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The desire to get married is declining, and fewer babies were born in Japan in 2012 than ever before.The changes have been so drastic that officials are fearing for Japan’s ability to repopulate itself.Thus, many Japanese superstitions involve beliefs about animals and depictions of animals bringing about good or bad fortune.If a funeral hearse drives past, one must hide their thumbs in a fist.
Hiding it is considered protection for one's parents. 7, when pronounced with "shichi", sounds similar to the number four (四 shi).The unluckiness of the number four is one such example, as the Japanese word for "four" sounds like the word for "death".However, unlike most other countries, in Japan, a black cat crossing one's path is considered to bring good luck.Other superstitions relate to the literal meanings of words.Another significant part of Japanese superstition has its roots in Japan's ancient pagan, animist culture and regards certain natural things as having kami.
The number 13 is occasionally thought of as unlucky, although this is imported from Western culture.