Setsubun | Traditional event in Japan, with calling phase ‘Oniwa Soto’, Guided by Japanese webmaster !

This page is about ….

  • What is ‘Setsubun’ in Japan
  • History of ‘Setsubun’ in Japan
  • ‘Mamemaki’ event in ‘Setsubun’ in Japan
  • Brief comments by webmaster

This page is to help the people :

  • Who like Japan !
  • Who are interested in Japanese culture
  • Who want to enjoy Japanese traditional event

In this page, I would like to introduce ‘Setsubun’ in Japan

You may get knowledge of ‘Setsubun’ in Japan, as well as Japanese have, after reading of this article. Have fun !


SHINTA+ / Japanese blog writer, born and raised in Japan, visited more than 20 countries, introducing Japanese culture to the world, with both domestic & international experiences.

What is ‘Setsubun’

‘Setsubun’ is the day to change the season from winter to spring. In 2020, it’s 3rd. February. Most popular event on this day is ‘Mamemaki’. To defeat ‘Oni’ (Demon), people throw beans ‘Oni’, in Setsubun day, in Japan. Setsubun is coming from China. However, currently ‘Mamemaki’ in Setsubun day is the unique event only in Japan.

Basic knowledge of ‘Setsubun’

  • The day dividing winter and spring
  • In beginning of February
  • Mamemaki event to defeat Oni as demon
  • Setsubun itself is originally in China
  • Mamemaki is only tradition in Japan

‘Setsubun’ is event to have happiness in family !

History of ‘Setsubun’ in Japan

‘Setsubun’ day is imported from China, at least 8th century. It’s not clear when the custom of Mamemaki was started. However it’s described in the literature in 15th century. So at least Mamemaki has 600 years of history in Japan. And it still continues without becoming obsolete.

History of ‘Setsubun’

  • Setsubun day imported from China
  • It was more than 1000 years ago
  • Unknown when Mamemaki was started
  • Record of Mamemaki in 15th century

‘Setsubun’ is very traditional event in Japan !

‘Mamemaki’ in Setsubun

In the day of ‘Setsubun’, there are Mamemaki events outside, open places, shrines, temples, etc. In Mamemaki action, there’s a traditional call in Japan. ‘Oni wa Soto, Fuku wa uchi’ it means ‘go out demon and coming in happiness’ . With this call, people throw beans and pray to get happiness in coming season.

More information about ‘Setsubun’

  • Mamemaki event held in Setsubun day
    • Temples, shrines, etc
  • Calling phase in Mamemaki
    • Oni wa Soto (Get out demon)
    • Fukuwa Uchi (Coming Happiness)

I played demon, in ‘Setsubun’ and did ‘Mamemaki’ with my family.


In the end, I would like to summarize the points of this article as follows

What is ‘Setsubun’ in Japan

  • The day dividing winter and spring, in beginning of February
  • Very traditional customs, originally in China, developed in Japan
  • ‘Mamemaki’ is main event in this day


That’s all today.
How was the content today ?

Setsubun is very popular event in Japan. Mamemaki is held in both public spaces and in family. Actually, I did mamemaki with my family every year. This custom is well spread into Japanese society.


In the end, thank you very much for your reading today and see you again !