To the casual observer, Tokyo on 3 February looks like Tokyo as it is all the year round -- a working-man's city of concrete highrise buildings and hurrying businessmen, with magic far from anyone's mind.
GV ZOOM IN Tokyo and Zojoji shrine
SV PAN Priest throws beans to drive away actors dressed as devils
SV Crowds catch beans which are being thrown from steps (3 shots)
SV Priests and others throwing beans
SV Child throwing beans
SV Children throw beans
GV Crowd catching beans
GV Priests clapping (2 shots)
Initials BB/1740 NC/MR/BB/1755
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: To the casual observer, Tokyo on 3 February looks like Tokyo as it is all the year round -- a working-man's city of concrete highrise buildings and hurrying businessmen, with magic far from anyone's mind.
Contrary to appearance last Monday, Tokyo -- like the rest of Japan -- was full of devils anxious to take people away to the regions of darkness and to ensure the dark winter stays a little longer.
According to old Chinese legends imported to Japan in the Middle Ages, 3 February is the last day of winter and the first of spring. it is a day when devils emerge from their hiding places and do their best to keep summer at bay.
But the practical people of Japan have devised a method of ridding themselves of the troublesome devils -- by throwing beans at them. The beans are intended to injure the devils' pride rather than physically bruise them.
In villages all over Japan and even amid the concrete and modernity of Tokyo blessed beans are provided at each Shinto shrine to throw at the devils. Children and exponents of the traditional Japanese form of wrestling -- sumo -- are believed to be especially effective in driving off the unwanted guests.
Shouting "out with the devils, in with good fortune", children and sumo wrestlers throw beans at actors dressed as devils. Having done their work the beans become a good-luck talisman and to catch a bean before it falls to the ground is considered a guarantee of good fortune for the rest of the year.