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"Avoid the unlucky numbers - 4 & 9" Top 5 Page for this destination Japan Local Custom Tip by Pixiekatten

Japan Local Customs: 477 reviews and 616 photos

Tetraphobia (the fear of the number 4) is widespread in Japan.

The Japanese don't like the number 4 (and 9) because of their pronunciation. Four is pronounced "shi" which is the same pronunciation as death. (Nine is pronounced "ku" which has the same pronunciation as agony or torture.)

Japanese people dislike these numbers so bad that there are many hospitals that don't have these numbers as the room number or even the floor number. There are no seats with numbers 4 and 9 on passenger planes of the All Nippon Airways.
I even read somewhere that on the fourth of each month cardiac deaths for Japanese spike 7 percent compared to other days.

So remember this advice! If you have a japanese person visiting you, do not get them room 4 in a hotel. Do not reserve a table 4 in a restaurant. Avoid no 4 (and 9) in all means.
Instead the number 8 is considered a lucky number. This is because of the shape of the kanji character for eight. The two strokes are wider at the bottom, suggesting a better time or better things to come in the future.

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  • Written Sep 16, 2006
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