CultureEssayEtymologyHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

If you cut your nails at night…

  • Today I will talk about a Japanese superstition.


    “Yoru ni tsume wo kiru to oya no shinime ni aenai” (If you cut your nails at night, you won’t be with your parents when they pass away).

    Like this, it is thought that to cut your nails at night is something bad in Japan.

    I will introduce two theories that are thought of as the derivation.

    【Because it was dangerous】
    Formerly in Japan, people cut their nails using a small knife. Furthermore, since there were no light bulbs, it was very dark at night. As a result, some cut their hands wrongly and some were dead because of the mistakes.

    【Because it could bring bad luck】
    By omitting “yoru ni tsume wo kiru” (to cut your nails at night), it becomes “夜爪 (yozume),” (night nails). This is associated with “世詰め (yozume),” which means “short-lived.”

    Original sentence