Heat shimmers (kageroo)


Heat shimmers (kageroo)

***** Location: Japan, other areas
***** Season: All Spring
***** Category: Heavens


heat shimmers, kageroo 陽炎, kagiroi かぎろい

kageroo moyuru 陽炎燃ゆる(かげろうもゆる)
"playing threads" itoyuu 糸遊(いとゆう)、yuushi 遊糸(ゆうし),
seishi 晴糸(せいし)
"wild horse" yaba 野馬(やば)
yooen 陽焔(ようえん), 陽炎

mirage, shinkiroo 蜃気楼, kaishi 海市
"shell tower" kai yagura 貝櫓, kairoo 貝楼
People of old believed that a clam shell (hamaguri) would cough up air and produce a tower in the air. Other stories say it was a huge frog who belched.

Kiken Castle (kikenjoo) The living quaters of the deity Taishaku-Ten in the Buddhist paradise. (Another expression for "mirage).

In American English, they are sometimes called "heat waves" or "heat haze".


© PHOTO fromto.cc/hosokawa/diary/2003/20030428-kohama3/


An optical mirage is a phenomenon associated with the refraction of light in the gaseous (cloud-free) atmosphere. During mirage a visible image of some distant object is made to appear displaced from the true position of the object. The image is produced when the light energy emanating from the distant source travels along a curvilinear instead of a rectilinear path, the curvilinear path, in turn, arises from abnormal spatial variations in density that are invariably associated with abnormal temperature gradients.

The visible image of the mirage can represent shape and color of the "mirrored" object either exactly or distorted. Distortions most commonly consist of an exaggerated elongation, an exaggerated broadening, or a complete or partial inversion of the object shape. Frequently, mirages involve multiple images of a single source. Under special conditions, refractive separation of the color components of white light can enhance the observation of a mirage. Atmospheric scintillation can introduce rapid variations in position, brightness, and color variations of the image.

When both the observer and the source are stationary, a mirage can be observed for several hours. However, when either one or both are in motion, a mirage image may appear for a duration of only seconds or minutes.

Although men have observed mirages since the beginning of recorded history, extensive studies of the phenomenon did not begin till the last part of the 18th century. Since that time, however, a large volume of literature has become available from which emerges a clear picture of the nature of the mirage.
© William Viezee

The heat shimmers and optical mirages of the Toyama Bay 富山湾 in Japan are especially well known. The warm sun of spring heats up the cold water and produces some kind of steam. The temperature gradients between water, air and winds from the snow-covered mountains help to produce these mirages.

Fata morgana phenomenon of the variuos deserts are also well known.

Worldwide use


camel caravan
floating in a mirage . . .
water dream

Nadala Purevdorj

Look at the illustration HERE:
. Camels and Heat Shimmers .


Things found on the way

The Kagero Diary. Kagero Nikki 陽炎日記 / 蜻蛉日記
A Womans Autobiographical Text from Tenth-Century Japan
Kageroo Nikki

Michitsuna no Haha (ca. 935-95)

Usually translated as THE GOSSAMER YEARS, Michitsuna no Haha's intensely personal account of her unhappy marriage to Fujiwara Kaneie can be regarded as the predecessor of all the diaries produced by the illustrious Heian woman writers. In many ways it has not been surpassed by any of those in subtlety of expression, stark honesty of emotion, and the author's changing attitudes toward her own existence.

As is common to these writings, the author's real name is not known and she has come down in history as simply "Michitsuna's mother." She was an aristocrat but came from a minor Fujiwara branch of provincial governors. She seemed to reach dizzying heights when she married Kaneie, who was to become Regent (and who is also the father of the most powerful Fujiwara Michinaga). Her marriage, however, was unhappy and it is the anti-romantic relationship with her husband that occupies most of the diary.

She also failed to realize the political potential of this marriage by producing only one son in an age when multiple progeny was the path to success. In that she was outstripped by Tokihime, who can be loosely regarded as Kaneie's principal wife.

- source - wikipedia
kageroo nikki

. The Heian Period 平安時代 Heian jidai (794 - 1185) .
- Introduction -


”かぎろひの丘”Kagiroi no Oka
A hill near Nara where you can look over the Yamato plains.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


kageroo ni sara-sara ame no kakari keri

through heat shimmers
the murmuring

kagerô ya kusa no ue yuku nure nezumi

heat shimmers--
to the top of the weed
a wet mouse

kagerô ya mutsumashigenaru tsuka to tsuka

heat shimmers--
they look like dear friends
the two graves

More kagerô haiku, translated by David Lanoue


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

kareshiba ya yaya kageroo no ichi ni-sun

withered grass--
faint heat waves
one or two inches high

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - .
Tr. Barnhill

Barnhill says:
"In 'Knapsack Notebook'. In an earlier version, instead of 'faint' ('yaya') the second line has 'still' ('mada'), which suggests more directly the transitional nature of the image: heat waves are a spring image, but withered grass is winter. Spring is just beginning."


kageroo no waga kata ni tatsu kamiko kana

Second year of Genroku, Second Month, at Toozan's lodging
Oku no Hosomichi

heat waves
shimmering from the shoulders
of my paper robe

tr. Barnhill

heat waves shimmer
on the shoulders of my
paper robe

tr. Ueda

Written on the 7th day of the 2nd lunar month, 元禄2年2月7日 at a lodging with とう山 Tozan, a haikai friend of Boku-in 木因 from Ogaki, Sora and others.
One hokku of the collection 七吟歌仙, written at the lodging.

kamiko was a robe to keep Basho warm on the trip, but then he realized it was already warm and heat shimmers were around, so he could take it off and enjoy some warmth.

. Dresses made of paper, kamiko 紙子 - 紙衣 .

Preparing his trip "Oku no Hosomichi"
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


kageroo ya saiko no ito no usugumori

heat waves--
the saiko's threadlike leaves
in a thin haze


"The saiko plant is a perennial medicinal herb with very thin leaves and a yellow blossom. Another term for heat waves is 'itoyuu', 'thin play'."
okinagusa 翁草 (おきなぐさ)

Written in spring of 1690 元禄3年春.

Mishima saiko ミシマサイコ / 三島柴胡
Bupleurum scorzonerifolium
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


irikakaru hi mo itoyuu no nagori kana

At Muro no Yashima 室の八嶋

with threads of
heat waves it is interwoven:
the smoke

Bashoo, tr. Barnhill

"Muro no Yashima is a Shinto shrine (now Oomiwa Shrine in the city of Tochigi).
The 'kami' enshrined there is Konohana Sakuya Hime (Princess of the Blossoming Trees), consort of the deity Ninigi no Mikoro. After he suspected that her pregnancy was not by him, she gave birth locked in a burning room in order to prove the divine nature of her offspring.
As a result, poems related to this shrine often mention smoke."

Written in 元禄2年, Oku no Hosomichi
hi mo is the origin of whe word 日も=紐 thread.

Muro no Yashima
source : ee4y-nsn

"Doorless Shrine of the Cauldron"
tr. by Keene


jooroku ni kageroo takashi ishi no ue

sixteen foot Buddha:
heat wave rising
from the stone base

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 .
, tr. Barnhill
"In 'Knapsack Notebook' Oi no Kobumi."

According to Ad G. Blankestijn:
"In "A Japanese Pilgrimage", I have already written about Narita Shinshoji Temple, and in Inter Cultural Japan I have introduced the museums in the temple grounds (Narita, more than airport). Now I visit the haiku stones in the temple and first come to a kuhi by Basho, standing in green grass. By the way, this haiku was not written in Narita, but when Basho traveled in Western Japan.

"By chance, the metereological circumstances of my visit are the same as those expressed in the haiku. The summer heat is severe, so much that the hot air reverberates and creates a mirage above a flat stone: Basho imagines the stone is the pedestal of a large Buddha statue and in the hot air seems to discern its figure...
Jooroku 丈六 (jouroku Jōroku) is a measure for Buddhist sculpture, one jo and six roku, which corresponds roughly to 4.8 meters. So it is a huge statue that looms up before Basho's eyes in the steaming heat, a veritable mirage..."
[There is a picture of the haiku stone included]

written at temple Shin Daibutsu-Ji 新大仏寺

Shin-daibutsuji Temple in Iga-shi Mie Pref
Shin means new. Daibutsu means Big Buddha. That is, new Big Buddha is enshrined in Shin-daibutsuji Temple.

In 1180, Big Buddha in Todaiji Temple of Nara Pref was fired due to a war. To repair the statue, a lot of money was necessary. Todaiji Temple built seven temples to gather money from all over Japan. One of seven temples is Shin-daibutsuji Temple.
The Big Buddha statue was originally created in the Kamakura period. But, only the face remains, that is, the body was re-created in the Edo period.
source : kannon33.blogspot.jp


Rushana Buddha 本尊木造 廬舎那仏坐像
The head of the Buddha was made in Kamakura Era and the body in Edo. National important cultural property.
with more photos of the temple :
source : morihiro01.dreamlog.jp

BIG BUDDHA = DAIBUTSU 大仏 Statues in Japan
Jōroku 丈六
One jo and six shaku (about 4.8 meters)
Jo-roku (or joroku) is equivalent to roughly 4.8 meters. Many "standing" sculptures in the early years of Japanese Buddhism are made to this specification. Jo is a unit of length, about three meters, and Roku means "six," and this refers to six shaku (shaku is another Japanese unit of length, about 0.30 meters). Thus, Jo-roku is equivalent to roughly 4.8 meters.
Actually, if the sitting statue of the Asuka Daibutsu could stand up, it would be taller than five meters.
source : Mark Schumacher

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Oi no Kobumi .


From the HIA (Haiku International Association) Fifth Haiku Contest, translated from the Japanese by Miyashita Emiko and Lee Gurga:

oashisu ni kite nigemizu mo yasumi keri

arriving at an oasis--
the road mirage, too
at rest

Amaoka Utsuhiko

"Nigemizu (road mirage) is a spring kigo, and it is similar to shinkiroo(mirage) and kageroo (heat haze). In this time of internationalization, this haiku has captured the nigemizu (literally `the run-away-water') in the midst of a desert and not in the Musashino fields famous for this phenomenon. At an oasis where a caravan rests, it seems the nigemizu is taking a rest, too, with the human beings. Nigemizu is a spring kigo in Japan, but the feeling of the whole haiku is strongly that of summer. After taking a rest, the caravan has to go out into the scorching desert again. This haiku captures well the nature of the desert."

itoyu ya kojiki zôkangô arimasu

heat haze:
we carry a special number
of the Ancient Chronicle

Nakada Satomi

"If we interpret this in a traditional way, we would read it as follows: A special number of Kojiki, The Ancient Chronicle is displayed in a storefront, or has been issued in the present Heisei
Era. However, if we read it in the modern way, we would interpret it differently: The image of itoyu (heat haze) symbolizes the special number of Kojiki, The Ancient Chronicle.

In other words, these two images are equated and the special number is nothing more than a heat haze in this world. In order to give the haiku freshness, the poet used an archaic word, itoyuu The individual reader might want to freely enjoy the image one gets from this poem, which cannot be fully appreciated with a traditional interpretation.

Poetry is an attempt to depict things which are ambiguous and difficult to express in lines, therefore this kind of haiku is also welcome. Haiku of this breadth is being encouraged by the Modern Haiku schools."

... ... ...

kageroe-ba too-yama hikuku nari-ni-keri

heat waves shimmering
the distant mountains
have become lower

Hoshino Tsubaki
(English version by Susumu Takiguchi & D. W. Bender]

kagero=filament of air, shimmering of heated air, air-waving with heat; kageroe-ba=if or when such kagero occurs; too-yama= distant mountains; hikuku/hikui=low, nari-ni-keri=have become, or became

Compiled by Larry Bole


Kageroo ya ... by Chiyo-Ni


kageroo ya Kamo no oohashi uki-shizumi

heat shimmers -
the great bridge over Kamo river
bobs up and down

Hyakushoo 百姓
WKD : Bridges and Haiku


Fata morgana
Distant snow-covered mountains.
Nunavut. Our Land.

Kevin Murphy


shimmering heat
black ribbons of crow
weaving in and out

- Shared by Sandi Pray -
Joys of Japan, 2012

Related words

***** Ephemera, kageroo, kagerō, hiomushi 蜉蝣

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Anonymous said...

Kagero ya | Dokan-dono no | Monomizuka

shimmering air
Lord Dokan's
Look-out Hill

In this haiku, Issa pays tribute to Ota Dokan - the Monomizuka must still have existed when he came here. But all the same, a sandhill is not much as the sole remembrance of the founder of Edo and in the summer heat Issa only sees a column of shimmering, hot air...

Ad G. Blankestijn, Japan.

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

itoyuu ni musubitsukitaru kemuri kana

Oku no Hosomichi, Muro no Yashima