Pomegranate (zakuro)

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Pomegranate (zakuro)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Mid-autumn
***** Category: Plant


zakuro 石榴(柘榴)(ざくろ) pomegranate
Punica granatum

mizakuro 実石榴 pomegranate fruit

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zakuro no hana 石榴の花 (ざくろのはな) pomegranate blossoms
..... hana zakuro 花石榴(はなざくろ)
kigo for mid-summer


A pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to between five and eight meters tall. The pomegranate is native to the Iranian Plateau, and has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, India, Israel, the drier parts of southeast Asia, Indonesia, peninsular Malaysia, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe and tropical Africa.

The name "pomegranate" derives from
Latin pomum ("apple") and granatus ("seeded").

In Hinduism, the pomegranate (Sanskrit: Beejpur, literally: replete with seeds) symbolizes prosperity and fertility, and is associated with both Bhoomidevi (the earth goddess) and Lord Ganesha (who is also called Bijapuraphalasakta, or the one fond of the many-seeded fruit).
Every part of the plant [root, bark, flowers, fruit, leaves] is used for medicinal purposes in Ayurveda.
More about the symbolism is HERE
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


used to eat children before she was converted by Shakyamuni Buddha.
Now she is the protector of children and eats pomegranates (zakuro ザクロ) instead .

. Kishibojin 鬼子母神 .

Worldwide use




Pomegranates burst ...
awaiting us to get ready
for new elections

Heike Gewi, September 2011

Things found on the way

. Kariteimoten (Hariti) Kishimojin 鬼子母神  
A deity eating children, later pomegranates ザクロ instead, after Shakyamuni Buddha convinced her not to eat children any more.


zakuro guchi, zakuroguchi 柘榴口(ざくろぐち)
special entrance in a public bath

Special ladies (yuna 湯女) would come through this entrance to the male bathers and wash their backs. This entrance is about 90 cm wide. To give more brightness to the room, its walls were painted white.

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At the beginning, two sliding doors were fixed in the doorway to keep the hot steam inside. But it was not enough, so zakuroguchi was made to improve it. Zakuroguchi was a board that almost covered the front of bathtub from the ceiling. People had to stoop because zakuroguchi had a low entrance.
One interesting theory of the origin of this strange name zakuroguchi“ (“pomegranate gate“) is that the fruit juice of zakuro (pomegranate) was needed to clean a mirror at that time.
This is in fact a play on words.
Mirror is “kagami“ and to need something is “iru“ in Japanese. To stoop is “kagamu“ and to enter is also “iru“ in Japanese. So they had to ’stoop (“kagamu“) to enter (“iru“)’ a zakuroguchi just as ’a mirror (“kagami“) needed (“iru“) a pomegranate, or zakuro.’

In zakuroguchi, it was dark. When people in Edo city entered the bath, instead of just saying “Excuse me,” they often called out something such as: “Branches (= limbs) will touch you” or “I'm from the country” and then people in the bath cleared their throat to tell their presence. (See the illustrations of zakuroguchi: the above one from Sketches of Japanese Manners and Customs, by J. M. W. Silver published in London in 1867 and the below one from Great Encyclopedia Vol.10 published in Tokyo in 1932.)
source : decodingkyoto.policy-science.jp


rojin Washikofu sakebite zakuro uchiotosu

the Russian Washikoff
shouted out and hit
a pomegranate

西東三鬼 Saito Sanki (Saitoo) 1900-1962

. Saito Sanki and New Haiku  

Related words

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facebook said...

a sunset colors
the bathers

Dear Gabi san, it is continuously a joy to walk the path of poetry as we seem to discover more along the way.



Flying Tofu said...

Re the zakuroguchi -- i just figured it was because the entrance was so small and the pomegranite seems to have a pinched tiny opening. One reason for the small entrances was that the amount of hot water available was far less than what we are used to and the heat had to be guarded. As for the ambience, the first English consul Alcock's long descriptions beat all others combined(may have quote in my Topsy-turvy 1585) & I think Lewis Carroll borrowed from it! See what you think!

Gabi Greve said...

Thanks, Robin!
Hope we find the Alcock quote . . .

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

this pomegranate
tastes like me
enjoy it, little louse!

waga aji no zakuro ni hawasu shirami kana

In the prescript to this haiku, Issa recalls the legend of a mother demon who went about eating children. The Buddha recommended that she switch to a diet of pomegranates, which supposedly taste the same as human flesh.
See R. H. Blyth, Haiku (Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1949-1952; rpt. 1981-1982/reset paperback edition) 3.794. In this hard-to-translate haiku, Issa catches one of his lice, and, instead of killing it, places it on his surrogate, the promegranate.

David Lanoue

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