Page:Folklore1919.djvu/184

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170
Magical Applications of Brooms in Japan.

conceptions underlying the use of the nademono, certain prepared papers which are rubbed over the body in order to remove with themselves all psychically impure influences. That very definite supernatural influences (whether they be personified ones or mere undefined impurities) are believed to be pushed — either by themselves or because they are clinging to the particles of dirt displaced — or driven before a broom in action, seems to be shown by the belief that if a person stand directly in front of the sweeping he will be unfortunate in his undertakings [Yokohama i] — i.e. he will have become subject to the influence of the evil supernatural beings to whom the occurrences of misfortune are ascribed — or he will become stupid.^ Towards the middle of the last month of the year the Japanese house undergoes a thorough cleaning, the susu- harai (" soot-sweeping