What Are the Sailor Soldiers’ Favorite Ways of Fortune Telling?

Usagi getting her fortune told (ep. 2; using yarrow stalks)

Usagi getting her fortune told (ep. 2; using yarrow stalks)

Once again, we’re going to be talking about something that you never knew you wanted to know: the way that each of the Sailor Soldiers prefers likes to throw their fate to the wind and find out what their fortunes may be.

That’s right, we’re talking about fortune telling! Join along for another trip into exploring the profiles of our favorite Sailor Soldiers!

Rei doing a tarot card reading

Rei doing a tarot card reading

That’s right, we’re back again to talk about the bios that Ms. Takeuchi wrote up for use in production of the anime and manga.1 While some of the information is actually pretty useful, such as telling us their birthdays and giving us insight through their blood types, other bits of trivia she included were just bizarre, such as what each Sailor Soldier’s favorite manner of fortune telling is.

In case you didn’t know, fortune telling is a big deal in Japan. To be fair, it probably still is in much of the world, but for the sake of this article, we’ll be focusing on the land of the rising sun.

The point of this is that, while it may seem absurd that Ms. Takeuchi would go so far as to come up with fortune telling for each of the Sailor Soldiers, it’s actually a pretty common hobby in Japan and especially popular among women.

In a 2014 survey of 10,000 women between the ages of 20 and 69, 44.8% of respondents expressed interest in fortune telling.2

The most popular types of fortune telling were:

  1. Astrology (maybe we should ask Nephrite about this?)
  2. Blood types
  3. Palm reading
  4. Zoological divination3
  5. Birthdates (basically, number reading)
  6. Names (and the Japanese characters and numbers of strokes used to make up the name)

So what’s the point in going through all of this?

Nephrite could teach us a thing or two about astrology

Nephrite could teach us a thing or two about astrology

Basically to point out that Japan is no stranger to finding new and exciting ways to tell your fortune, even if people don’t necessarily believe in the results. It’s more like a fun game to play among friends than something you actually legitimately believe in.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what types of fortune telling Ms. Takeuchi felt was more suitable for each of the Sailor Soldiers!

Usagi

“Going to the fortune teller with Naru.”

I guess this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when you consider that Usagi’s personality is typically one of “live and let live,” and throwing her fates to the wind.

In case you’re curious, and I’m sure you are, the average cost of going to a fortune teller is between 3,000 to 5,000 yen – not cheap by any stretch of the imagination!

Ami

“She doesn’t do it.”

Aaaaaand, I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised here, considering how focused Ami is on her studies.

Sailor Mercury trusts cold, hard science over mysticism!

Sailor Mercury trusts cold, hard science over mysticism!

The funny thing about this, though, is that when you actually stop to thing about it, Ami’s love for science over anything mystical is actually pretty absurd. I mean, she’s a magical girl herself for crying out loud. She died and came back to life, and Rei has premonitions. You’d think fortune telling wouldn’t be so absurd here.

Rei

“Tarot card reading.”

Wait, what?! We’re talking about Rei Hino here, the Sailor Soldier of fire and war, the one who gets premonitions by consulting through spirits in the fire!

I can’t really fathom what Ms. Takeuchi was going for here, but I guess there was a risk of children trying to imitate things written in the bios, maybe? Changing it to tarot does still sound mystical at least, all the while not telling little girls to go light their brother’s head on fire.

Rei and a tarot card

Rei and a tarot card

But what do I know? We see Rei using tarot cards in the manga, so I guess there’s some background to this.

Makoto

“Flower divination”

At first glance, this actually sounds pretty interesting. Not only does it sound like an exotic and interesting way to try to tell the future, but it even ties in nicely with Makoto’s plant element!

Unfortunately, all of those exciting thoughts dissipate rather quickly once I actually looked into what flower divination is.4 It’s basically a fancy way of saying “He loves me, he loves me not…,”5 which is probably the form many of you are most familiar with it in.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be only two choices – it can be any number of choices that are cyclical – but I was disappointed to say the least. It’s kinda hard to imagine Makoto sitting around plucking flower petals to make decisions.

Minako

“Coin divination.”

At first I was kind of lost on this one. Coins, really? Coins? But when I stopped and thought about it, I guess it makes sense. Much like Makoto, with her connection with plants, technically Minako also has a strong connection with metal. So, metal, coins… I guess it works.

For those of you who don’t have a strong background in Chinese history, the idea of using coins in fortune telling ties back to the I Ching – the Book of Changes.6 Essentially throw two, three, four, six, or eight coins and look at their faces (top and bottom) to determine what your future holds.

Don't fall for it, Umino!

Don’t fall for it, Umino!

And that finishes up our journey through the Sailor Soldiers and their attempts at telling the future! When you think about it, they could probably just ask ChibiUsa or Pluto if they were ever curious about anything going on in the future, but that takes a lot of the fun out of things.

One day I should talk about what all these bios Ms. Takeuchi wrote up actually mean, and how they tie into Japanese kids’ culture at the time, but unfortunately that’s a bit beyond the scope of the article. For now, I just enjoy the idea of Minako arguing with Artemis on a lazy Saturday, and the two of them leaving their plans up to a handful of thrown coins.

With that said, if you were to try fortune telling out for fun, what would you be most interested in?


References:

  1.  See the Nakayoshi Anime Album Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon Classic Volume 1
  2.  See this April 8, 2017 MyNavi News summary
  3. Yes, I had to look it up too; Doubutsu Uranai (Wikipedia)
  4.  See Flower Divination (Wikipedia)
  5. See He loves me… he loves me not (Wikipedia)
  6.  See I Ching Divination (Coins) (Wikipedia)

2 comments

  • Hmmm, Makoto and Minako were a bit disappointing but I do think it’s cool that their elements were tied in. So I guess it works out.

    As far as Rei and the tarot cards go, this actually does make sense to me. It takes an incredible amount of concentration for the fire divination to work properly. And sometimes she doesn’t always get the answer she’s looking for. If she’s going to try to accurately predict something quickly, I can see her going for the cards.

    • I guess fire divination is also kind of hard to show your friends at school or when you’re having a girls-day-out. Most schools frown upon lighting a large bonfire in the middle of the campus.

      Unfortunately, it gets even more lame and uninteresting with the outer senshi with Haruka also being coins, and Michiru and Setsuna being equally uninteresting.
      Too bad, really.

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