There is a Japanese superstition that if you cut your nails at night, you won’t be present when your parents die. While there are multiple theories behind this, it is thought to come from the fact that 夜爪 yo-tsume (night nails) sounds like 世を詰める yo wo tsumeru (shortening age) or 世詰 yo-tsume for short. I used to think that this simply meant you would not be with your parents at their death rather than shortening your own life. Although I don’t believe in this superstition, I often “file” my nails as an alternative solution to avoid “cutting” my nails at night. Such an attempt to get around it also reminded me of a rakugo called Shinigami (The Death) where the man ends up shortening his own life by his sly interpretation of rules told by the Death. -Iori Matsushima
Iori Matsushima is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Mississauga. Digital media are predominant in her artworks, especially video and animation. She is passionate about exploring moving images as a means of expression. With a background in computer science and statistics, she enjoys experimenting with numbers and data. Besides learning western histories and views of art from her university education, she is developing her own unique style and voice as an artist by relearning Japanese cultures and aesthetics. “Clawless Life” is a collaboration between Iori Matsushima and Midi Onodera.
Posted August 1, 2023