History of Saijiki

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History of Japanese Saijiki

The origines come from the Chinese chronicles of regional yearly events, called Fuudoki 風土記 in Japanese. These local records of regional specialities started to be writtin in Japan in 713, with the "Almanac from Izumo, Izumo Fudoki 出雲風土記" being one of the oldest.

Saijiki 歳時記 means
saiji no kiroku 歳時の記録 "almanac about things going on in one year",
almanach about the four seasons.
The KI 記 in saijiki is not the same as the KI 季 in kigo, season word.

(The sound of KI does have quite a lot of different meanings in Japanese, all expressed with different Chinese characters. 木 a tree.  気 life energy.  忌 memorial day and so on. )

hon-i 本意 - "the real meaning" (honto no imi 本当の意味)
poetic essence, “essential implications”
“genuine purports” (Kawamoto)

The cultural context establishes this "true meaning" of a kigo within Japanese poetry. The WKD tries to add as much of this cultural context as possible.
(Please bear in mind that I am only one person with limited time . . .).

When adding new season words of other parts of the world, I try to explain its cultural context as best as I can with my haiku friends from the region.
A great thank you again to all who contributed.

Chinese Saijiki 中国歳時記

Keiso Saijiki 荊楚歳時記
written in China in the 6th or 7th century.
Since China was a rather large place even at that time, the author wrote about the customs, festivals, food and other specialities of his area, Keiso. It is a valuable chronicle of anthropology rather than poetry.

In the Nara period, this was introduced to Japan and a
Japanese Saijiki 日本歳時記 was then compiled under the supervision of Kaibara Ekiken 貝原益軒 and his nephew Kooko 好古.

Kaibara Ekken (Ekiken) (1630 - 1714)
Chinese Poetry for Beginners
Shinju heikō aimotorazaru ron - Treatise on the Non-Divergence of Shinto and Confucianism
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

The influence of botanical studies for medicinal purposes increased the interest in nature.

honzoogaku 本草学 medicinal botany

. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Other early almanacs are

花火草 Hanabigusa
by Nonoguchi Ryuuho 野々口立圃 Nonoguchi Ryuho[1595~1669]
(He is often called "the father of haiga")

斎藤徳元『俳諧初学抄』 Haikai Shogakushoo
"Instructions for haikai beginners"
by Saitoo Tokugen , [1559~1647] comp. 1641
including 770 season words

話草 Hanashigusa comp. 1636
about 590 seasonal words
毛吹草 Kefukigusa, "Blownfur grass" comp. 1645
about 950 seasonal words for haikai and
550 seasonal words for renga
by Matsue Shigeyori 松江重頼 [1602 - 1680]

- maybe the same with a different Chinese character

嚔草(はなひぐさ, はなひ草)Hanahigusa "Sneeze Grass" (comp. 1636)
Matsue Shigenori (1602 - 1680). almost 600 kigo.
(hanahirigusa 嚔草 / ハナヒリグサ Centipeda minima, 吐金草 tokinsoo)


北村季吟『山之井』 Yama no I
by Kitamura Kigin [1624 -1705]comp. 1647-8
It contained 1300 kigo.
............... later republished as
Zoo yama no i "Expanded Mountain Well "Yama no I" 1667
- Text samples from Waseda University :
source : www.wul.waseda.ac.jp

Kigin was the teacher of Matsuo Basho.
. Kitamura Kigin Memorial Day
Kigin Ki 季吟忌 (きぎんき)

and Zoku Yama no I 続山の井, 7 volumes
edited by Kitamura Kojun 北村湖春, published in 寛文7年刊. It included hokku from 36 poets from Iga Ueno and 28 poems by Matsuo Basho 宗房(のちの芭蕉).

Kojun was the son of Kigin.
(1650 - 1697)
His haikai name was Kijun 季順 "the order of season words", as they are used in renku writing.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Binsenshuu comp. 1669
including 2000 seasonal words.

Ruisenshuu 類船集 comp. 1677
including 7 volumes, 俳諧辞書 Haikai Dictionary
From the Teimon school of Haikai
source : www.wul.waseda.ac.jp
Takase Baisei 高瀬梅盛 ?(1619 - 1702) ?(1611-1699)

With the dramatic growth of haikai in the seventeenth century, the number of new seasonal words grew rapidly.
- snip - ... while the number of seasonal words grew at an astounding pace, the number of seasonal topics remained relatively limited.
source : Haruo Shirane
Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons:
Nature, Literature, and the Arts

seasonal words - read kigo
seasonal topics - read kidai

tatedai 縦題 - 竪題 "vertical dai"
classical season words like plum, cherry, hototogisu, autumn leaves, used in waka and renku poetry.

yokodai 横題 "horizontal dai"
mostly new dai concerning the human beings, like manzai, yabu-iri, kotatsu . . .
A term used for haikai poetry.


quote - Richard Gilbert
After haiku became a fully independent genre,
the term "kigo" was coined by Otsuzi Ōsuga (1881-1920) in 1908.
"Kigo" is thus a new term for the new genre approach of "haiku."
So, when we are looking historically at hokku or haikai stemming from the renga tradition, it seems best to use the term "kidai."
. WKD : Kigo and Kidai .


These books have most probably been used as guides for writing linked verse, renga, at their time.

In 1803 the first Haikai Saijiki Shiorigusa (Kanzoo) 俳諧歳時記栞草 was compiled by Takizawa Bakin, with about 2600 seasonal themes and topics (kidai) and 3300 kigo.
滝沢馬琴 (1767-1848) Takizawa Bakin :
other names : 曲亭 馬琴 Kyokutei Bakin, 澤興邦 Takizawa Okikuni

In 1933, the first four seasonal volumes of the modern Haikai Saijiki were published.

Katoo Ikuya 加藤郁乎
Edo haikai saijiki (1983) 江戸俳諧歳時記


For a modern haiku poet, a small saijiki to carry around during the haiku walk, ginkoo, is an essential.
And the Nihon DAI saijiki 大歳時記, the big saijiki, is a constant companion on the study desk.
カラー図説 日本大歳時記

It contains many local kigo from all the regions of Japan.

online 日本大歳時記

季語と歳時記 (Kigosai)
長谷川櫂, Kigo to Saijiki no Kai. Online Saijiki
and a Korean Saijiki 韓国歳時記
Hasegawa Kai

Enjoy Old Kigo ! 古季語と遊ぶ
by Uda Kiyoko 宇多喜代子

- not a saijiki but
ひとたばの手紙から―戦火を見つめた俳人たち hitotaba no tegami kara
宇多 喜代子 Uda Kiyoko

ザ・俳句十万人歳時記 春
Saijiki written by 10.0000 people - SPRING

宇多喜代子 (監修) Uda Kiyoko
松田ひろむ (編集) Matsuda Hiromu
有馬朗人, 廣瀬直人, 金子兜太
with Arima Akito, Hirose Naoto and Kaneko Tohta

Versions for the other seasons are available.

The New Year

These books include 18.0000 haiku over 400 years.


We have local saijiki of various regions of Japan

Furusato Dai Saijiki ふるさと大歳時記
角川版. Regional Saijiki
8 volumes in A4-size, richly illustrated, from Hokkaido to Okinawa
Editors : Yamaguchi Seison, Takaha Shugyo et al.
Published in Heisei 4 (1992)


. "Local kigo" (chibo kigo, chiboo kigo 地貌季語)
Katarikakeru kigo
yuruyaka na nihon

by Miyasaka Shizuo 宮坂静生
Published in 2006

Satoyama Saijiki
by Uda Kiyoko
里山歳時記 . 宇多喜代子

(Published in 2004)

The Traditional Rural Landscape of Japan

. Edo Saijiki 江戸歳時記 - The Four Seasons in Edo .


Haiku Publications in the Edo Period


Edited by the Monk Chomu.

Edited by Buson, with contributions by Chiyo-Ni and Denjo


quote from Simply Haiku

Kaneko Tôta:
"Takahama Kyoshi said kigo must be a rule,
Bashô wrote seasonless poems.
Before Kyoshi kigo was only a promise not a rule."

That kigo before Kyoshi was not a rule but a “promise“ is a statement of Tôta Kaneko similarly, in various places and texts. If you look at the history of haikai literature, it will become clear. There were no authorized “rulebooks” in Bashô's time and only a few compilations of keywords; in fact, there was only a single case of a limited season-keyword compilation, from the unique haikai poet Kitamura Kigin (b. 1625-1705) of the Teimon school.

Bashô himself recommended a different haikai “rulebook” to his disciples, the Haikai mugonshô [Haikai book without words] published in 1676, which presented the techniques and philosophy of haikai, rather than being a dictionary of keywords.

And Bashô included haiku without kigo in his haiku philosophy. Even the founder of modern haiku, Masaoka Shiki (b. 1867-1902) accepted haiku without kigo and wrote such haiku himself. Shiki’s treatment of non-kigo haiku follows the example of Bashô, and other haiku poets of the Edo period. In the last years of Shiki’s life Kyoshi, one of his main disciples, became de facto chief editor of Hototogisu.
© Itô Yûki / Simply Haiku Summer 2008

Haikai Glossary
俳諧無言抄 Haikai Mugon Sho

promise, yakusokugoto 約束事

WKD : Kitamura Kigin  北村季吟

haikai sho 俳諧書 "Haikai Books"
- 俳諧七部集大鏡
- Haikai Na no Shiori, Haikai Na Shiori 誹諧名知折 Guide to Haikai Names
Haikai Guide to Names, 1780
by Kitao Shigemasa, 1739–1820


List of Season Words
Kiyose 季寄せ

Haiku Appreciation Almanach
Haiku Kansho Saijiki 鑑賞歳時記

kanshoo kanshou / kanshô
CLICK for more photos

Edo no Saijiki 江戸の歳時記
source : wheatbaku.exblog.jp

. 信州歳時記 online
Shinano Mainichi Shinbun 
A collection of local festivals, ceremonies and specialities.

Boosai Saijiki of Disasters and Catastrophies

Here are some more Saijiki from AMAZON.COM, they have a
list of more than 1500 saijiki books:

男の俳句、女の俳句 For Men and Women
色好み江戸の歳時記 Love and Colors of Edo
酒場歳時記 Places to Drink

フランス歳時記―生活風景12か月 French Saijiki
旅の歳時記 (春)
Travelling in the Seasons

料理歳時記 Food
食のことわざ歳時記―伝承の食生活の知恵120 Food and Proverbs
Fresh Vegetables of the Season

うたの歳時記 (1)
Songs (many volumes)きもの歳時記 (242) Kimono

Birds and insects
唐詩歳時記 Chinese Poetry

里山歳時記 田んぼのまわりで Local Mountains and Fields, Village Saijiki
北国俳句歳時記 Hokkaido
山の歳時記 (1) Mountains
鉄道歳時記 (1) Railway
お天気歳時記― Weather
ことばの歳時記 Words

勘九郎ひとりがたり―中村屋歳時記 Kabuki and Kankuro Nakamura
歌舞伎歳時記 Kabuki
..... WKD : Kabuki Saijiki
オペラ歳時記 Opera
江戸風俗 東都歳時記を読む Customs of Old Edo
江戸たべもの歳時記 Food of Old Edo
京都歳時記 Kyoto

おむすびの祈り―「いのち」と「癒し」の歳時記 Prayers and Healing
宗教歳時記 Religion and Saijiki
昭和歳時記 The Showa Period Saijiki
元禄歳時記 The Genroku Period Saijiki

There are many many many more here:
Input 歳時記。


Tooto Saijiki 東都歳事記 Saijiki of the Eastern Capital
5 volumes 5冊  - 1838
All about the customs of Edo - Toto Saijiki

Read the full text here:
source : www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp


kigo 季語(きご)

a word that represents the season in haikai and renga poetry.
KI means season
GO means word

In olden times, these words were simply called
ki 季, season or
ki no kotoba 季の詞(ことば)word of the season or
shiki no kotoba 四季の詞 word of the four seasons

The meaning is almost similar to kidai 季題, a seasonal theme, which comprises various kigo, season words.

The utamakura 歌枕(うたまくら) "poetic words" of the Heian period were already divided into the 12 months.

In the renga book of 1672 連歌至宝抄 (renga shihooshoo) by Satomura Joha (Jooha) 里村紹巴(じょうは)there were 270 kigo mentioned.

Since the Edo period, the number of kigo has grown rapidly and kiyose and saijiki have been compiled, see above.

Modern saijiki contain more than 4000 kidai and more than 9000 kigo.

The ONLINE Nyūmon Saijiki of the University of Virginia Library includes approximately 800 kidai, or headwords, and 2,100 kigo, or subtopics.
The Japanese text is intended for the Japanese readers. The English is a translation.

utamakura 歌枕 poetry pillow words" utamakura 
Placenames used in Haiku


Nature, Literature and the Arts

Haruo Shirane

By the eighth century, "a larger grammar of seasonal poetry" began to emerge, according to which emotions were not expressed directly, but implied through seasonal references instead.
This required a sophisticated understanding of their usage and became what we think of now as Japan's traditional poetic art.
..... The cycle of the seasons represented there "is not a reflection of the natural environment," the book explains, but part of a developing aesthetic.
..... Shirane makes an important distinction between "primary" and "secondary" nature, the latter referring not to the forests, rivers and mountains given so much attention in the writings of conservationists, but to the representation of nature in the arts.

Read the full article HERE
quote book review by David Burleigh


Time in Saijiki

In the traditional lunar calendar,

spring was from the first month through the third month,
summer from the fourth month through the sixth,
autumn from the seventh month through the ninth, and
winter from the tenth month through the twelfth.

Even after 1873, new saijiki were edited one after another.
The saijiki of the new era, however, could not just attach the season words to similar dates of the solar calendar, so that, for example, an observance of the ninth day of the ninth month (old style) would be attached to 9 September (new style). Events and customs that were firmly bound tothe old calendar still remained throughout the country.

Read more :

. Time in Saijiki - - - by Hasegawa Kai


A type of book derived from haiku and kyooka 狂歌 Kyoka, comic "crazy verses"

Kibyooshi Kibyōshi 黄表紙 "Yellow Cover Books"
is a genre of Japanese picture book kusazōshi (草双紙) produced during the middle of the Edo period, from 1775 to the early 19th century. Physically identifiable by their yellow-backed covers, kibyōshi were typically printed in 10 page volumes, many spanning two to three volumes in length, with the average number of total pages being 30. Considered to be the first purely adult comicbook in Japanese literature, a large picture spans each page, with descriptive prose and dialogue filling the blank spaces in the image.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. WKD : Books of the Edo Period .

. seihonshi 製本師 bookbinder .


***** Seasons and Categories
Learn the Basics of World Kigo.

Izumo Fudoki (Izumo Fuudoki 出雲風土記) Records of Ancient Izumo


New Year Collection

. Kidai and Kigo 季題と季語

. WKD : The use of kigo in worldwide haiku


. WASHOKU ... Japanese Food Saijiki

. Chinese origin of Japanese kigo .

Kigo used by
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .




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