These girls literally drive away ogres during Japan’s annual Setsubun bean-throwing festival.

As the coldest days of winter slowly begin to thaw, Japan gears up for the warmer months with a festival called “Setsubun“, which is celebrated every year on the first day of spring, according to the lunar calendar.

The festival focuses on bringing good luck into the home and keeping bad luck out, with people taking part in a number of traditions like eating oversized ehomaki sushi rolls while facing the year’s “lucky direction” (south-south-east this year, in case you were wondering). One of the most popular customs, though, is the act of throwing roasted soybeans out the front door at a family member dressed in an ogre’s mask, to represent the bad luck, all while shouting, “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi”, which literally translates to “Devils outside, good luck inside.”

Now, as families around the country begin to gather their beans in preparations for this year’s event on 3 February, one of Japan’s premier tyre companies, Toyo Tires, has decided to join in the festivities with a commercial featuring some of Setsubun’s most recognisable rituals.

This ad takes the theme of driving away bad spirits to new levels, with a couple of Japanese shrine maidens going off-road in a beast of a vehicle to keep the ogres out of town. Take a look at the action-packed clip below:

According to the company, the two female stars of the clip are famous parkour athlete Hikari Izumi and racing driver Rina Ito.

In the commercial, Izami and Ito use a Ford F150 Raptor pickup to drive the spirits away, with both women showing off their impressive skills.

▼ Izumi even manages to chow down on an ehomaki during the mission.

At the end of the clip, the maidens manage to retrieve their roasted soybeans, which are usually given away to shrine visitors so they can perform the bean-throwing ritual at home. The only problem is, now everyone in town wants a piece of the action, donning ogre masks so they can hang out with the shrine maidens too.

The company also released a behind-the-scenes video showing some of the moves – and some of the stunt doubles – used to create the epic two-and-a-half minute commercial.

Tyres and shrine maidens might seem like an unlikely partnership, but if these Japanese commercials are anything to go by, it looks like there are plenty more weird collaborations going on around the country!

Source: Net Lab
Images: YouTube/Toyo Tires Japan