First Dream (hatsu-yume)

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First Dream (hatsuyume)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Humanity


First Dream, hatsu-yume 初夢 Erster Traum
Pillow with a picture of a tapir under it (see below) baku-makura 獏枕

First waking up, hatsu-nezame 初寝覚め

sleeping during New Year holidays
寝正月 (ねしょうがつ) neshoogatsu, ne-shoogatsu

ine tsumu 稲積む いねつむ "picking rice" = sleeping long..... ine tsumu 寝積む(いねつむ)
..... ine aguru 寝挙ぐる(いねあぐる)

This is a pun with the sound of INE い(寝)ぬ, to sleep.


Hatsuyume (初夢)
is the Japanese word for the first dream had in the new year. Traditionally, the contents of the dream would fortell the luck of the dreamer in the ensuing year. In Japan, the night of December 31 was often passed without sleeping, thus the hatsuyume was often the dream seen the night of January 1. This explains why January 2 (the day after the night of the "first dream") is known as Hatsuyume in the traditional Japanese calendar.

It is considered to be particularly good luck to dream of Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. This belief has been in place since the early Edo period but there are various theories regarding the origins as to why this particular combination was considered to be auspicious.

One theory suggests that this combination is lucky because Mount Fuji is Japan's highest mountain, the hawk is a clever and strong bird, and the word for eggplant (nasu or nasubi 茄子) suggests achieving something great (nasu 成す). Another theory suggests that this combination arose because Mount Fuji, falconry, and early eggplants were favorites of the shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Although this superstition is well known in Japan, often memorized in the form Ichi-Fuji, Ni-Taka, San-Nasubi (一富士、二鷹、三茄子 / 1. Fuji, 2. Hawk, 3. Eggplant), the continuation of the list is not as well known.

The continuation is as follows: Yon-Sen, Go-Tabako, Roku-Zatō (四扇、五煙草、六座頭 - 4. Fan, 5. Tobacco, 6. Blind Musician). The origins of this trio are less well known and it is unclear whether they were added after the original three or whether the list of six originated at the same time.

The first coming together of a loving couple on the night of January 2 is called
"First Princess", "Hime Hajime 姫初め" and sometimes used in senryu.
© Quote from the WIKIPEDIA

The best view of Mount Fuji is from 三保松原 Miho no Matsubara in Shizuoka.
There were also the eggplants grown and brought to Ieyasu as an offering of "hatsumono", first things of the season.
The special round eggplants grew well in the volcanic soil of this area.

Orido nasu 折戸ナス Eggplants from Orido

During the Edo period, the eggplant was quite small, but now grown in hothouses, they get big and delicious.

- reference : buratamori NHK 2018 -


Lucky Dream for the New Year: Mount Fuji, Falcon and Eggplants
Suzuki Harunobu (1725–1770)


白隠慧鶴「一冨士二鷹三なすび」 Painting by HAKUIN
Fuji, Hawk and Eggplant

© www.mainichi-art.co.jp


CLICK for more engimono for new year

Remembering one's dream during the first three days of the New Year is important in Japan.
There are various explanations as to why Mt. Fuji, the hawk and the eggplant are considered auspicious items to dream about.

The first dream of the New Year (generally on January 2nd since people often stay up all day New Year's Day) is regarded as an omen about how the rest of the year will go. The belief goes back at least as far as the fourth century because a historical document refers to a this type of dream by Emperor Suinin.

The three best dreams you can have, in order, are about Mount Fuji, hawks and eggplants. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and is considered sacred. Hawks refer to another mountain called Ashitaka that is about half as tall as Mount Fuji. The eggplants, oddly enough, were added to the list to poke fun at high prices in ancient Japan.


CLICK to see more photos !

The first dream of the new year is supposed to foreshadow one's fortunes for the next twelve months. Dreams of Mt.Fuji, a hawk or an eggplant are considered auspicious, because all three of them were said to be high: Fuji being high in altitude, hawks high in flight, and the price of eggplants extaordinarily high when this tradition began 400 years ago.


To induce an auspicious dream, you put a picture of this object under your pillow.
Symbolism about the three items:

Fuji .. Buji ... safty, to stay safe
Taka(hawk) .. takaku ... higher
Nasu (eggplant)...nasu ..to do well

Isoda Koryuusai (act.1764-1788) Koryusai
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


To dream about the Seven Gods of Good Luck (shichi fukujin) was also considered auspicious. Visiting the temples of these gods (shichi fukujin mairi) was a practise during the New Year Holidays.

On New Years Eve the deities enter port on a takarabune (treasure ship) to bring happiness to everyone. Tradition says that sleeping with a picture of the shichifukujin aboard the takarabune under your pillow on January first ensures your first dream of the New Year will be a lucky one. Maybe the dreamer will even end up in seventh heaven.

More information about these gods


DREAM used in Kigo

yumemi zuki, 夢見月(ゆめみづき)month of seeing dreams
kigo for late spring
the lunar month of yayoi.

haru no yume, 春の夢 (はるのゆめ) dream in spring
kigo for all spring

Worldwide use

kiss on the forehead ~
my little girl asks blessings
for a good dream

- Shared by Sarbjit Singh Khaira -
Joys of Japan, August 2012

Things found on the way

clay bells with the three symbols of the first dream
Aichi, Nagoya Toshogu Shrine 名古屋東照宮 初夢土鈴

. Folk art from Aichi .


Dream 夢 haiku by
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


Mt Fuji's picture
under my pillow
thinking to eat eggplant

Etsuko Yanagibori


his first dream
of the new year
a labyrint

dreaming of her -
Playboy magazine
under his pillow

Geert Verbeke
Read more of his first dreams here:


2012 - Year of the Dragon

hatsu yume ya tatsu no ue ni tatsu Fuji no Yama

first dream -
a dragon at the foot
of Mount Fuji

. Gabi Greve, January 2012 .

first dream of the year
on a grassy moor wondering
which way Basho went

Abigail Friedman

Related words

***** More Japanese kigo of Daily Life
in the New Year Season:


***** Tapir Pillow, baku makura 獏枕

source : www.iroha.to

What do you do if you have a nightmare or a dream about being poor during the first three days of the New Year? You put the picture of a tapir under your pillow. A tapir (baku) is said to eat bad dreams and therefore especially helpful during this season.

Here is another picture of the pillow in form of a tapir

The BAKU is not a living animal of Japan, but during the Edo period became known through the talk of travellers. Pure imagination painted this fabulous BAKU, later identified as a tapir.

Facts about the BAKU
by Mark Schumacher


yume makura omamori 夢枕お守り
amulet for a good dream

yumemakura, yume makura 夢枕 "dream pillow"

from the shrine Tsumagoi Jinja 嬬恋神社 in Tokyo
source : kotaro zonu

It is a set for the New Year, with the Seven Gods of Good Luck in the Treasure Boat on one and the Tsurukame Crane and Turtoise for long life on the other.
The Treasure Boat hangs outside of the entrance to lure in Good Luck, the Tsurukame hangs in the sleeping room.
If for some reason the first dream of the year was not auspicious, you could float the paper with the boat down the river and get rid of the bad luck this way.
The woodblock for these prints dates back to the Edo period and has been treasured over many years.

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

. yumemakura 夢枕
legends about makuragami 枕神 "god of the pillow" .


first dream . . .
the images frozen
on my pillow

The New Year started with quite a cold spell ...

Gabi Greve, January 2010

. makura  枕 (まくら) pillow and haiku  


. yumemizuki 夢見月(ゆめみづき)month to see dreams  
kigo for late spring

. Sleep and Dream in Spring Kigo  

. Takarabune with the seven gods of good luck .

kigo for the New Year

takarabune 宝船 (たからぶね) treasure ship
takarabune shiku 宝船敷く(たからぶねしく)placing a treasure ship (under the pillow)
takarabune shiki ne 宝船敷き寝(たからぶねしきね)

takarabune uri 宝船売(たからぶねうり)
vendor of treasure ships

They were very popular in Edo and even walked through the pleasure quarters.



. All kinds of dreams, March 2012 .

Winners from the Shiki Monthly Kukai
. Shiki Monthly Kukai, March 2012 .


. Legends from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .

legends to explore
獏 - 03
バク - 06
- source : nichibun yokai database -


. Dreams and Nightmares .

- #hatsuyume #eggplant #fujisan #hawk -


Pris said...

hi gabi
I'm the same Pris from WHCmultimedia. I had my first dream on the new year last night and paid attention, thanks to you. There were two parts..in the first, a settlement was being made with money. I received a substantial amount from a judge making these decisions. It gave me enough to live on, despite health issues. Then, I was leaving a bad situation (which I'm in realistically) and traveling with an old friend into a happier place. The feeling was one of such strong relief to finally escape the prison I'd been in. Thanks for sharing this custom with me.

Anonymous said...

Inside Out: Haiku and Dreams
by Joseph Kirschner

According to Kirschner, dreams have a long history in haiku. For instance, Bashô mentioned dreams in at least fifty haiku. To explore this connection, Kirschner solicited dream haiku, along with commentary to provide context, from more than three dozen haiku poets

night chill—
the hand on my thigh
is my own

Lee Gurga’s vivid senryu has the same ingredients that make dreams powerful: strong imagery, and the element of surprise. As Kirschner declares, “No surprise? No poetry!”

Combining dreams and poems can be tricky, however, as Carlos Colón points out:

dreaming my best haiku
on paper now
how flat it seems

Indeed, readers may find some of the dreams—and the haiku—predictable. For example, while one poet is making slow progress on a musical composition, she has the same dream every night. She’s fleeing her apartment, which is on fire. She climbs down into an alley filled with smoke, but cannot reach the clearing ahead. Her dream ends.

Needless to say, when she finally finishes her composition, the recurring dream ends. While this is certainly a powerful experience for the poet, I think the reader will have anticipated it. This highlights the key difference between dreams and poetry. Dreams exist for the dreamer. On the other hand, haiku need to be finely wrought—for they are for the reader too.

Ella Wagemakers said...

I can still remember the first time I dreamt in Dutch ... an unexpected surprise, needless to say, and a definite indication that I had finally mastered the language and that it had seeped into my unconscious.

Dutch dream
I wake up and repeat
all the words I said

It didn't happen near the New Year, but within the first year after I had emigrated; in a way, also a new year.

:>) Ella

Gabi Greve said...

Hi Ella,
I even sometimes dream of my German parents talking in Japanese ... and then I wake up in great astonishment ... grin ...


anonymous said...

akatsuki no yume o hamenan hototogisu

gobble up
my dawn dream...


According to the prescript this haiku was inspired by a dream of Kikuto, one of Issa's haiku students. Kikuto dreamed that he saw Issa's corpse in a river, tied to a rope being held by a child; Issa zenshu^ (Nagano: Shinano Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1976-79) 3.63.
I have revised my translation based on that of Makoto Ueda, who reveals that hamenan is a form of the verb hamu: to eat or to feed on; Dew on the Grass: The Life and Poetry of Kobayashi Issa (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2004) 68.
Tr. David Lanoue


that dream of dawn -
take it with you and eat it up
mountain cockoo

Tr. Makoto Ueda


This is not a haiku for the new year!


anonymous said...

"first dream . . .
the images frozen
on my pillow"

this by far the best haiku you have penned gabi

Tomislav Maretić said...

first dream --
it was something beautiful,
but I forgot


anonymous said...

The first New Year's dream:
A snow white pigeon
With a green olive branch


Nippon 2007 Haiku Contest

Anonymous said...

first dream
marsh shadows inch back
to their roots

Anonymous said...

first dream
marsh shadows inch back
to their roots

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Shōnai 山形 - 庄内 - 伝説 Legends from Shonai, Yamagata

baku バク / 獏 legendary tapir

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

donkorogoma どんころ独楽 Donkoro spinning top for gambling

It has the images of symbols of good luck to make a bet on.
一富士 Fuji、ニ鷹 Hawk、三なすび/茄子 eggplant、
四だるま Daruma san 五虚無僧 Komuso monk、六西行 poet Saigyo.
Gamblers bet on one side to come up as top and if it does, they get their money back about sixfold.

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