Somin Shorai

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Somin Shorai is a lucky charm based on a folk belief in Japan. In the belief, Somin Shorai was a poor but charitable person. He saved a tourist who was looking for a place to stay the night on his journey. The tourist was actually a famous god and rejected by a mean, rich person just before, so he thanked and taught Somin how to make a lucky charm which avoids disasters. Later, when a disaster hit the country, only Somin's family was able to survive. Therefore, it is believed that a family which worships Somin Shorai charm avoids all kinds of disasters and thrives forever.

Lucky charm[edit]

typical wooden Somin Shorai charm

The Somin Shorai charm is made of woods or paper, and distributed on January 7 and 8 at temples in Japan. The designs vary at each temple. The famous one is Shinano Kokubunji temple in Ueda city, Nagano. First, the charm is designed and made by Somin-Kou which is an organization formed by local peasants, and then handed to the monks in order to get prayed. Historically, they have made it in winter when they had nothing to do on their agricultural fields. They offer seven different sizes. The price starts from 1000 yen up to 10,000 yen.

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