Palmistry is an ancient practice that was present in many civilizations throughout history, from Persia to Babylonia. To this date, many people hold a firm belief in fortune teller, and Japan is not exception. If one strolls places like the areas around Shinjuku Station at night, they will likely several palm readers’ booths. In Japan, there is a belief that if you have a certain special palm line that is quite rare, then it means you will be lucky, wealthy, and successful throughout your endeavors in life. This is what’s knows as the masukake line.
Most people have two separate palm lines called the heart line and head line on the upper half of their palms. However, approximately 10% of people have the heart line and head line fused together to form one straight line across the palm, which is known in Japan as the masukake line.
This is actually called single transverse palmar crease, sometimes known by its older name of “simian crease” because it’s a condition similar to that of simians. As you can imagine, that term has fallen out of favor because of the negative connotation it has. In humans, the single transverse palmar crease is widely present in those with Down syndrome.
A palm with the masukake line is said to be the mark of a conqueror. People who have this palm line supposedly demonstrate superior leadership skills and were born with great talents. They are very lucky from the moment they were born and will achieve huge success with their amazing capabilities. There are many people with the masukake line who have found wealth at a young age or been very successful with their pursuits.
However, all good things come at a price. It is also said that people with this unusual trait are hard-headed, do not listen to other people’s opinions, and tend to be clumsy when it comes to love.
It is said that Tokugawa Ieyasu, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Oda Nobunaga, who were top military leaders in old Japan, possessed the masukake line. Ieyasu was the first shogun of the Edo shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa shogunate, which lasted from 1600 to 1868.
Famous figure skater Shoma Uno, who won the silver medal in men’s singles at the 2018 Winter Olympics, also possesses the masukake line. Former prime ministers Kishi Fukuda and Eisaku Sato, as well as manga artist Osamu Tezuka, whose artwork gained popularity when he was only 17 years old, also have the masukake line. Outside Japan, people known to possess this line include Hillary Clinton and Rober De Niro.
The Great Buddha in Nara also possesses the masukake line. Interestingly, he is also typically portrayed as having large ears, which is commonly known in Japan as a sign that a person will achieve wealth.
Even in anime, a referral to the masukake line can be found, and especially fans of the One Piece series may find the following information interesting. The character Monkey D. Luffy also has the conqueror’s palm.
This should not be so surprising since the masukake line suits Luffy’s personality, and thus incorporating that detail into the character would make a lot of sense.
Just like any country around the world, Japan is no strange to odd superstitions. We already covered that big ears are associated with wealth. Besides that, some Japanese superstitions include that hiccuping 100 times in a row will lead to the person’s death, cutting your fingernails and toenails at night brings bad luck, seeing a spider at night time brings bad luck, seeing a spider in the morning, though, brings good luck.
If you believe in palm reading, then you can check whether anyone you know possesses the famous masukake line and whether the common beliefs associated with it truly apply to those who have it; and if you don’t really believe in such kinds of superstitions, learning new information regarding folklore, superstitions, and common beliefs is always interesting.
Next time you walk around Shinkuju Station, you can also stop by a fortune teller to see what they have to say about your future and fortunes. However, if you do not master Japanese, make sure you bring someone who can truly translate what’s happening. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a fortune you will not understand or that will be poorly interpreted.