Tsujiura (辻占)

Tsujiura is a kind of fortune-telling seen in Japan.

Originally it was conducted by a fortune-teller standing at a tsuji (intersection) in the evening based on what passers-by talked. The tsujiura appears in classic literature such as "Manyoshu" (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves). There is a similar one called hashiura (bridge fortune-telling) which was done at the foot of a bridge. It is also called yuke (evening fortune-telling) as it was done in the evening. They thought the words of accidental passers-by as oracles of gods (Shintoism). They thought that the tsuji was where not only humans but also gods passed by and that the bridge was a border to the different world. The Modori-bashi Bridge at Ichijo-Horikawa, Kyoto City was a famous spot for hashiura.

The tsujiura still practiced at Hyotanyama-Inari Shrine, Higashi Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture judges fortunes not based on the words of passers-by, but on his or her sex, dress, belongings, whether accompanied or not, and the direction which he or she took. The person who wants to receive this service first draws Omikuji (sacred lots) to pick up a number from one to three, then stands in front of Torii (an archway to a shrine), where, for example, if the number is two, then he or she records the appearance and other things of the second passer-by. On the base of the contents of what he or she recorded, the providence is sought by the Guji (chief of those who serve a shrine, control festivals and general affairs).

In the Edo period, children began to sell omikuji (sacred lots)(which is also a kind of fortune-telling) standing at a tsuji, and that was also called tsujiura. This came into being independently from the tsujiura previously mentioned, and is not directly related to it. Furthermore, they started to make tsujiura-senbei rice cracker (from which fortune cookies were derived) in which they put omikuji similar to those sold for tsujiura, which was also called tsujiura. In Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, there is a custom that the whole family enjoy colorful tsujiura-senbei as good lucky charms, and even now the scene of tsujiura production in Japanese sweets shops is a special feature at the year end.

[Original Japanese]