What is Setsubun?

February 3rd was Setsubun (節分) (meaning “seasonal division”) in Japan, a holiday marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring in the traditional calendar. As our readers may recall from our previous articles, Setsubun is mainly celebrated in two ways. On the one hand, it's customary to do mame-maki 豆まき, or throw beans at "demons," and on the other, to eat a giant sushi roll called ehōmaki 恵方巻.

The demons are either imagined when you throw beans outside your window or balcony while shouting: "Out with the demons and in with good fortune," or "real" in the form of people wearing demon masks or dressed up as demons at public events or within the family as a fun activity. Famous people also throw beans out into the public at shrines or temples. As for ehōmaki, it is considered good fortune to eat it all at once, in complete silence, while pointing it in an auspicious direction determined by geomantic principles (this year, it was West South West).

Japanese Twitter Users Celebrate Setsubun

Both customs were represented throughout the day on Twitter, and found unique expressions in the posts of professional and amateur illustrator and artists, official anime accounts, idols, entertainers and private individuals.

We've picked up a small sample of the best ones below:

Throwing beans

Here's actress, voice actress, singer and radio personality Hiroki Nananmi throwing beans at Kasama Inari Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture:

The members of Osaka-based idol group NMB48 did some mame-maki for their fans during their Setsubun concert:

Rilakkuma's official account showed the lovable bear and his pals engaged in some mame-maki antics:

Parody illustrator shideboh (@fukuhara15) used the characters from Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer to celebrate the occasion, with this short manga in which Tanjiro adds his own twist on the standard ritual phrase: "Out with the demons!" (while throwing beans at an image of Muzan dressed like a stereotypical demon from a Japanese children's picture book)... "But in with Nezuko."


Here's hardcore punk group Slang's vocalist KO really looking the part complete with green skin, full costume and horns:

Maako, the weapon-wielding maid costume-wearing badass who we've introduced before, showed off her best demon moves, with a caption: "Bwahahaha. I'm not afraid of beans!"

Idol group STU48's vice-captain Akari Fukuda did her best demon impression:

Infielders José López and Neftalí Soto, along with outfielder Tyler Austin of the Yokohama Baystars dressed up as demons for the occasion:

Manga artist Amyu drew these two handsome demon versions of Chika and Tetsuki from her hit manga Kono Oto Tomare! Sounds of Life:

Subverting the standard Setsubun trope, illustrator Tatsuya Yamasaki shows "demons outside" who are just chilling out and having a good time:

Ehōmaki sushi rolls

Speaking of Demon Slayer, adult video actress and occasional cosplayer Yuna Ogura demonstrated an unconventional way of eating an ehōmaki which only Nezuko could think of:

The official account of popular survival game Identity V created this gorgeous original illustration for Setsubun featuring the entire cast engaged in making and eating sushi rolls:

Illustrator and character designer Ayako Tajima gave us this adorable sushi roll:

Illustrator Shashaki (@sasakisaki9646) portrayed Ranko Kanzaki from THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls trying to eat an ehōmaki the right way:

Illustrator and manga creator Demizu Posuka, famous for his work on The Promised Neverland, created this piece showing the members of the "Ehōmaki Research Center" hard at work on the day before Setsubun:

Miniature artist Tatsuya Tanaka, whose brilliant work we've introduced many times before, turned Ehōmaki into a business presentation tool:

By - Ben K.