Is 呪縛 usually used to refer to a good spell or a bad one (like a curse)?

I mean the dictionary writes the english meaning as: spell/curse but I was wondering what sort of nuance would be attached to 呪縛 ?

Because I was watching this show and they were saying stuff like: it's not a curse (呪い), but a spell (呪縛)

So well from that i grasp that.. uh the nuances of 呪い are evil spells/curses, whereas the nuances of 呪縛 are neutral spells/good spells?

  • Presumably for 呪い you mean のろい, and not まじない which is another reading meaning "incantation" but doesn't fit the context of your question exactly. Editing topic.
    – istrasci
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


I've learnt it. It is like this :

呪縛 > のろい > まじない (from strongest to weakest curse)

まじない is a spell but not the others if I'm taking the meaning of spell and curse right. 呪縛 has more anger, and まじない has more hope.

  • heys thx for the help. btw by your answer, do you mean 呪縛 is even more terrible than のろい?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 25, 2011 at 4:28
  • yes. 縛 means you are tightened so 呪縛 means you are tightened with a spell/curse Commented Jun 26, 2011 at 0:08
  • ok thx for the help
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 26, 2011 at 12:55

These words can be characterized by two facets:

  • effect of the spell
  • intention of the spell-caster

Lets deal with 呪縛 first by looking at its two Kanjis:

  • 呪: spell, curse
  • 縛: to truss, to bind

So 呪縛される literally means to be restricted by a spell.

  • effect: partially or wholly restrict someone's movement or thought
  • intention: mostly bad, sometimes good depending on the context (or neutral if you're bound by a past event.)

忍者が呪縛の術をとなえた。A ninja cast a spell of paralysis. [effect: paralysis][intention: good if you're an ally of the ninja, bad for the enemy]

過去の呪縛にとらわれる。Fettered by the past. [effect: restriction of thought][intention: neutral]

呪う translates directly to "curse".

  • effect: something bad, like bad fortune or death.
  • intention: bad

末代まで呪ってやる! I curse you forever!

Note that nothing may happen even if you were 呪われた by someone. Anything can happen in between the act of cursing and the effect to take place. On the contrary, 呪縛された means you're already bound by a spell.

Also, 呪い can have an on/off state; you can "be under a 呪い"(呪いがかかっている), "break a 呪い"(呪いをとく). This is similar to 呪縛: you can "be under a 呪縛"(呪縛にかかっている), "break a 呪縛"(呪縛をとく). The difference is that 呪縛 has a constant effect on the victim, while 呪い takes effect in a (series of) short event(s) (though it depends largely on the content of the curse).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .