• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

Cursing in Japanese…but not the way you think.


Dec 12, 2017 , ,

Japan has always believed that spoken words had a certain power, almost magical power. Thus, the word “to curse” aka 呪う (norou/呪う) has a mouth 口 as part of the kanji, as in intoning a prayer or curse and the 兄 part symbolizes a priest at the altar, or someone praying at a shrine. All together, the word means to wish something happens to an individual via magic, with the effect being good, bad or neutral but usually bad as in 呪い殺す (のろいころす) literally, to curse someone to death.


呪術の本 (The Book Of Cursing In Japanese) is a fascinating guide to magic and spells in Japan, historically and in use.


All of this brings us to this week’s fascinating book: 呪術(じゅじゅつ)の本 .
It an illustrated history and textbook of cursing people and magic in Japan. You can learn how to make a Japanese voodoo doll, banish bad luck, tell the future, and stop a lover from being unfaithful (via pickled cuttlefish) by making them impotent.

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover…Dead? Three Japanese Voodoo Dolls To Choose From

In the pages, you’ll learn how to ward off evil. Revive the dead. Cast a love spell.

You can use this pickled seafood spell to make your cheating lover impotent.

The book is lavishly designed with furigana for the difficult kanji. So for the 日本語 novice, it’s a great way to learn difficult Japanese and rule the world.

Just remember this proverb: 呪わ二つ(ひとを のろわば あな ふたつ)「When you curse someone, dig two graves」The meaning? Even magic can’t transcend karma, so before wishing ill on someone, remember that you get back what you put out there.

The book is sadly out of print but you can find used copies, if you’re lucky…
or unlucky? Use with caution.



Managing editors of the blog.

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