Like most Asian countries, Japan has many different lucky numbers that have dictated superstitions and beliefs in their culture for centuries. Understanding Japanese good luck numbers can help increase your knowledge of this fascinating culture and give you a more in-depth look at the beliefs that still influence its society.
Even better, it can help you get a stronger grasp of the behaviors and beliefs of your ancestors. If you are of Japanese descent and wonder why your grandmother decorates her home with seven of everything, you need to understand the lucky numbers of Japan.
Seven is the Luckiest Number in Japan
Like many countries around the world, Japan finds seven to be a lucky number. In fact, it is the most commonly known of all Japanese lucky numbers. While many lucky numbers in Japan have been imported to the area, seven connects to the culture and religion of the nation on a deeper level. As a result, it has its unique meanings that make it an integral part of Japanese culture.
The primary reason that seven is considered one of the best Japanese good luck numbers is its phonetic similarity to the word for togetherness. Community and closeness are vital to Japanese culture and seven showcases this concept in a simple way. As a result, it has influenced their society well beyond superstitions and beliefs and has become a commonly recurring motif.
The Origin of Seven as a Lucky Number
Beyond its phonetics, seven likely became a lucky number in Japan due to its importance in Japanese folklore. Ancient Japanese tradition states that there are Seven Gods of Luck that influence their culture. These gods include Daikoku, Bishamon, Ebisu, Fukurokuju, Juroujin, Hotei, and Benzaiten. Each has their influence on Japanese culture.
For example, Diakoku is the god of wealth and farmers and is a significant influence on various commercial sectors. Other gods, like Hotei and Benzaiten, represent happiness and music, respectively. Celebrations for these gods occur on the Evening of the Seventh, or July 7, in a lengthy and involved way.
Influence on Pop Culture
While seven has a continual influence on the basic lives of the Japanese, it also influences pop culture in a variety of ways. For example, it is considered one of the best Japanese lucky numbers in pachinko parlors and on scratch tickets. It has also influenced the nation’s greatest art, including famous ancient paintings and modern-day masterpieces like Akira Kurosawa’s movie “The Seven Samurai.”
Other ways that seven is celebrated included a party on the seventh day after a child’s birth. It has also influence mourning habits following the death of a loved one. For example, they mourn a person on the seventh day and week following their death.
They believed that this action brought happiness to their loved one in the afterlife. While there are other lucky numbers in Japan, seven is likely the most common and dominant one in their culture.
Eight is Also a Lucky Number
While it isn’t as prominent in Japanese culture as seven, eight is also considered a lucky number to most Japanese people. What is interesting about this fact is that it isn’t based on the phonetics of the word that represents the number, as most lucky numbers are in Asian cultures. Instead, it is based on the shape of the kanji that represents eight. It grows wider at the bottom, which indicates prosperity and growth.
It is particularly common to see eight influence architectural design in Japan. However, it has even influenced the way that people give out gifts. For example, people commonly give eight gifts to someone at significant life milestones, such as high school graduation. Or they may present them with money in multiples of eight, such as 80,000 yen.
Six is Similar to Eight
Six, like eight, is considered an auspicious number in Japan. It has been used in a variety of different cultural ways. For example, it is usually lucky for a family to have six children.
Even better, adding one or two parents to the family unit creates the two other auspicious numbers in Japan, seven and eight. It has also influenced gift giving methods, as people who cannot afford to give eight presents can save face by giving six instead.
There is Much More to These Lucky Numbers
As you can see, lucky numbers in Japanese culture offer a lot of exciting realms of study. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg on how these numbers influence Japanese culture. If you want to know more about these figures and other Japanese superstitions and beliefs, check out the rest of our site.
We focus on providing people like you with the most accurate and engaging information about Asian superstitions and beliefs available. We work hard to identify where this information originates, how it can benefit you, and what it means to the larger Japanese world community.