Is 2013 Your Unlucky Year?

Happy New Year! I’ve got some bad news for you: this year is going to suck.

Well, not for all of us, but for those of us at a particular age, 2013’s going to be a really awful year. The best you can really do is just hunker down and hope that it all goes by quickly.

It’s not because of the fiscal cliff or the release of the next Michael Bay movie; it’s because for some of us, it will be a yakudoshi (厄年), a bad luck year.

What is Yakudoshi?

A lot of Japanese superstitions come from numbers. Virtually every number has an alternate reading, which means that their different readings can give them brand-new meanings. That’s why so many Japanese people are scared of the number four.

yakudoshi

That’s also the reason yakudoshi exist. A yakudoshi is when you turn a specific age and are supposed to have nothing but bad luck for that entire year. Those specific ages are partially based on the same kind of numerology that drives other Japanese superstitions.

The Bad Luck Years

Men and women each have three ages that are supposed to be just completely disasterous. They are:

Women

  • 19 years old
  • 33 years old
  • 37 years old

Men

  • 25 years old
  • 42 years old
  • 61 years old

The ages may vary depending on your region and how you like to count age. In different parts of Asia, age is sometimes counted differently than how we normally think in the US — instead of the day of your birth being day zero, some people in East Asia would say that you’re one year old on the day that you’re born.

But why are these particular ages bad luck? Some of them have alternate, bad luck meanings. 42 can be read as “death,” and 33 can be read as “terrible.”

Think that’s bad enough? It only gets worse. Certain years are thought to be extra bad luck (大厄), and some people suspect that the years before (前厄) and after (後厄) yakudoshi are also bad luck, which basically means that you have three straight years of bad luck.

Where does it all end?!

How to Deal with Bad Luck

Let’s say that you just had your birthday and 2013 is looking like a bad year for you. What can you do to avoid certain disaster?

Some people in Japan turn to religious and spiritual rituals from Buddhism and Shinto to avoid the bad luck. They:

  • Pray at shrines to appeal to a higher power.
  • Donate to temples for some good karma.
  • Undergo purification rituals to get rid of the bad luck.
  • Carry a shrine at a festival.

Other people are less otherworldly about their precautions. It’s not unheard of to avoid taking out loans to avoid bad luck during your yakudoshi.

Ultimately though, probably the most dangerous thing about yakudoshi is thinking about yakudoshi. Just thinking about all of the bad luck and superstition associated with yakudoshi is likely much worse than any bad luck that you’ll actually have during that year.

But if you make an extra trip to a shrine, I wouldn’t blame you.


Read more: Yakudoshi: The year of calamity

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Right, so the only way to have bad luck is to think about it. Oh, but I guess that means I have bad luck now? AGH! Figures as soon as we defeat the Mayans, an even more terrifying enemy appears!

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    The enemy . . . within.

  • DAVIDPD

    Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000218105981 Lizzy Mogil

    Wear a Kabalah red string to avoid the evil eye. At least you will avoid bad thought so they wouldnt turn back to you! That’s the way energy works tho

  • http://twitter.com/JupeBullet Jupiter Bullet

    I was laughing from the time I started reading your article until I found out about 25 being the bad luck age number for men T___T, and I just turned 25 last December too. Now it kinda makes sense how without reasons some lecturers kept trying to fail my studies at my university not to mention a fat ass fugly kuuki yomenai girl keeps chasing me even after I send her some sign to buzz off

  • Shiina

    In Hawaii, yakudoshi means it’s time to throw a party to chase away the evil spirits, mostly for men at their 40th and 60th birthdays. I don’t know why only the men get the parties and why it’s only those two times but it somehow evolved that way.

  • penx

    So I’m 25 and it’s 2013 ;_; …..

  • Knicky

    Yeah, this year is my Yakudoshi…I’m a member of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America though so I already have my bad energy dispelling ritual set to take place next week.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Ghosts are picky.

  • Tora.Silver

    I was playing Animal Crossing, and Tortimer gave me an all-around awful fortune for 2013.
    Fortune: Bad Luck
    Love: Be careful
    Dreams: Maybe next year…
    D':

  • lychalis

    Gak. Wonderful >_>

  • Natika

    Rubbish and poppy-cock! I was supposed to have a bad year when I was 33 and it was a great year. 19 also wasn’t so bad. Yakudoshi is like Freddy Kreuger – don’t believe in it and you’ll be fine.

  • Pepper_the_Sgt

    It’s kind of like that game you all just lost. Now you have to start all over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1358600890 Inez Nijland

    I’m 19… This year is gonna suck so bad :(

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Haha, I’ve beein waiting for my year to come … and after living in Japan for quite a long time now th time has finally come! This year it’s gonna be a year of doom for me! But I won’t do anything about it. I haven’t even done hatsumode this year.
    At least I got 中吉 with my omikuji this year, so it can’t be that bad. ^-^;; ….

  • sakura

    I am a female born in 1980 and I think this year is unlucky for me (even before reading this article). I am in Japan and since the beginning of this year so many problem has emerged in my life all of a sudden

  • http://www.facebook.com/Alwaysintheroom Dominic Vega

    Awesome. I turn 27 this year. Goodbye bad luck!

  • shellyc_75

    The start of this year has been A W F U L that is why I googled to see if 2013 is bad luck, found this page, only 2 other years standout as really bad and when I read this I gasped, the year I was 19, 33 was the worst ever, and now I’m 37 in 2013. Ok I’ve got to change my way of thinking FAST and this point everything I’ve been doing I’ve been thinking now what’s going to go wrong… I’d better stop doing that :(

  • vishal

    this year is really catching my nerves….all my dreams crushed…m losing certain daily items like my ID Card and Travel pass on same day…my birthday is tomorrow….i hope i can wipe the yakudoshi out of my life…..pray for me:)

    http://vishastro.blogspot.in

  • http://www.facebook.com/patricklewsbandsf Patrick Lew

    I’m gonna be 28 year this year. But so far, 2013 has been bad for me. Mostly because I don’t know who my real friends are anymore. And some of the friends I did had, hurt me very badly or were being very two faced about my girlfriend. And I ended up getting rid of them, but nothing was quite resolved from all of it. Others just backstabbed me but they were not nearly as bad because we weren’t close. Because some of the people who claimed they were my good friends did quite the opposite. Not a good year so far. Bad luck is coming from certain people.

  • Georgie

    Very interesting. In my 33rd year, the bottom fell out of the economy and my home dropped to half value. I dated a creep who threatened my life. My boss had to back out of giving me a raise they promised me. This year is so much worse and it started like clockwork with my birthday in January. Pet medical bills. I had viral bronchitis for 2 weeks. My truck is falling apart in phases. My skin has gone to hell. I’m filing bankruptcy. My car will be repoed in August. My computer crashed during my master’s thesis. I’m overwhelmed at work. I am not dating at all, but I have tried. My kid has a hemangioma that is growing and needs to be surgically removed. And we’re only half way through the year. I wouldn’t normally believe this stuff, but this year has me thinking there’s a little truth somewhere. I’ve never had a year this bad in my life and it is emotionally destructive and physically draining. I feel like I’m scraping the bottom, but I don’t think I have to much positive spirit left for 2013. Losing my smile and trying to drudge along.

  • susana evans

    this year is suck for me hhhhhhhhhhwwww

  • susana evans

    hoooo my money go gogogog

  • HELP ME

    I believe that it’s true. I am 33 in the year 2013 and I had nothing but very bad luck this year. The newest event that is happening right now is so bad that I am so afraid to leave my home and face the world and I am nervous and stressed beyond the extreme. I will be 34 in 2 weeks and I hope that things will turn around as well as things starting to look up by the end of this year. By the way, 19 was bad luck for me too. I got arrested falsely and was pregnant by my then boyfriend who later abandoned me and my son who is now 13 years old. I truly believe Yakudoshi is real.

  • HELP ME

    I believe that it’s true. I am 33 in the year 2013 and I had nothing but very bad luck this year. The newest event that is happening right now is so bad that I am so afraid to leave my home and face the world and I am nervous and stressed beyond the extreme. I will be 34 in 2 weeks and I hope that things will turn around as well as things starting to look up by the end of this year. By the way, 19 was bad luck for me too. I got arrested falsely and was pregnant by my then boyfriend who later abandoned me and my son who is now 13 years old. I truly believe Yakudoshi is real.

  • Waz Maz Naz

    bad year

  • Ariel

    I am the person who was born on 1993 and this year is absolutely bad year for me. What should I do to get rid of it

  • Ariel B.

    My name is Ariel, I was born in 1993 and this has legitimately been the most painful, horrible year of my life. I’ve come so close to suicide from this year and I still have little to no hope of it improving. I literally looked up “Why 2013 sucks” because it seems so abnormally horrible. Like, something cosmic said “Lets fuck with Ariel’s life today :)”

  • yoshi

    SO didI.googled.for.the.same.reasons everything. Youve.said.nightmae yr made me.wana.die I can.only pray 2014 inproves I dunno.how much more negativity I can take everything I would touched burnt to the ground no matter how postive I tired to keep my mind cant deny for some it was an unsual wave of evil

  • peace to all

    I googled why 2013 sucked so bad for most of us who have searched the same reason have felt depressed and alone you are not im so glad 2013 is over I hope for all of us 2014 can be a better year and all this this wacko negativity and weird problems fake friends lack of money most of al lack of love lately can heal and we can all have some goodluck in all faces of our lives stray strong brothers and sisters p.s I was a male 25 for 2013