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Shugi-bukuro — “Money Envelope”

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Martial Arts of Japan

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There is a tradition in Japan that money is vulgar. When payments for other than electronic submission of dues are necessary, it’s most appropriate to enclose the cash or check in a shugi-bukuro (money envelope) and place the payment on the chief instructor’s desk. Click here to download a PDF of a shugi-bukuro. Be sure to write your name and the purpose of the payment on the envelope. If a shugi-bukuro is not available, an acceptable substitute is to take an ordinary envelope and write the hiragana for “noshi” in the upper, right-hand corner. Noshi is dried albacore, and the tradition is that giving noshi is a gift of food, rather than a payment of cash, and always appropriate. If you look on the shugi-bukuro, you will see an image of a folded paper enclosing a fish — that’s the noshi.

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