Happy New Year! I hope 2009 will be filled with awesomeness and anime.
New Years is arguably one of the most important holiday for the Japanese. There are tons of all sorts of neat trivia relating to a Japanese New Year that could be discussed such as the switch from the lunar calender to the Gregorian calender in 1873 or what the blazes is kagami mochi but I choose to talk about a single number, and it’s not 2009.
One hundred eight. 108. The number you might find referenced fairly often in anime and manga. Some references off the top of my head is Zoro’s 108 Pound Cannon attack from One Piece. The Death Note manga is another good example with its non-coincidental 108 chapters. What’s so special about 108? Depending on your religion it could mean all sorts of things: the total number of deities, the number of tattva, the approximate radius of the sun in earth radius or the number of earthly desires. The Buddhists in Japan ringing the bell to show out the old year and welcome in the new year are more concerned with the 108 earthly desires. You could find different ways to count those 108 earthly desires but I think Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism has the coolest way of counting it.
If you take :
- 6 senses
- 3 aspects of time
- 2 condition of heart
- 3 possibilities of sentiment
and multiply out the combinations (6*3*2*3) you get 108.