Mosquitoes (ka)

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Mosquitoes, mosquitos (ka)

***** Location: Japan, worldwide
***** Season: All Summer and see below
***** Category: Animal and Humanity


mosquito, ka 蚊
"column", swarm of mosquitos, kabashira 蚊柱

"mosquitos in the underbrush, country mosquitos"
..... yabuka, "thicket mosquito", striped mosquitos 藪蚊
CLICK for more photos !
a rather unpleasant variety when working outside, Stegomyia fasciata.

to hit a mosquito, swat a mosquito, ka o utsu 蚊を打つ

. "fly squatter", mosquito squatter, hae tataki


gaganbo ががんぼ crane fly, daddy-longlegs
ka no uba 蚊の姥(かのうば) "grandmother mosquito"
katonbo, ka tonbo 蚊蜻蛉(かとんぼ)"dragonfly mosquito"
ooka 大蚊(おおか)"big mosquito"
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

A crane fly is an insect in the family Tipulidae.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

I tweet my words
a cranefly settles
on the door

- Shared by Clive Oseman -
Joys of Japan, 2012


makunagi 蠛蠓 (まくなぎ) midge
mematoi めまとい, memawari めまわり、metataki めたたき
"eye disturber"
nukaga 糠蚊(ぬかが)"rice bran fly"
namagusa 蠓(なまぐさ)
yusurika 揺蚊(ゆすりか)"swaying fly"

tobu 蚋 (ぶと) gnat
buto 蟆子(ぶと),buyu ぶゆ、buyo ぶよ

yume no yo to kame o warau ka buyu no koe

hey, the world's
a dream
-- are the gnats
laughing at the turtle?

Tr. Chris Drake

. Full comment by Chris Drake .

. . . . . . . . . . .

humanity kigo for late summer

kusa kageroo 草蜉蝣 (くさかげろう) lacewing fly


humanity kigo for all summer

CLICK for more photos

mosquitonet, mosquito net, kaya 蚊帳
..... one of the best things in an old Japanese farmhouse in summer, to sleep cool in the night breeze, all doors open

There are quite a few kigo releted to this most important item of old !

..... kaya 蚊屋(かや)
..... kachoo 蚊帳(かちょう)
..... kabukuro 蚊袋(かぶくろ)

furugaya 古蚊帳(ふるがや)old mosquito net

asagaya 麻蚊帳(あさがや)mosquito net made from hemp
momengaya 木綿蚊帳(もめんがや)mosquito net made from cotton

aogaya 青蚊帳(あおがや)green mosquito net
(usually a mixture of hemp and cotton, dyed in this color)

shirokaya 白蚊帳(しろかや)white mosquito net

kaya no te 蚊帳の手(かやのて)hanger of a mosquito net
there were four "hands" to hang the net on the four corners of the room.

hatsu kaya 初蚊帳(はつかや)first use of the mosquito net
..... kaya no tsuri hajime 、蚊帳の吊り初め(かやのつりはじめ)
..... kaya hajime 蚊帳初め(かやはじめ)

misumigaya 三隅蚊帳(みすみがや)mosquito net with three corners

Oomigaya 近江蚊帳(おうみがや)mosquito net from Omi (near lake Biwa)
Naragaya 奈良蚊帳(ならがや)mosquito net from Nara
These two regions were especially famous for the fine mosquito nets.
The nets from Omi were green with a red seam to bring a bit of color to the bedroom.

makuragaya 枕蚊帳(まくらがや)pillow mosquito net
..... horogaya 母衣蚊帳(ほろがや)
mostly usef for small children

mengaya 面蚊帳(めんがや) mosquito net for the face
Used by the army when luggage was limited. 

CLICK for more photos
kayauri, kaya uri 蚊帳売(かやうり)vendor of mosquito nets

They used to walk in the town of Edo, the master with a hat and hanten coat including the name of his shop, and a servant with just a straw hat. He carried a pole with two baskets full of nets.
The master shouted "moegi no kayaaa" もえぎのかやーー "green mosquito nets", stretching the AAA sound while walking almost 50 meters in a narrow road, so all could hear him. His strong, beautiful voice was one of his advertisements of the trade and he had to take lessons to be able to produce the call.

shichoo 紙帳 ( しちょう) mosquito net made of washi Japanese paper
shichoo uri 紙帳売(しちょううり) vendor of the above

The net could be in a triangular or square form and was usually white. Some were painted with black ink paintings. Some parts of the paper were cut and nets of fine silk inserted to let the wind come in.
These were used by poor people who could not afford all-meshed nets. They also used these nets in winter for a bit of warmth.

ko wa gochoo oya wa shichoo o tsurite neru

the daughter sleeps in Gocho
the parents sleep
under a paper net

The daughter had been sold to the Yoshiwara pleasure district (Gocho-Machi) and her poor parents had to make do with a paper net. This senryu expressed the poor living conditions of so many people in Edo.

This is also a pun with GO 5 and SHI 4.

. Doing Business in Edo - 江戸の商売 .

Mother breastfeeding a child under a mosquito net
Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825)

source : loc.gov/pictures/collection
Fujin tomarikyaku no zu / Woman with a visitor.
Kitagawa Utamaro


observance kigo for mid-summer

gihoo o kaku 儀方を書く writing GI HO
..... gihoo o shosu 儀方を書す(ぎほうをしょす)
writing a spell
A custom of China, on May 5.
n ancient China it was custom to write the two characters GIHO 儀方 on a piece of paper and paste this onto the four main pillars of the home to ward off mosquitoes and flies during the summer time. In Japan, this tradition was followed for some time too.

. Calligraphy and Kigo


kigo for late spring

haru no ka 春の蚊 はるのか mosquito in spring
..... haruka, haru-ka 晩春 春蚊(はるか)

hatsu ka 初蚊(はつか)first mosquito


kigo for all autumn

aki no ka 秋の蚊 (あきのか) mosquito in autumn
wakare no ka 別れ蚊(わかれか)"good bye mosquitos"
nokoru ka 残る蚊(のこるか)mosquiots still left
..... ka no nagori 蚊の名残(かのなごり)
okurega 後れ蚊(おくれか) late mosquitos

kigo for mid-autumn

abureka 溢蚊 (あぶれか)
mosquitos beyond their prime

..... aware ga 哀れ蚊(あわれか)"pitiful mosquitos"
hachigatus ka 八月蚊(はちがつか) mosquitos of the eighth lunar month


kigo for all winter

fuyu no ka 冬の蚊 (ふゆのか ) mosquito in winter
..... fuyuka 冬蚊(ふゆか)

Worldwide use


. Mosquito and mosquito net  



mosquito net
kigo for all summer

bright smile
over and under the mosquito net -
new born

Heike Gewi


Things found on the way

kabashira hyakku 蚊柱百句
100 verses about swarming mosquitoes

. Nishiyama Soin 西山宗因 .
(1605 - 1682)

He was the first to introduce mosquitoes, fleas and other low insects into haikai poetry, since "every living creature has a heart".


at Temple Toshodai-Ji (Tooshoodaiji 唐招提寺)

Legend relates to saint Kakujoo shoonin 覚盛上人 (1194 - 1249).
When he was sitting in Zazen, many mosquitoes came to disturb him and suck his blood.
His disciples hurried on to hit the mosquitoes and kill them.
But Kakujo held them back:
"Right now I am practising making offerings (fuse gyoo 布施行)
and offer my blood to the mosquitoes."
Only after his death did the disciples and the nuns offer fans at his grave.

Even now they are made by hand and sold at the temple.

. Temple Toshodaiji .


Oomi-gaya ase ya sazanami yoru no toko / Oomigaya

mosquito net from Omi -
my sweat - gentle waves
my bed at night

Written in 1677 延宝5年 Basho age 34.

When using this famous mosquito net in Edo, the poet can remember the gentle waves of Lake Biwa.
sazanami is a makurakotoba "pillow word" of Lake Biwa 琵琶湖.

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 Issa in Edo .
Tr. Gabi Greve

kaze fuku ya ana darake demo waga kachoo

wind blows -
even with lots of holes this is
my mosquito net

hototogisu kiki dokoro tote yabu ka kana

a good place
to hear the hototogisu
but all these mosquitoes . . .

The cut marker KANA is at the end of line 3.


a mosquito
aiming noisily -
the sound of one hand


the sound
of one hand clapping >
a dead mosquito

While I was having my bout with the enemy, little Haiku-kun (my kitten) had his encounter with one of Karls children (Karl is the general name of our large mini-tiny Frog-Family, you can see one of his brothers in the picture in the following link).

the sound
of one paw tapping >
a dead frog


Gabi Greve


my old ears
hear less and less -



By Soji


tailors' bazaar --
tea and mosquito coils
on the evening air

Norman Darlington, (Timbuktu, Mali)


昼寝時 一匹だけの 蚊の音色
hirunedoki ippiki dake no ka no ne-iro

Mittagsschlaf -
das Geräusch von nur EINER

naptime -
the sound of just ONE

Gabi Greve, June 2006          


ka no koe no naka ni shisaku no ito o eshi

Takeshita Shizunojo (1887 - 1951)

amid the buzz of mosquitoes
a thread of ideas is enfolding

(tr. Gabi Greve)

Through the mosquito's voice
I started a thread of poetic thought.

Read an interesting interpretation of this haiku by
Hugh Bygott, July 2006


from deep inside
the pretty flower...
thicket mosquito

utsukushiki hana no naka yori yabu ka kana

by Issa, 1808
Tr. David Lanoue

Related words

boofura, boofuri 孑孑 ぼうふら - ぼうふり mosquito larva

. WKD : Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

boofuri ga tenjoo suru zo kado no tsuki

a larva flies, now
a mosquito, up to heaven --
moon above the gate

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku is a later (1822) variation of a hokku written in 1819, the year evoked in Year of My Life:

boufuri ga tenjou suru zo mika no tsuki

a larva flies, now
a mosquito, up to heaven --
thin crescent moon

In the original version a third-night crescent moon shares heaven with the newly matured mosquito. When Issa put this hokku into Year of My Life he changed three syllables to make it a little softer, but the difference isn't major. See my April 10, 2013 post.

Of course Issa knows larvae can't fly, and he is not suggesting that the larva here is flying up toward heaven. His concise verse implies that the larva has at last turned into a mature mosquito that is able to fly. The term "flying/rising up to heaven" seems to have three meanings here. First, the mature mosquito takes off for the first time into the evening sky. Second, the mosquito must be so glad to have left behind its larva and pupa stages that it's as happy as if it were in heaven. And third, Issa celebrates the mosquito's growth from a mere larva and then pupa and its discovery that it can fly. Momentarily he seems to feel none of the ordinary aversion humans have toward mosquitoes. Instead, he seems to be imagining what it must feel like to be a newly mature mosquito that believes it can fly anywhere, even to heaven. However, the moon rising above the gate suggests that heaven is a actually a bit higher than the mosquito thinks it is.

Chris Drake


***** Bat 蚊喰鳥 kakuidori, bat [literally "mosquito-eating bird"] Fledermaus

***** Mosquitoes in Kenya

***** WKD : Fly-swatter, Mosquitoe Swatter
katori senkoo 蚊取り線香 mosquito coil

*****  aki no kaya 秋の蚊帳 (あきのかや)
mosquito net in autumn


plant kigo for late summer

kayatsurigusa 蚊帳吊草 (かやつりぐさ)
"plant to hang in the mosquito net"

Cyperus microiria. Zypergras
Grows wild on abandoned fields. It has a strong fragrance against mosquitoes.

no ni fuseba kayatsurigusa mo tanomu beshi

when lying down in the wilderness
we should also get some
mosquito net grass

Kobayashi Issa 一茶

Illustration by : www.kyoko-kirie.jp






Gabi Greve said...

hatsu-kaya no/shimi-jimi aoki/ose kana

how green it is,
the mosquito net first used in the season!
-- our clandestine rendezvous

A mosquito net is often used as one of the popular "stage props" for the drama of sensual love in Japanese literature and also in such art forms as ukiyo-e.

Sojo Hino (1901-1956)
Translated and commented by Susumu Takiguchi  


Gabi Greve said...

hitori-ne no/kaya no yosumi o/tsuri meguru

sleeping alone...
I move about to hang the four corners
of the mosquito net

Sojo Hino (1901-1956)
Translated and commented by Susumu Takiguchi  


Gabi Greve said...

sudden drizzle
a mosquito takes off
from the paper boat

—A. Thiagarajan, India

Gabi Greve said...

Mosquitoes in Kenya


Gabi Greve said...


looking for food
in the winter sun -
a long-winged mosquito

Look at my winter in 2006 ! Gabi


Anonymous said...

a pause to admire
the mosquito's long legs--
then I slap!

Jeanne Emrich, The Haiku Habit

Anonymous said...

medetasa wa kotoshi no ka ni mo kuware keri

a celebration--
this year's mosquitoes too

Issa, 1816

I revised the first line of the translation from "oh joy" to "lucky
me!" because Shinji Ogawa felt that there might be ambiguity as to
who is feeling the joy. He writes, "The joy is appreciated by Issa, not by mosquitoes," because Issa "is lucky enough to survive to be bitten again by this year's mosquitoes."

Tr. David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

mosquito humming ...
voices from the land
of my longing

:>) Ella Wagemakers

Anonymous said...

even the horses
sleep in light green
mosquito nets!

uma made mo moegi no kaya ni netari keri

by Issa, 1819

This haiku has the prescript, "Edo mansion."

Tr.David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

ima mireba tsugi darake nari ore ga kaya

upon inspection
it's covered with patches...
my mosquito net

(Tr. David Lanoue)


Catbird55 said...

a femme fatale
enjoys one last drink on me
before she meets with Deet


Gabi Greve - waga yado said...

waga yado wa ka no chiisaki o chisoo kana

Matsuo Basho

at my hut,
all that i have to offer you,
is that the mosquitoes are small
Tr. ? nonature

Gabi Greve - facebook said...

snowbirds fly...
gallinipper swarm
moves in

Pat Geyer

HEADLINE: Gallinippers! Monster Mosquitoes Poised to Strike Florida

"One of the most ferocious insects you've ever heard of — it's the size of a quarter and its painful bite has been compared to being knifed — is set to invade Florida this summer.

The Sunshine State, already home to man-eating sinkholes, invading Burmese pythons, swarming sharks, tropical storms and other disasters, can expect to see an explosion of shaggy-haired gallinippers (Psorophora ciliata), a type of giant mosquito, according to entomologist Phil Kaufman of the University of Florida."

The Gallinipper is a huge, slow-flying mosquito. Wing length is up to 6.5 mm. Males, which do not bite, are sometimes attracted to lights at night. They are relatively infrequent.

Males have incredible bottlebrush-like feathery antennae.


Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Masaoka Shiki

ootera ya en no shita yori kakuidori

from below the veranda
of this big temple

about big temples

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Murooji ni kakuremichi ari kakuidori

around temple Muro-Ji
there are hidden roads -
and these bats

Yamamoto Yooko 山本洋子 Yamamoto Yoko

about temple Muro-Ji

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

hatsu aki ya tataminagara no kaya no yogi

first sign of autumn -
the folded mosquito net
as my blanket

Written in 1691 元禄4年秋

MORE about the yogi

Anonymous said...

kaya e kuru furusato no machi no usuakari

it comes to the mosquito net
a faint light
of my hometown

Nakamura Kusatao 中村草田男
(tr. Fay Aoyagi)

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa
and his mosquito haiku
collection of the WKD !!

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

yobimizu 呼び水 "water to call the mosquitoes"
Put into the barrels for extinguishing fires.
When the mosquitoes had laied their eggs into the barrels, the water was sprinkld on the road.
Now buckets are used too.


Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa


ka-bashira no sanbonme yori mike no tsuki

from out of the third
column of circling midges
a crescent moon

This energetic, large-scale hokku is from the fifth month (June) of 1818, soon after the birth of Sato, Issa's daughter, whose death he mourns a little over a year later in Year of My Life. In the hokku, the sun has just set, and the waxing crescent moon gradually becomes visible higher up as it descends through the still fairly bright upper western sky toward moonset in perhaps a couple of hours. Issa sees three separate swarms of tiny midges circling around and around above him in columns that resemble delicate, miniature tornados. As he may know, male midges are swarming for the sake of meeting female midges, who fly into the columns to mate with their favorites as the males fly around and around. The columns must look rather dark because of the light of the sunset beyond them, and at first it was difficult to see the slender moon that became visible in the slightly darkening upper sky because of the dense, moving midge columns, but the moon's thin crescent shape eventually emerges from behind the bottom or perhaps from one side of the third column. The stillness and leisurely pace of the moon contrast strongly with the fast, frenzied dance of midges in the column that hid it, though the circle the moon implicitly traces with its arc resembles the roughly circular flight path of the male midges. Perhaps Issa is enjoying the suggestion of temporary fusion between movement and stillness, heat and coolness, presence and absence that is suggested by the moon as begins to emerge from the column, giving the column an even stronger hovering quality. At the same time, both the delicate, mating-entranced midges and the slender, barely present moon must seem almost completely transient, as if they were momentarily defining the border between the visible world and the other world, including the Pure Land in the west.

The word ka-bashira in the first line of the hokku is often translated 'mosquito column,' and I've previously translated it that way myself, but the naturalist Richard A. Fidler pointed out to me that in Japanese the term ka in the broad sense refers to non-biting, non-threatening midges and gnats as well as to mosquitos. He makes a very good point, and some large Japanese dictionaries as well as Japanese Wikipedia include non-biting midges (yusuri-ka) in their definitions of ka-bashira. In fact, in terms of numbers, midges are extremely numerous, so midge swarm columns are almost surely more common in Japan than mosquito columns. Moreover, from as early as the eighth century midge columns were called 'auspicious clouds' (慶雲 kei-un) and regarded as extremely lucky signs by Japanese fortune-tellers, an image suggesting peaceful midges. In reading over Issa's several hokku using this image, I found some that can be interpreted as treating swarm columns as a bother or a problem, but the majority seem to be about attractive, peaceful, fascinating insect behavior, so I think it might be best to translate ka-bashira as either 'midge column' or 'mosquito column' depending on the concrete imagery in each individual hokku. In the present hokku, the dynamic and expansive yet contemplative mood that almost seems to imply that the appearance of the moon on this evening is the result of insect mating, suggests to me that Issa is talking about midges rather than mosquitos, which are often viewed by humans as threatening, constricting, or unpleasant.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

waga yado wa kuchi de fuite mo deru ka kana

at my house
if you breathe out hard
mosquitos come

This hokku is from the sixth lunar month (July) of 1816, three or four weeks after Issa's infant son Sentaro died. Sentaro was born on lunar 4/14 (May 10) and died less than a month later, on 5/11 (June 6), so this hokku may include traces of Issa's sorrow at losing his son. Issa's wife spent most of the fourth month at her parents' home in the next village, where he mother could help her with the birth, and Issa was sometimes there as well and, after his son had died, he often stayed at students' houses. It seems likely that neither Issa nor his wife have been housecleaning much recently, so Issa may be indicating that he has to blow dust off of various things in his house, thus stirring up many mosquitos. Mosquitos also come when he blows on his hot green tea or his hot miso soup to cool them or puts out a candle with a puff of breath. They gather and bite him even if he just breathes out a hard breath. The mosquitos are everywhere, acting as if the house were theirs, not his.

The hokku seems to suggest that it is strong air currents that cause the mosquitos to gather and attack. The verb in the second line doesn't refer to simple breathing: it's used for breathing in the sense of blowing or breathing hard or breathing on something, as when warming your hands with your breath in winter. The verb can also be used for blowing out tobacco smoke. Blyth believed that the blowing in this hokku referred to whistling and that mosquitos appeared whenever Issa simply whistled (Haiku 3.207), but the verb Issa uses (kuchi de fuku) mainly means to blow out air or breathe out hard, although these can sometimes be a form of whistling. Usually a separate verb (kuchibue o fuku) is used for whistling. Further, male mosquitos gather when they hear the sounds made by the wings of female mosquitos, which vibrate at about 230 Hz, yet humans whistle at about 2,000 Hz, making it difficult to see why human whistling in particular would attract amorous male mosquitos.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legends about Fudo お不動さま 
Miyagi prefecture 宮城県 
玉造郡 鳴子町 Narugo / Naruko
鬼首村 Onikobe village (Demon Head Village) 
Once upon a time
a demon wanted to enter the village of Onikobe, but Fudo killed him and burned the body.
From the ashes arose many many many mosquitoes which to our day suck the blood of the people.

Legends about Fudo Myo-O

Elaine Andre said...

Experimenting with 5-7-5

throwing off the sheet . . .
soon after the light goes out
a mosquito hums

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legends from Edo
Tokaiji Nana Fushigi 東海寺七不思議

千畳吊りの蚊帳 / 千畳づりの蚊帳 A mosquito net the size of 1000 tatami mats.
The temple 金山寺 Kinzan-Ji sent a present of a box with a mosquito net in a paulownia box. The net was rather large, maybe the largest at this time . . . but maybe not quite the size of 1000 tatami mats ?!
and priest Takuan:
火消しの松 pine extinguishing fire in China
At the back of the temple garden was an old tree, which had come all the way as a present from the temple 金山寺 Kinzan-Ji in 唐(中国) China. One night priest Takuan woke up and called out: "There is a fire at the temple Kinzan-Ji!" All the priests got up in a hurry and begun to douse the tree with water, praying to help the temple in China.
A while later came a present from Kinzan-Ji, expressing greatfulness for helping to extinguish the fire.

Gabi Greve said...

kaya 蚊帳 mosquito net

32 legends to explore

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tokushima
The golden rooster in the possession of a Rokubu pilgrim and a box with a mosquito net that could change its size according to the room,

Gabi Greve said...

Nagoya Castle 名古屋城

kabashira 蚊柱 pillar of swarming mosquitos

Once at the moat near 名古屋城南門 the South Gate of the castle there was a pillar almost like smoke, of an amazing hight and length. It was made of millions of mosquitos.
People later learned that the lord of the castle had died that night.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Kyoto 京都府 Fushimi 伏見区
ka no konai ie 蚊の来ない家 a home where mosquitoes do not come
In a village East of Fushimi there was one family home where the mosquitoes never came in the summer. In the other houses there were a lot.
In this home they used kaya 蚊帳 a mosquito net for only a very short time.

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