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December 28 2012

Kumade - via A Japan Photo per Day -

One of the most popular customs of the New Year in Japan is to buy good luck charms for the year to come. At the same time, the old charms and decorations are brought to temples and shrines to be burned in a ceremony called Dondo yaki.

One of these lucky charms is the kumade, a rake said to bring wealth and good fortune, decorated with various auspicious elements. The kumade from today’s photo, photographed at an old Sake store from Yanaka, Tokyo, is one of the richest I have seen. Here are just a few of its elements: the mask, called Otafuku, known as the “Goddess of mirth", is used in the Kyogen theater and signifies happiness and prosperity. The gold coin replicas are considered good luck in business, the crane is a symbol of longevity in Japan (said to live 1000 years), the turtle is also a symbol of good luck and longevity (said to bring 10000 years of happiness), the red koi are representing perseverance and strength and the pine twigs are symbolizing long life…

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