the year of the monkey…

申年 = saru doshi
In Japan, the beginning of the lunar New Year is not a public holiday, and only really celebrated in places like Yokohama’s Chinatown. The New Year in Japan is now celebrated at the beginning of January according to the Gregorian calendar (after the Japanese moved to this calendar in 1873), but a ritual to welcome spring still marks the lunar New Year. Known as ‘Setsubun’ and now fixed to February 3rd (it used to be the day before Chinese New Year), people drive out bad fortune by throwing dried beans at oni (devils).
The zodiac animals are still recognised each year (for example on New Year greetings cards), and so here we see DokiDoki Daruma dressing up as a monkey in Asakusa!
Lucky signs for the monkey are:
Lucky numbers: 1, 7, 8
Lucky colours: white, gold, blue
Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
Lucky directions: north, northwest, west


  • Jennifer says:

    I enjoyed reading this and I love everything about these pictures. The last one especially! I can imagine teenagers loving it too.

    • nakamura says:

      Thank you Jennifer! I love to combine my shots of Tokyo streets with my characters, this one seemed to fit well. 😘