Oniwa-soto, Fukuwa-uchi! : Bean-Throwing Ritual
February 3 features a unique ritual in Japan: parched beans are thrown to drive evils away and invite good fortune in. The ritual takes place everywhere throughout the day - at home, temples and shrines.
Naritasan Shinshoji, a famous temple in Narita City, Chiba, is one of the most popular sites of bean-throwing drawing tens of thousands of people every year.
The new sumo grand champion Yokozuna Kisenosato joined this year's bean-throwing celebrities to highlight the ritual which started back in the Yedo Period to wish for bumper crops. Every year big names, such as sumo wrestlers, actors and popular celebrities to promote the occasion. Kisenosato was accompanied by Yokozuna
Hakuho and the actor Gin Maeda who performs in NHK's feature historical drama "Lordess Naotora".
The ritual features a set of two "calls" upon throwing beans - Oniwa-soto and Fukuwa-uchi" meaning "Out the evils; In Good Fortune". Naritasan Shinshoji stands out with its own tradition of skipping the evil-driving call, Oniwa-soto, on common belief that the principal image "Fudo-Myooh" had tamed the evil to stay in the temple compound.
Beans are thrown from the stage in front of the main hall in all directions so that the crowds may have a chance to catch them for good luck.
A man in his 70's from Matsudo commented:
" I never miss this ritual here at Naritasan Shinshoji to wish for my family's wellbeing. Kisenosato looks dignified after being promoted to the rank of Yokozuna."
The ritual repeated itself three times at Naritasan Shinshoji with over 1200 kilos soybeans and peanuts. The temple officials estimate a total of 70 thousand people joined the ritual this year - 20 thousand more than average years "thanks" probably to Yokozuna Kisenosato.
His job done, Kisenosato had this to say to the reporters:
"I'm really thankful to so many people coming to the ritual I participated." (Nathan Shiga)