Star Festival (Tanabata) - Amanogawa

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Star Festival (Tanabata 七夕)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Early Autumn
***** Category: Observance


by Kitagawa Utamaro 歌麿 七夕
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Star Festival, "seventh evening"
Festival of the Weaver Girl,
Tanabata 七夕

..... referring to the double-date of the Asian lunar calendar, the 7th day of the 7th month; now celebrated 7 July in some places, on 7 August or even later in others.

It used to be at the change of the season from summer to autumn (yukiai 交合), celebrated on the night of the 6th of August until early morning of August 7, when autumn had started.
It has been celebrated since the Heian period in Japan, with the wish that young girls would become proficient in weaving and keeping a good home.

. kyuu Tanabata 旧七夕 Old Calendar Star Festival .

Before introducing the kigo in more detail,
read the old legend:

Tanabata was inspired by the famous Chinese folklore story,
"The Princess and the Cowherd". Some versions were included in the Man'yōshū, the oldest extant collection of Japanese poetry.

Orihime (織姫, Weaving Princess), daughter of the Tentei (天帝, Sky King, or the universe itself), wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (天の川, Milky Way, lit. "heavenly river"). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (彦星, Cow Herder Star) (also referred to as Kengyuu (牽牛)) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa.

When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter. However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven.
In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet.

Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge.

Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


kikooden 乞巧奠(きこうでん)
Festival to plead for skills in weaving
with a special shelf with offerings

.....kikkooten きっこうてん
kikkoodana 乞巧棚(きっこうだな)shelf
kikkobari 乞巧針(きっこうばり) needle

jisei, nisei 二星(じせい)"two stars"
gyuujo 牛女(ぎゅうじょ)"oc and woman"
meotoboshi 女夫星(めおとぼし)"couple stars"

oboshi 男星(おぼし)"Male Star", Altair
kengyuu 牽牛 (けんぎゅう) Altair
kengyuusei 牽牛星(けんぎゅうせい)Altair
ushibikiboshi 牛引星(うしひきぼし)"ox-leading star"
hikoboshi 彦星(ひこぼし)Altair
inukaiboshi 犬飼星(いぬかいぼし)Altair
Otanabata 男七夕(おたなばた)"male tanabata," Altair

meboshi 女星(めぼし)"Female Star", Vega
shokujo 織女 (しょくじょ ) "weaving woman", Vega
shokujosei 織女星(しょくじょせい)Vega
tsumaboshi 妻星(つまぼし)"wife star", Vega
..... hoshi no tsuma 星の妻(ほしのつま)
hataorihime 機織姫(はたおりひめ)"weaving princess"
tanabatahime 棚機姫(たなばたひめ) "tanabata princess"
tanabata tsume 棚機つ女 (たなばたつめ)Tanabata weaver girl
Metanabata 女七夕(めたなばた)"female tanabata", Vega

Star festival, hoshi matsuri 星祭
meeting of the stars, hoshi-ai, hoshi ai 星合 (ほしあい)
hoshiai no hama 星合の浜(ほしあいのはま)beach where the stars meet
hoshiai no sora 星合の空(ほしあいのそら)sky where the stars meet
the stars of tonight, hoshi koyoi 星今宵 (ほしこよい)
welcoming the stars, hoshi mukae 星迎 ほしむかえ)
hoshi no chigiri 星の契(ほしのちぎり)"stars meeting"
hoshi no koi 星の恋(ほしのこい)"stars in love"
hoshi no imose 星の妹背(ほしのいもせ)"a coule of stars"
hoshi no wakare 星の別(ほしのわかれ)parting of the stars
tomoshizuma 乏し妻(ともしづま)"scarce wife"
tomoshibi hime 燈姫(ともしびひめ)"princess in lamplight"
hoshi no neya 星の閨(ほしのねや) "bedroom of the stars"
toshi no watari 年の渡(としのわたり)"coming over once a year"
momiji no hashi 紅葉の橋(もみじのはし) "bridge of red leaves"

Hoshinomiya matsuri 星宮祭 (ほしのみやまつり)
Festival in the Star Palace

bamboo for Tanabata decorations tanabatadake 七夕竹 (たなばただけ)
..... small paper slips (tansaku) with wishes and poems are hung from it
tansakudake 短冊竹(たんざくだけ)bamboo for Tansaku
tanabatagami 七夕紙(たなばたがみ)paper to write a Tanabata wish
tanabata shikishi 七夕色紙(たなばたしきし)Shikishi-paper to write a Tanabata wish

floating Tanabata decorations, sending them off
..... tanabata nagashi 七夕流し (たなばたながし)

..... tanabata okuri 七夕送り(たなばたおくり)
at the end of the festival, the decorations are placed in a small boat and floated in the local river or at the seashore

tanabatadake uri 七夕竹売(たなばただけうり)
vendor of tanabata bamboo poles

tanabatadana 七夕棚(たなばただな)
shelf for Tanabata decorations

tanabata ame 七夕雨(たなばたあめ)
rain on the Tanabata festival day

source : natural123.exblog.jp
kasasagi no hashi 鵲の橋(かささぎのはし)
"magpie bridge"

On the Tanabata night, magpies come togther to build a bridge with their wings to make the stars reach each other.
..... hoshi no hashi 星の橋(ほしのはし)bridge for the stars
yukiai no hashi 行合の橋(ゆきあいのはし)bridge to meet
yoriba no hashi 寄羽の橋(よりばのはし)
ama no sayohashi 天の小夜橋(あまのさよはし)
momiji no hashi 紅葉の橋(もみじのはし)"red leaves bridge"
ujaku no hashi 烏鵲の橋(うじゃくのはし) magpie bridge

seven Tanabata princesses 七姫 (ななひめ) nanahime
kaji no ha 梶の葉 (かじのは ) paper mulberry leaf (for writing poetry)
kajinomari, kaji no mari 梶の鞠(かじのまり)paper mulberry kickball
for the Tanabata star festival rituals

. nanako no ike 七箇の池 ななこのいけ "seven ponds" .

tsuma mukaebune 妻迎舟 (つまむかえぶね)
"boat to welcome the wife"

..... tsumakoshibune 妻越し舟(つまこしぶね)
tsuma okuribune 妻送り舟(つまおくりぶね)
tsuma yobufune 妻呼ぶ舟(つまよぶふね)
shichiju no fune 七種の舟(しちしゅのふね)
..... nanakusa no fune ななくさ の 舟
boat with seven pieces of luggage

niwa no tategoto 庭の立琴 (にわのたてごと)
koto standing in the garden

..... tategoto 立琴(たてごと)
kyuushitoo 九枝燈(きゅうしとう)lamp with 9 arms
hitorikoo 火取香(ひとりこう)Tanabata incense
momiji no tobari 紅葉の帳(もみじのとばり)
"one red leaf as a book"
At the Imperial Palace, in the garden before the Kikko-decorations, a koto with 13 strings was placed standing.

hoshi no takimono 星の薫物 (ほしのたきもの)
incense for the stars

hoshi no kaori 星の薫(ほしのかおり)
fragrance for the stars
hitorikoo 火取香(ひとりこう)Tanabata incense
Offering incense at the Imperial Palace in the Tanabata night.

kashi kosode 貸小袖 (かしこそで) lending a robe
hoshi no kashimono 星の貸物(ほしのかしもの)
If you lend some yarn and a kosode robe to the Weaver Princess, your own ability in weaving would increase. So robes and yarn was put on the Kikoden-shelf.

. Tanabata uma 七夕馬 horse for Tanabata .
makomo no uma 真菰の馬 (まこものうま) horse from Makomo wild rice
kusakari uma 草刈馬(くさかりうま)horse from cut grass
mukae uma 迎馬(むかえうま) welcoming horse


tanabatazuki 七夕月(たなばたづき)
month with the tanabata star festival

old name for the seventh lunar month


negai no ito 願の糸 (ねがいのいと) "string for wishes"
..... ganshi 願糸(がんし )
goshiki no ito 五色の糸(ごしきのいと)string of five colors
kigo for early autumn

This five-colored string is used during the tanabata Star Festival to bind it to the bamboo pole.
Weavers use this to make a wish to become as skilfull as the "Weaver Girl" in the sky. Later it coincided with a wish for long life, wealth and having many children.
Later the tansaku paper slips with written wishes were used.

The five colors are white, black, yellow, red and blue.

. Gankake 願掛け wish-prayer, to make a wish .


For more kigo related to Tanabata, check
Stars and Haiku

Rendering TANABATA into English, in a wider sense, you could write

"night of the two stars"
(referring to these two special stars meeting)

. . . . .

August 6, 2011,
is the "real" Tanabata night, with a half-moon in the Asian lunar calendar . . .

. August 6, 2011 - Hiroshima .



According to the old Chinese calendar, this festival is placed in the “Autumn” category of the Haiku Saijiki.
Now it takes place on one of these double-days, the seventh day of the seventh month. In Sendai, it is celebrated at the beginning of August.
Qixi in China, Chilseok in Korea and That Tich in Vietnam.

The origin of this Tanabata Festival goes back to a legend in China.Two stars, Orihime (Vega, as a weaving girl) and Kengyu (Altair, as a cowherd) who loved each other were separated by another star's jealousy, could meet only once a year in The Milky Way on July 7. According to the Kodansha encyclopedia, the legend was believed and observed by women who prayed to the Weaver Star (Vega) for success in love and proficiency in such skills as sewing and calligraphy in ancient China.

It is the custom to write some wish on a small and long slip of colored paper and hang it on a large bamboo pole for the gods to see and take care of your wish. Writing a Tanabata slip is very popular in kindergardens and schools. This year, 2004, many children were writing a wish to the effect that peace should come to the world and the war in Iraq end soon.
Some say that the name Tanabata is a compound word of Tana and Hata. Tana means shelf or trellis, and hata means weaving. In ancient times, a maiden serving the god of weaving had to weave a cloth for the god of weaving to drape on a shelf or trellis near a river or lake.

In Sendai it is customary for the Tanabata star festival to make a crane from folded paper with a Tanabata wish in it. This is hung to the bamboo.
. 大崎八幡宮 Osaki Hachiman Shrine Sendai .
orizuru negai mamori 折鶴ねがい守り
folded crane amulet for making a wish


The Tanabata Festivals of Hiratsuka (July) and Sendai (August) are the most famous in Japan.

At the Tanabata festival in Shonan Hiratsuka, the bamboo decorations which are beautiful and being very big are made throughout the town and a lot of stalls stand in a row.At noon, a parade and a dance attraction and so on are unveil at the main street in Hiratsuka city. Also, at night, the bamboo decorations are lit up beautifully with lights, making the Tanabata festival more luxurious.

On this link you can see all the pictures and listen to some music.

"Tanabata Matsuri" is considered one of the three major festivals in Northern area Tohoku along with Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori and Kanto Matsuri in Akita. The festival attracts more than 2 million tourists every year. Over a thousand beautifully decorated bamboo ornaments line 2 km of shopping arcades. In the eve, 12,000 individual fireworks color the sky. During the festival, an elaborate Tanabata parade consisting of 2,000 people marches through the city.
[Period]August 6 through 8 every year.
[Location] Aoba-dori and Jozenji-dori

Look at the colorful decorations.

The Tanabata Parade


Worldwide use

Many haiku poets worldwide feel that the MILKY WAY should be a kigo for summer, if at all.
But the milky way is strongly related to the Tanabata festival according to the Asian lunar calendar, so even in Japan, where TANABATA is mostly celebrated in July, it is still a kigo for early autumn.



In Seatle there was a Tanabata Festival in a Japanese Garden.
There was even a Tanabata Haiku Contest. The following links are from this page.

Decorated Bamboo Branch


The Tale of Tanabata -
The Sad Love Story of Orihime and Kengyu
(and other Japanese folk tales)
WKD Library


Die drei großen Feste von Nordjapan, Tanabata (in Sendai), Kantoo (in Akita) und Nebuta (in Aomori), gehören in eine weitere Gruppe von Festen. Diese haben sich aus den Zeremonien des buddhistischen Totenfests Obon entwickelt.

Tanabata, das Fest der Sternennacht, ist das Fest der Liebenden und basiert auf der chinesischen Legende von einem einfachen Schafhirten und einer Prinzessin ... aber ach, die armen Liebenden durften sich nur einmal im Jahr treffen, wenn die Sterne richtig standen. Das ist der 7. Tag im 7. Monat, wenn die Weberin Vega und der Hirt Altair sich auf der Milchstraße treffen. Für junge Leute ist dieses Fest natürlich besonders wichtig; viele Mädchen kleiden sich in bunte Baumwoll-Sommerkimonos yukata auf der Suche nach einem Hirten.

Jung und Alt schreibt Wünsche auf lange bunte Zettel, die an einen Bambuszweig gebunden werden: je ein Wunsch auf einen Zettel. Diese Bambuszweige sind der Ursprung der modernen Straßendekorationen. Noch heute wird in den Dörfern Bambus aus dem nahegelegenen Wald geschlagen und z. B. im Kindergarten oder auf dem Dorfplatz aufgestellt. Viele Familien machen sich auch ihren eigenen Bambuszweig und stellen ihn im Garten auf.

Das Tanabata-Fest in Sendai wird vom 6. bis 8. August gefeiert, einen Monat später als in den meisten anderen Orten Japans. Nach dem alten asiatischen Mondkalender sei dies der bessere Tag für das Sternentreffen.

Die Dekorationen entlang der Haupteinkaufsstraßen von Sendai sind riesig und bunt, ursprünglich waren es lange Bambusstangen mit Zetteln aus Japanpapier dekoriert, heutzutage sieht man aber immer häufiger Plastik und Fantastik.
Bei der großen Parade ziehen die Bewohner der Stadtviertel in bunten Kostümen mit Gesang und Tanz durch die Straßen von Sendai. Zum donnernden Abschluss wird am Abend ein Feuerwerk veranstaltet.

Gabi Greve
August 2001

Things found on the way

Have a look at a nice pair of Tanabata papermachee dolls, made by the Arai store in Hiratsuka.
Tanabata Daruma 七夕だるま


. Sadogashima 佐渡島 Sado Island - Introduction .

A famous haiku by Basho

araumi ya Sado ni yokotau amanogawa

This must be the masterpiece of three-dimensional haiku with bipolar structure. That is, Sado connects the wild sea (Earth) and the Milky Way (outer space) to demonstrate an extensive perspective, or three-dimensional field.

The Milky Way (according to an ancient legend associated with Star Festival) excites pity for the Altair-Vega couple. They can meet only once a year at the time of the Star Festival called Tanabata in East Asia. Sado recalls the sadness of noble people who were exiled there, such as the famous Noh-dancer Zeami or Saint Nichiren (Buddhist). The violent sound of wind-whipped sea arouses great fear in readers.  

The images of the Milky Way, Sado and wild sea work in synergy to induce readers to feel hopeless sorrow. Those who are familiar with European history may recall Saint Helena, and the exiled Napoléon Bonaparte, to strengthen their interpretation. The haiku can be interpreted adequately without knowledge of the Star Festival of Tanabata.

Araumi ya: ... wild sea
Sado ni yokotau: ... stretching to Sado Isle
Amanogawa: ... the River in the Sky (Milky Way (literally)

source : Susumu Takiguchi

Bashō left a prose piece about Sado island,
twenty or so miles off the Japan Sea Coast in Niigata:

From the place called Izumozaki in Echigo, Sado Island is eighteen li away on the sea. With cragginess of its valleys and peaks clearly visible, it lies on the side in the sea, thirty-odd li from east to west. Light mists of early fall not rising yet, and the waves not high, I feel as if I could touch it with my hand. ... from past to present, a place of exile for felons and traitors, [Sado Island] has become a distressing name.
As the evening moon sets, the surface of the sea becomes quite dark. The shapes of the mountains are still visible through the clouds, and the sound of waves is saddening.
source : Utamakura: Storied Places - Dennis Kawaharada

The translation of Amanogawa, ama no kawa, (river of heaven) might lead to the notion that Basho used a self-made metaphor to discribe this heavenly phenomenon, but he did in fact not, he just used the common and normal Japanese word for "Milky Way".

With the introduction of the milky way in a haiku about this day of this festival, Basho also might have built a bridge to the next festival of the souls, O-Bon.
Kigo can thus work like the pearls of a rosary to bind together the associations of a Japanese reader.

Calendar Systems, Asian Lunar Calendar

araumi ya Sado ni yokotau amanogawa

O'er wild ocean spray,
All the way to Sado Isle
Spreads the Milky Way

Tr. Dorothy Britton

How rough the sea!
And, stretching off to Sado Isle,
The Galaxy . . .

Tr. Henderson

rough sea/ over Sado Island/ milky way

a wild sea -
stretching to Sado Isle
the Milky Way

Tr. Haruo Shirane
By drawing on Sado's historical associations, Basho was able to infuse the landscape (kei) with a particular emotion or sentiment (joo), to view the landscape through the eyes of the past, as he did at utamakura. Sado, an island across the water from Izumosaki (Izumo Point) was known for its long history of political exiles: Emperor Juntoku, Nichiren, Mongaku, Zeami and others.
source : books.google.co.jp

Turbulent the sea—
across to Sado stretches
the Milky Way


More translations :
- Reference - amanogawa -

araumi ya Sado ni yokotau amanogawa

This haiku has the cut marker YA at the end of line 1.
With the reverse structure of Japanese language, lines 2 and 3 can be translated as

the Milky Way
stretches to Sado

The scene seems to be pure shasei, Basho just telling us what he has seen from the beach. And yet . .

"Basho was standing on the western shores of Japan looking out upon the night sea . . . Miles away, lay Sado Island . . . a place where numerous people endured the enforced solitude of exile. Stretching out across the sky was the Milky Way (Heaven's River).
"As a metaphorical river, it flows in internal tranquility above the storms of the sea and of human life, sparkling with a scattered brightness, more pure than gold.
Basho, the island, and everything on earth seem to be alone yet together under the stream of stars. Over the storm is silence; above the movement is a stillness that somehow suggests the flow of the river and of time; and piercing the darkness is the shimmering but faint light of stars."

Basho's Haiku: Selected Poems of Matsuo Basho,
source : David Landis Barnhill

. . . . .

photo by "I fucking love science", facebook

taking a look
at the Milky Way -
Happy Mars ! .

Curiosity, a Mars rover, landed in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


source : tanabata/timetravel

Tanabata no awanu kokoro ya uchuuten

at Tanabata
the hearts can't meet -
Rain in Heaven

Tr. Gabi Greve

uchuuten - this is a pun with uchooten 有頂天 extasy (sanskrit: bhavagra).
This kind of punning was favored by the Teimon school of haikai.

Written in 寛文7年, Basho age 24

THIS might be the translation of Yuasa, but I am not sure:

Unable to meet
At their annual rendezvous,
The two stars fret
In the fretful sky of July.

source : terebess.hu/english

MORE - - kokoro こころ - 心  "heart", mind, soul -
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


Tanabata ya Nozomi o noseru Sasa no fune

Wishes riding
A bamboo boat
To the stars

Steve McCarty


ama no gawa shibaraku soba de yume no tsuri

river of stars
close by for a while
fishing for dreams

charlie smith
raleigh, nc, July 2009


the evening we meet
Tanabata is endless
Tomorrow starts another year

Manyoo-shuu (Manyshu) Collection of Poems


higurete wa doko mo chi no hate amanogawa

after sunset
the earth seems endless -
"River of Heaven"

Nomiyama Asuka 野見山朱鳥, 1977
Tr. Gabi Greve


Tanabata night...
two silhouettes appear
and merge as one

tracing our names
carved in the tree trunk
tanabata stars

Published on the Asahi Haikuist Network (July 29, 2011)

tanabata stars
a lock of her hair
in Love, Poetry

Chen-ou Liu

Love, Poetry is written by Paul Eluard,
who is widely considered to be one of France's most important poets.)


two star crossed lovers
counting up the wise wise words
hanging on a tree

- Shared by Paul Conneally -
Joys of Japan, September 2012


Matsunaga Teitoku 松永貞徳 (1571-1653)
Tanabata Haiku


. Welcome to the Kappapedia !
河童 / かっぱ / カッパ - Kappa, the Water Goblin of Japan! .

CLICK for more photos !

Related words

. WKD : Washing the Inkstone before Tanabata
suzuri arai 硯洗 (すずりあらい)
tsukue arau 机あらう washing the table 
imo no ha no tsuyu 芋の葉の露(いものはのつゆ)
dew from a leaf of sweet potatoes
the dew was used to prepare the ink instead of water.

***** Leonid Meteor Shower .. .. Geminid Meteor Shower

***** Bon Festival, O-Bon (Japan)

***** Stars and Haiku

CLICK for more photos
Click for more photos from Japan!


. Magpie, kasasagi 鵲 (かささぎ) .

- tanabata #starfestival -


Anonymous said...

I will stay
if you say stay...
Star festival

Gabi Greve said...

kigo for early autumn

ama no kawa, the "Heavenly River", milky way

"Silver River, ginga 銀河(ぎんが)
ginkan 銀漢(ぎんかん)
unkan 雲漢(うんかん)
tenkna 天漢(てんかん)
river of stars, seika 星河(せいが)

"silver bay", ginwan 銀湾(ぎんわん)

Anonymous said...

looks like he's writing
a "Star Poem"...
the frog

hoshi no uta yomu tsura tsuki no kawazu kana


by Issa, 1826

Tr. David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

lined up perfectly
with the pine...
Herder Star

shan to shita matsu to nara[bu] otoko-boshi


by Issa, 1805

Shan to can denote a slapping or a ringing sound, or kichin to: "accurately"; "exactly." The latter definition fits here; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 827.

Tr. David Lanoue


Anonymous said...

Danke, liebe Gabi!
Sehr interessant!

Anonymous said...

on the same path
my star and I

You could get a nice discussion here about chance meetings, fate, karma, yin and yang, and so on. The festival of life is fleeting as well.

long after
the starlight
long path


Anonymous said...

origa and her friends hava a lot more mostly in Russian !


Thanks to all for this lovely page.

Gabi Greve said...

Am Himmel die Milchstraße
kaum auszumachen.

Horst Ludwig, USA

Anonymous said...

hiya mizu ni susuri kondaru ama no kawa

in cold water
sipping the stars...
Milky Way

Kobayashi Issa
(Tr. David Lanoue)

Anonymous said...


kaji no oto wa mimi wo hanarezu hoshi koyoi

the sound of oars
good stars tonight

The expression, "good stars tonight" (hoshi ko yoi), refers to Tanabata, a festival that takes place on the seventh day of Seventh Month.

Kobayashi Issa
(Tr. David Lanoue)

Gabi Greve said...

iokado ni nagare-irikeri Amanogawa

flowing in
through my front door --
the Milky Way

Kobayashi Issa

Tr. and Comment by Chris Drake :


Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...


Tanabata no / awanu kokoro ya / uchūten

Matsuo Basho

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

Tanabata ya aki o sadamuru yo no hajime

star festival night -
now autumn has really come
as the night begins

Tr. Gabi Greve

tanabata ya aki o sdamuru hajime no yo

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

takamizu ni hoshi mo tabine ya iwa no ue

with flooding waters
the stars too sleep on their journey —
upon a rock

Tanabata in Edo
Written in 1692 - 元禄6年7月7日.
On that night there was a great rain in Edo. His disciple Sanpu had come over to the home of Basho in Fukagawa and the two of them enjoyed the evening anyway.

MORE - Basho and Tanabata -
Tr. Barnhill

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

tanabata ya yoi ko mottaru kojiki-mura

star festival --
in the beggar village
they're all good kids

Tr. Chris Drake

Read the discussion :

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

七夕やすゞ しき上に温泉につかる
tanabata ya suzushiki ue ni yu ni tsukaru

star festival --
such coolness and
a long hot bath

This hokku is the opening hokku of a "sangin" kasen renku sequence done by three poets: Issa, his host Kijou, and Kijou's son Kishuu. Kijou owned an inn at the Yudanaka hot springs about fifteen miles from Issa's hometown and was an avid supporter of Issa, often inviting him to his inn and its mineral water hot bath. The present kasen renku was written on the night of August 28, 1827 as part of the lunar 7/7 Tanabata star festival, the first major festival of autumn, while Issa was waiting for his earthen-walled backyard storehouse to be turned into a livable house after his father's house burned down on 6/1 in a great fire in his hometown. In the headnote to the hokku Issa shows his familiarity with the hot springs by referring to Yudanaka as simply Tanaka, the short form used by local residents.

The hokku of a renku was traditionally addressed by the guest to the host, and, as the guest, Issa tells Kijou how much he has enjoyed his stay at his hot springs inn. Earlier in the evening there must have been a celebration to honor the two star lovers who are said in legend to meet once a year on the night of 7/7. If there are no clouds on this night, the woman star is able to cross the Milky Way and meet her male star lover. When Issa says he felt cool at the star festival -- probably festivities held just outside or on the porch at Kijou's inn -- he may be referring not simply to the early autumn air but also to the decorations, the skillful way Kijou has served the food, especially the cool udon noodles with bean jam on them, and the synesthetic cool feeling that friendly people felt as they gazed together at the Milky Way and other stars while sharing cooling and gracious conversation about the stars and saying prayers for their ancestors.

The hokku, of course, requires a reply, and the host Kijou responds with his wakiku or second verse:

this year rice, too
flowers in good health

kotoshi wa ine mo tsutsuganaki hana

In another month or so the rice harvest will begin, but the signs are that it will be an excellent, plentiful crop, and Kijou assures Issa that he is also looking healthy and vigorous in spite of losing his house. Of course the verse is also an implicit prayer for Issa's continued health, since he will have to spend the winter in a cramped former storage shed. Kijou's description of Issa seems accurate, yet his prayer went unrealized, since Issa died of a stroke a little more four months later, on January 5, 1828, four months before the birth of his only surviving child.

I follow the renku text found in Issa's Collected Works 5.510.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

yome-boshi no o-kao wo kakusu enoki kana

veiling the face
of the Bride Star...
nettle tree

Tanabata is a festival that takes place on the seventh day of Seventh Month. According to a romantic legend, two celestial lovers--the stars Altair and Vega--are separated by Heaven's River (the Milky Way). One night a year (Tanabata night), they cross the starry river to be together.
In this haiku, the nettle tree hides the face of the (blushing?) "Bride Star" (yome hoshi).
David Lanoue

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Amewakahiko, Ame-Waka-Hiko 天若日子 / 天稚彦  / あめわかひこ
Ame wakahiko / Ame no wakahiko

A Demon in the Sky:
The Tale of Amewakahiko, a Japanese Medieval Story
a fictional story that recounts one legendary origin of Tanabata (Festival of the Weaver, the Star Festival),

Gabi Greve said...

Tanabata Jinja in Nagoya

天之多奈波太姫命(織女)天照皇大神 応神天皇 大山津見命 大己貴命 素盞嗚神 

Gabi Greve said...

47 legends to explore
nichibun yokai database

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tochigi, 鹿沼市 Kanuma city
If the male and female deity meet during 七夕 the Tanabata festival, there will be
densenbyo 伝染病 a pandemic.
If there is some rain on this day, the river will swell and they can not meet.
In this case, no pandemic will happen.

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