Soybeans and the Ritual of Setsubun Term Paper by Master Researcher

Soybeans and the Ritual of Setsubun
A look at the use of soybeans in Japan in exorcism rituals.
# 34022 | 1,900 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Sep 25, 2003 in Asian Studies (East Asian Cultures)

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This paper discusses the use of soybeans in Japan in the ceremony of "Setsubun," a ritual in which purification and exorcism of evil occurs. The paper describes the soybean throwing ceremony and looks at the various family customs and manners of celebrating Setsubun that still exist. The paper highlights how all the customs are events suitable for greeting the New Year, since they drive out evil and wish for good fortune in the coming year.

From the Paper:

"The use of soybeans in Japan especially occurs during the ceremony of "Setsubun," which refers to the division between winter and spring. The term "Setsubun" originally referred to the eve of the first day of any of the 24 divisions of the solar year known as "Setsu." Later, it referred more specifically to the last day of the Setsu called Daikan (great cold), which corresponded to the eve of Risshun (the first day of spring). It is important to understand that Risshun is the New Year's day of the ancient solar calendar and the traditional beginning of spring. Thus, since Risshun and the traditional celebration of New Year fell at about the same time, "Setsubun" became a ritual during which purification and exorcism of evil occurred.
"It is important to point out that, on the night of Setsubun, many households perform a soybean throwing ceremony which is referred to as "mame-maki." Soybeans, therefore, play a central role in the ritual of purification which is associated with the New Year. The ceremony basically involves filling a measuring cup (a masu) with roasted soybeans and then throwing the beans all over the room. While doing this, the ritual demands that the person shout aloud, "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" This is translated to mean: "Out with the goblins and in with fortune!" (Japan in February) Bad luck is expelled and good luck is welcomed."

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Soybeans and the Ritual of Setsubun (2003, September 25) Retrieved October 03, 2022, from

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"Soybeans and the Ritual of Setsubun" 25 September 2003. Web. 03 October. 2022. <>