There are superstitions in almost everywhere in the world and Japan is no exception. Many Japanese superstitions have been imported from different countries especially from China and they are meant to teach or advise people. Most of them are related to language or based on the animistic beliefs from Shinto. Let’s take a look at some of the most common unlucky numbers that you should avoid in Japan or when you communicate with Japanese people.
It is unlucky because the pronunciation of it is “Shi”, which is the same for the word for death (死). 4th floor or rooms with the number don’t exist in most hotels and hospitals to avoid bringing in bad luck to the area, and most companies avoid using consecutive number of 4 for their phone numbers. 42 and 49 are usually not used for cars and racing because they sound Shi-ni:To death (死に) and Shi-ku:To run over/To suffer death(轢く,死苦). In order to avoid the “Shi” pronunciation, the number is often read as “Yon”.
A homophone of this number, “Mu” means Nothing/Empty. The number 6 is not popular for number plates for cars and railway platform. Number 6 is often read as “Roku” in order not to let the energy around disappear in emptiness.
It is read as “Ku”, which means “Torture/Agony/Suffer in pain”. In order to avoid the “Ku” pronunciation, people often change the pronunciation of it to “Kyu”, which is the same sound as 休/救:Relief/Save.
It is the best not to use these numbers in Japan or when you are talking to a Japanese. In addition to 4,6,and 9 numbers, even numbers are considered bad for weddings because they can be divided in half. To wish the couple won’t be divorced and separated, odd numbers are preferred at the occasion. For the same kind of reason, people use odd numbers at a funeral to wish the relationship between the deceased and the rest of the family will not be cut.
Lucky numbers are 7, 8, and 10. 7 is pronounced “Shichi” ,and it is traditionally believed as a lucky number. 8 is read as “Hachi”, which sounds similar to the word Han-ei(繁栄):Prosperity. The sound for 10 is “Ju”, which is a homophone for the word Enough/Replete/Ample.
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