Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rokuyo and the Japanese Calendar

This week one of my students told me he and his wife went out on Sunday and bought a new car. I was surprised because the weather was so bad (Typhoon 21) that day. He said his wife insisted because she wanted to buy the car on a Taian day. He said the car dealership was very busy on Sunday because of Taian.  I had never heard of it and his English level wasn't such that he could explain it beyond Taian is a good luck day and Butsumetsu is a bad luck day. 

Being oh so very curious about this, I had to turn to google to find out more.  I found a website that explained things to me in simple terms and in English. Japan uses a seven day calendar, but also has a six day unofficial calendar.  

The seven day names were simply from the Chinese philosophies of yin-yang, plus the five classical Taoist elements: fire, water, wood, metal and earth.

  • Sunday - nichi-youbi (yang - sun)
  • Monday - getsu-youbi (yin - moon)
  • Tuesday - ka-youbi (fire)
  • Wednesday - sui-youbi (water)
  • Thursday - moku-youbi (wood)
  • Friday - kin-youbi (metal/gold)
  • Saturday - dou-youbi (earth)

The  seven days have been used in Japan for around 1200 years, but Japan also had a six day system known as Rokuyo (roku meaning 6 and yo meaning day) based on good luck and bad luck.  It's not part of the official calendar, but still found in small print on many Japanese calendars. The six days and their meanings are

先勝 – Sensho (also known as Senkachi or Sakigachi)**

  • Good luck in the morning, bad luck in the afternoon. A good day for starting new ventures and dealing with urgent business.
    It is also favoured for success in sporting events, yet for most matches there are winners and losers. So for a win-win situation, the sporting event should be something like breaking a personal-best record running a marathon or lifting a heavier weight.
    Sensho is also favoured for those summoned to appear court, but again, in many cases there are victims and perpetrators. A win-win situation could be a successful acquittal of a so-called 'victimless crime' or an amnesty from a crime that society now agrees is outdated and should be abolished.

友引 – Tomobiki

  • Good luck all day, except at noon. The kanji literally translated means "pulling friends".
    Not considered a good day for winning at a sports match, since sports are best enjoyed when playing with friends. In the spirit of sportsmanship a player wants their opponent to enjoy the game, even if that means letting the opponent win.
    Tomobiki is a good day for a wedding, where you can pull your friends into the spirit of love. However, since the end of the Edo period, Tomobiki days are avoided for funerals, where your friends might be pulled to the "other side".

先負 – Sakimake (also known as Senmake or Senbu)**

  • Bad luck in the morning, good luck in the afternoon. Better not start any new venture until after noon.
    Urgent business should be deferred until later in the day, as should attempting to settle disputes and public affairs.

仏滅 – Butsumetsu

  • Unlucky all day, because it's the day Buddha died. Best to avoid doing anything important on this day.
    Life is full of important events and some give no control over scheduling. But non-urgent medical check-ups can be deferred for a day, as can moving house, opening a new shop, having a wedding ceremony, etc.
    Some people believe that if you become ill on a Butsumetsu day, the illness will last for long time.

大安 – Taian

  • The kanji means "great peace". This auspicious day is the finest for wedding ceremonies, starting new business ventures, having success with love, exams, etc.
    Also a good day for surgery, starting building projects, moving house, travel, etc.

赤口 – Shakku (also known as Shakko or Jakko)**

  • Bad luck all day except at noon. The kanji literally means "red mouth" and a caution to carpenters, chefs, etc., who use knives. The red symbolises blood and fire, so fire-eaters should take care also!

Today (October 28th 2017) happens to be a Taian day.

Do you believe in Lucky and Unlucky days?  What do you think about Friday the 13th?  I don't consider myself superstitious, but I do find these things to be very interesting!


Ann said...

Mike McNamara, a quilter in California adds the Chinese year symbol to each of his quilts. Fun to look for the rooster or pig or whatever in each and determine when it was made. I wish I'd known earlier. Could we mark daily work with a symbol, too? Probably not. All we'd have is the day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela wow this is interesting,yes i am superstitious so i would follow the lucky and unlucky days,Japanese culture is so interesting,thankyou for sharing xx

Queeniepatch said...

I have not seen any evidence of good or bad luck on these days, BUT there is plenty of evidence that following this belief will steer your life.
When to buy the car? On a good-luck day of course; for safe and enjoyable driving!
Now if my quilting is giving me trouble, I know why!

Lin said...

Thts'a fascinating Pamela - thank you. xx

Mia said...

Very interesting post, Pamela. I do believe in lucky and unlucky days! Have a great weekend, my friend.

kiwikid said...

Very interesting post Pamela, I am not superstitious but like you find it interesting.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Yes! It IS interesting. My mother TAUGHT me to be superstitious but the older I got, the less I believed in such things. Friday the 13th is just another day. Black cats crossing my path does not raise the hair on the back of my neck. How ever, there are things I do believe in like the Evil Eye. No lucky days or numbers for me.

Thanks for another great post.
xx, Carol

Leonore Winterer said...

How interesting! I knew a bit about Taian days, but not about the six-day-calender. I didn't think the lucky days came around every week!