Yakuyoke and Yakubarai: Remove Your Bad Luck for the Year!

  • Are you currently feeling like the year is not treating you well? Then you should check whether you are at the age when you will face bad luck. The Japanese believe in yakudoshi, in which men will suffer bad luck at the ages of 25, 42, and 61. On the other hand, the bad years for women occur when they reach the ages of 19, 33, 37. There may be variations in the ages of bad luck according to different temples or shrines.


    It is believed that 33 is a particularly hard year for women while for men, it is the age of 42 when they will be facing terrible lives. Those really unlucky years are known as honyaku. Many people also believe that the year before (maeyaku) and the year after (atoyaku) yakudoshi are inauspicious years of which you should be wary about. Thus, it seems like women will be facing a pretty long streak of bad years during their 30s. Traditionally, the age in Japanese has an addition of one year due to the inclusion of the period of conception, so if you were born in 2006, you are actually aged 11 in 2016.

    Yakuyoke and Yakubarai


    To remove the bad luck or yaku accumulated over the years, the Japanese would usually go to shrines for yakubarai or temples for yakuyoke which are purification processes to wash away their bad luck.

    Usually, yakuyoke or yakubarai is done at the beginning of the year when maeyaku year is approaching. People would go to the temple or shrines to pray, get some lucky charms, ring the bells to the number of times equivalent to their ages, or throw away their handkerchiefs or other items they wear to ward off evil spirits. There are also people who would invite a group of people to share their bad luck so instead of a person having a strong case of bad luck, the bad luck will be distributed into little portions over a group of people.

    Yakubarai and yakuyoke can be equated to exorcism done by priests. When moving to a house where there was a previous occupant had died, the ritual can also be done to cleanse the house. The difference is that the ritual is referred to as yakubarai in the Shinto religion, and as yakuyoke in Buddhism.

    If you are approaching your age of bad luck, perhaps you should consider going for a cleansing ritual to minimize your bad luck. Even if you are not superstitious, there is no harm doing the ritual. What do you think? Would you want to try yakuyoke or yakubarai?

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