These Are Japan’s Lucky and Unlucky Numbers You Should Take Into Consideration When Attending Ceremonies

It's good to know especially when attending occasions like weddings!

Photo iStock

In every culture, there are some considered as lucky numbers and other numbers that are not so auspicious. One of the Ohayo team members in Japan noticed the uniqueness when she chose her apartment. She also had to be mindful of this when she attended her friend’s wedding party. What are those numbers exactly? In this article, we’ll discuss those lucky and unlucky numbers in Japan.

Lucky Number

8: It is written as “?” in kanji. The shape that widens toward the end symbolizes a wish for continuing good fortune. It is the same reason why a Japanese fan is considered as a fortune item because of the shape when it is opened.

Unlucky Number

4: It reminds Japanese people death because of the homonym with the word “?”.

9: It also reminds suffering because of the homonym with the word “?”.

13: Influenced by western culture, people also have a bad image of the number.

People avoid these numbers when it comes to floor levels, hotel rooms, and apartment units.

Odd vs Even

Odd numbers have the characteristic of not being divisible in half. 

It is considered good for wedding occasion because it means wishing that the couple will not be divorced. For example, as a guest, one should be careful of the amount of cash (
goshugi) they will give to the couple. Moreover, a groom and a bride should prepare the number of items for hikidemono, or the gifts to the guests.

Photo iStock

It is also considered good for funeral occasion, wishing the relationship between the
deceased and the rest of the family will not be cut. Similar to weddings, a guest should be careful of the amount of cash they will give the bereaved. This time it has a different name, koden.

Just looking into numbers, you can feel a glimpse of Japanese culture in which everything has a certain meaning. It’s good to remember these things when you’re attending ceremonies in Japan.

 (29 May 2019)

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