Insects awaken


Insects awaken (keichitsu)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Mid-Spring
***** Category: Season


March 5/6
This is one of the 24 special points of the seasons in the Asian Calendar.

On this day, the insects and other hibernating creatures wake up and come out, for example frogs, snakes and grubs. So it is not only insects, but all kinds of animals that wake up. It is finally getting warm enough to start a new circle of life.

insects awaken, insects come out, bugs come out, bugs wake up, insects appear again, insects stir
keichitsu 啓蟄 (けいちつ) 驚蟄(けいちつ)

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chitchuu 蟄虫 insects hibernating in the ground

source : thyvikings.cool.coocan.jp

sumogorimushi to o hiraku 蟄虫啓戸 (すもごりむし とを ひらく)
hibernating insects open the door

..... Calendar Systems, Asian Lunar Calendar, 12 Zodiac Animals, 24 Seasons


Today, close to the day insects are coming out, the mats around the trees of many parks in Western Japan were taken off and burned. This is an annual event which attracts many tourists, called "komoyaki こも焼き".

Here we see the famous park in Tsuyama town, close to my home in Okayama prefecture. And as if on clue, I saw my first ladybug and a grasshopper today in my own garden!

Gabi Greve, March 5, 2008

Mats are put around the trees in October

This is a preparation for winter, to make sure the insects do no harm to the tree itself and can hibernate between the bark and the mat. This event usually takes place on another one of the 24 seasonal turning points, around 23/ 24 of october, called "Frost descends", see below.
komo maki こも巻き wrapping komo mats around the pines in parks

In spring, these mats are taken off and burned.

© Photo : Sanyo Shinbun

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


keichitsu ya yooji no gotoku ashi narashi

awakening spring;
like a toddler, the insect
learns about legs

abe midorijo (1886-1980)
Tr. Michael Haldane


keichitsu no hitori go hitori yochiyochi to

on the day insects wake up
this one baby starts
to toddle around

Iida Dakotsu
Tr. Gabi Greve


ten-ki chi-ki keichitsu no hi to narinikeri

Above ground and below ground the air is ready for keichitsu.

Ishii Rogetsu (1873-1928) 石井露月
Haiku poet from Akita, student of Masaoka Shiki
Tr. Shaun McCabe
(from "Chado: The Way of Tea," by Sasaki Sanmi)


Check out more Japanese haiku about keichitsu
Gendai Haiku Database

Related words

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***** frost descends, sookoo 霜降 そうこう
sookoo no setsu 霜降の節(そうこうのせつ)
kigo for late autumn
also read: shimo ori

*** "frost descending month", shimo furi zuki
kigo for mid-winter

***** Groundhog Day North America, Europe
This day is a bit similar to the awakening of the animals in Japan.

***** March (sangatsu 三月)

. . . . SPRING - the complete SAIJIKI





Anonymous said...

tree-toppling storm--
a day, insects,
for staying indoors!

Larry Bole, New York City, March 4-5, 2008

keichitsu ya
I turn up my collar
against the cold

Etsuko Yanagibori


anonymous said...

I enjoyed the new kigo keichitsu and komoyaki. The later of the two
also seems practical in the prevention of frost damage as the smut
from the fires adds particulate in the air making frost harder to
form. There is nothing so devistating as a late spring frost on
blossoms and delicate plant shoots and sprouts. I often admire the
Japanese "practical" thinking when it comes to growing plants within
the framework of the seasons.

first spring beetle --
take your time
down the driveway

PS... here is a HAIKU by Issa:

kaza shimo no ran ni tsuki sasu ka yari kana

downwind, an orchid
in moonlight
smudge pot smoke

let me parody with:

downwind a park
full of tourists --
mat burning (komoyaki)

ciao... chibi