Rokuyo: The Calendar That Determines the Day's Fortune

Rokuyo: The Calendar That Determines the Day's Fortune

Andrea Fraga

Although Japanese people might be as superstitious as many other cultures, superstition has an important part within people's daily life. From numbers, rituals, to blood types, the culture of superstitions is pretty vast.

As a matter of fact, there is a special kind of Japanese calendar (besides the nengo which is based on the current emperor's title and used for administrative matters), known as Rokuyo, that usually goes unnoticed and which consists as a guide to know whether that day is going to be a lucky or an unlucky one.

If we carefully pay attention to these Japanese calendars, we would notice that below the numbers that mark each day, appear as small words in kanji, which are repeated in the same order every six days. Those kanji stand for the six types of days of the traditional Rokuyo, based on the Chinese lunar calendar.

In the Rokuyo, the weeks run on day by day starting in Sakigachi and ending in Shakku, except for a few months which the first day is predetermined. Surely, the calculation of the fate of each day, based on the cyclic lunar month, may sound like a crazy puzzle, still in the Japanese calendars the Rokuyo are always written so there’s nothing to calculate by oneself.

The Six Rokuyo and Their Meanings:

Sakigachi (also known as Sensho or Senkachi) 先勝

It means "first come, first win". It brings good luck in the morning but bad luck in the afternoon (from 2pm to 6pm specifically). It is a good day for starting new projects and also for success in sporting events.

Tomobiki 友引

It means "pulling friends". It brings good luck all day except at noon (traditional Japanese noon is from 11 am to 1 pm). On this day, positive and negative energy tends to influence friends. As a result, funerals are usually not celebrated on this day, as it could draw friends to the other world. On the other side, Tomobiki is a good day for weddings, as it is possible to pull friends into a loving mood. It is also great for visiting somebody and giving presents.

Sakimake (also known as Senmaku or Senbu) 先負

It means, “fail if you are in a hurry”. It brings bad luck in the morning and good luck in the afternoon. New enterprises and urgent business may not occur until afternoon.

Butsumetsu 仏滅

Literally, it means “Buddha’s death”. For that, it is given the distinction of being the unluckiest day of all. It is said to last all 24 hours of the day so avoid doing anything important on that day, such as getting married, opening a shop, buying a house, having surgery, etc. Simply never leaving your bed would be a safe bet.

Taian 大安

It literally means “greater safety”. Taian is the luckiest day of all. It is the chosen day for celebrating weddings and to carry out any important business. Make sure to mark this as the day you choose to work the hardest.

Shakku (also known as Shakko or Jakko) 赤口

It means “red mouth”. It brings bad luck all day, except at noon. The red color refers to blood and, associated with it, is a day to watch out for fire and knives. This may seem more unlucky than "Buddha's death" but remember, for this day, you are allowed 1 hour of luck in an entire day of unluckiness.

Nowadays, of course people are not as superstitious as they were in the past, but the Rokuyo are still taken into account to choose the date for transcendental life events. However, note that most Japanese people only consider Tomobiki, Butsumetsu, and Taian as crucial days.

And what about you? Are there any superstitions ruling your agenda?