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Do Shrines Issue Any "Inauspicious" Fortunes?
Omikuji is a popular form of divination in which paper fortunes can be drawn from a box at Shinto shrines. Adults and children alike hope for a lucky fortune, and hardly anyone ever draws an unlucky one. Since it is the fundamental business of shrines to attract good fortune, omikuji themselves are supposed to be auspicious, and many shrines do not even stock "unlucky" versions. Fortunes were originally lots drawn by hand one by one from a box, but they can now be purchased from a red vending machine. When the paper is unfolded, one's fortune is listed as one of several categories: daikichi (extremely lucky), chūkichi (very lucky), kichi (lucky), shōkichi (somewhat lucky), suekichi (barely lucky). The fortune may also include predictions about love, lost articles, money, travel, childbirth, and other matters, in other words, predictions for all needs. The largest number of omikuji sold nationwide are those issued by vending machines for ten to one hundred yen, with text copyrighted by the company Joshidōsha ("Women's Way") in Kano, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Originating as a women's Shinto auxiliary in 1906, Joshidōsha was established by Miyamoto Shigetane, head priest of the shrine Nisho Yamada Jinja during the period of the Shinto edification campaign of the Meiji period (see Taikyō senpu ). Joshidōsha's decision to publish shrine fortunes is said to have been influenced by the well-known Shinto-derived new religion, Ōmoto.
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