄年(やくどし)に関係(かんけい)なく行(おこな)われる、まさに厄祓(やくばら)いの行事(ぎょうじ)の一(ひと)つとも言(い)えます。



Japanese exorcism

In Japan there is something known as “Yaku Doshi” (an unlucky year or critical age). For men it is said to be the ages of 25, 42 and 61 and for women, the ages of 19, 33 and 37 years old. 19 and 25 are the puberty stages, 33 and 42 are the turning points in life, when the responsibility that men bear in society tends to get heavier, and for women the stage when life gets busier for them as couples and with raising children and so it is said to be the stage when it gets easier for each person to fall ill or have accidents since mental and physical fatigue increases.

For this reason, there is a custom of seeking divine protection to protect from calamity called “Yaku Barai”(a kind of exorcism). The period for this “Yaku Barai” differs from area to area, but most take place during the period between the milestone of the year start, January 1st and the date of Setsubun.

Generally, one has the “Yaku Barai” during one's “Yaku Doshi”, but in order to remove daily misfortunes that build up little by little every day there is the Japanese event of Setsubun on February 3rd which takes place unrelated to the “Yaku Doshi”and really is one of the “Yaku Barai” events in itself.

This process of “Yaku Barai” is not just in Japan but there are also similar traditions in various countries including China, England and Turkey and while the methods of “Yaku Barai” may differ, the customs of this type of exorcism seem to exist.

Do you have a “Yaku Barai” custom in your country ? It would be interesting to research the different methods of exorcism, wouldn't it?

厄年(やくどし)unlucky year; critical age











Konnichiwa. My name is Aizawa. My hometown is Gifu, a place surrounded by the nature of mountains and rivers, but now I'm living in Yokohama, a place overflowing with emotions left over from history here and there, with my family of three. Recently a toy poodle became a member of our family, so now we enjoy spending our days cheerfully.

I have experienced spending a year as an exchange student in Australia . When I first got to know another culture I lost my bearings a little, but at the same time I got a chance to see Japan from abroad, and I was able to feel the beauty of Japanese culture again, so it was a valuable time for me.

In order to learn a language well, you have to do a lot of listening and a lot of conversation. Read the textbook, then use the Japanese actually within the lessons, then listen and the talk again, this is the first step towards improving your Japanese.

I think everyone's motives for learning Japanese are different, but the feeling of wanting to understand the language and speak it, is the same for everyone. Let's face our goals and create fun lessons together.

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