©B.Meyer 2010. All rights reserved. All images and text are the property of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Bean throwing fun- Japan’s Setsubun festival

Children throw soy-beans at the Japanese festival of Setsubun at Sensoji temple in Tokyo, Japan

It’s not often that kids get a chance to chuck food around, without getting in trouble from Mum. But that’s what the Japanese festival of Setsubun is all about.

On Setsubun children and adults throw dried soybeans around in celebration of the change of season and to drive away evil spirits.

Thought to have originated in the 1400’s the festival marks the coming of the Lunar New Year and is typically celebrated with Mame Maki the ritual of throwing soybeans and is held in households and temples through out  the country on February 3rd.

Father’s put on monster masks, and children follow him around the house with cries of “Oni wa sato, Fuku wa uchi” (Out with evil, in with good) as they throw soybeans at him in each room of the house to ward off evil spirits. After throwing the beans each member of the household is meant to eat one bean for each year of age plus one for good health in the coming new year.

If you are in Japan around Feb 3rd go along to Setsubun and have a blast as the kids scream around chasing monsters and the adults return to being kids again at least for a while.


4 responses

  1. Nice shot, lots of action. Did you take it this year?

    March 28, 2010 at 8:55 am

  2. Hi, No. I shot it a couple of years ago. Nice atmosphere at the temple.

    March 28, 2010 at 12:40 pm

  3. Hi Bruce,

    Liked the blog here about Setsubun, nicely written and good shot to illustrate it. I looked thgrough your site and liked all the other setsubun shots as well, the guys in the tengu masks are brilliant. Your landmine work from Bosnia is excellent as well, a really good piece to cover.


    April 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm

  4. Cheers Will. Thanks for the workflow tips

    April 30, 2010 at 5:03 am

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