Japanese Uranai, doom, gloom, and sixties-style cults

March 31, 2007

KyotoShoppingStreet

I was surprised when one of my friends in Japan mentioned this dramatic increase in the Japanese interest in Uranai ( 占い ) or fortunetellers. There are Japanese fortunetellers on television like Hosoki Kazuko (細木 数子 ). Foreign psychics have been turning up in Japan, such as John Croino (there’s a webpage devoted to his predictions here

    but it doesn’t include all of them unfortunately 😦

). He’s supposed to be unusual in some ways not quite human, but is reputedly very accurate. Doom and gloom predictions are making a big comeback. Psychics are often on Japanese TV, and have a huge media presence.

Despite the image of Japan presented in the American media, with the mix of ancient traditions mixed with ultra high technology, the Japanese have long been very pragmatic and cynical people. In my experience, most Japanese were even more sceptical about the spiritual, ghosts, and the supernatural, than the typical Westerner. After the big scare with the Aum Shinrikyo cult and it’s nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subways, most Japanese began avoiding cults and anything that was even slightly cult-like. “New Age” gurus and hippie spiritualism never got a real foothold – until very, very recently. Suddenly the Japanese have started to question their overwhelmingly materialistic society and the cynical attitude that getting rich and getting the latest gizmo consumer goods and staying in fashion is the ultimate goal to strive for. People are looking around for something more, and spooky stories, tales of hauntings, and psychics on TV are now the big interest. I’ve seen a resurgence of this interest especially in the past three years.

Personally, I believe that Japan is going through their own version of the American 1960s. Just look around at the super-short mini-skirts, and the recent fashion for teeny-tiny hotpants.

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The doom and gloom is there too, and Christian missionaries have been flocking to Japan in larger numbers, sent by their various churches (in the USA in particular) to take advantage of the times.

– Tuxedo Penguin


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