For many thousands of Japanese, 3 February is a magic day.
GV AND CU: Musicians play as crowds assemble (4 shots)
SV: People carrying beans towards waiting crowds. (2 shots)
CU AND TV: Suo wrestler and others throwing beans to eager crowds below. (7 shots)
CU: Woman with large plastic bag trying to catch beans
SV PAN FROM: Bean throwers to crowds
CU: Child throwing beans
LV: Crowd assembled in front of bean throwers.
SV: Davils figures walk on to platform carrying clubs.
TV: Woman holding crying child
SV AND CU: Priest pelting devil figures with beans (2 shots)
SV: Devil figures retire defeated by bean throwing.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: For many thousands of Japanese, 3 February is a magic day. Old Chinese legends imported to Japan say it's the last day of winter and the first of spring -- a time when devils emerge from their hiding places and try to keep summer at bay. But the practical people of Japan have found a way to scare away the troublesome devils -- they throw beans at them.
SYNOPSIS: Eager crowds gathered outside the Zojoji Temple in Tokyo to receive the blessed beans. In villages all over Japan the beans were being handed out at each Shinto shrine to throw at the devils. Catching a bean is considered to bring good luck for the rest of the year.
A sumo wrestler joins others throwing lucky soy beans at the people. The annual ceremony is called the Setsubun and used to be practised in every Japanese household, but doesn't happen so much now in the cities.
Children and the sumo wrestlers are believed to be the most effective at driving off the unwanted guests.
Actors dressed as devils assume the power of the forces of evil, on stage. The beans thrown at them are meant to injure the devils' pride rather than hurt them.
Then in case that hasn't worked, a priest confronts the devils with a barrage of roasted beans while the crowds shout "out with the devil, in with good fortune."
The defeat of the devils - for one believes they are indeed vanquished - means that the evil spirits will stay away at least until the next cold day.