I didn’t intend to post this so late, but last week was a hairy week. :p
Anyhow, my daughter made this calendar in school for February1 and the theme was around Setsubun, which is a popular holiday in Japan that traditonally celebrates the coming of Spring. This is based on the traditional calendar, not the Western calendar, so the dates are a bit different than what people might expect. Setsubun (節分) literally means “seasonal division”, and marks the time when Spring begins along with the new year.
So, the main tradition these days is to drive out the bad luck (in the form of oni demons), and bring in the new luck. Parents might wear oni masks and the kids get to throw roasted soy beans at them. I have a really good video from last year of my daughter, just turned 4, yelling “Kung fu!” as she threw beans at me, then ran to pick them all up. I’d love to post it except for privacy reasons. Kids normally yell oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi meaning “Demons out, luck in!” when they throw beans, but my daughter got mixed up.
So, that explains the two Oni demons for the February calendar. In modern Japanese pop-culture, Oni are depicted as demons with colors like red, blue or green, and wearing leopard-printed shorts (signifying their beastly nature).
My daughter also informed me that the little green thing in the middle is “treasure”, because Oni like to hoard too. 🙂