Persimmon (kaki)

. Persimmon art motives and legends .

Persimmon (kaki)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Plant


The Japanese landscape in autumn is unthinkable without the persimmon tree. The red-orange fruit is in beautiful contrast with the clear blue autumn sky, the landscape looks peaceful.

source : izucul.cocolog-nifty.com
kaki and autumn moon - Suzuki Ki-Itsu - 鈴木其一の‘柿に月図’

Diospyros kaki Linn.
The oriental persimmon is native to China, where it has been cultivated for centuries and more than two thousand different cultivars exist. It spread to Korea and Japan many years ago where additional cultivars were developed. The plant was introduced to California in the mid 1800's.
The bitter version has been introduced to Japan in olden times and the sweet kaki came to Japan during the Kamakura period, via China.
Read more here, especially abou the many varieties grown worldwide now, like the Sharon fruit, Jiroo (Jiro) and Suruga varieties.


The kaki tree is an example as to how a plant or tree can be the subject of haiku during different seasons.
Here is a list of some of the many kigo connected with kaki.


kigo for spring
ko no me 木の芽 the buds of a tree
This is a kigo for spring, not only of the persimmon but many other trees. If you want to stress the persimmon, the kigo becomes  
kaki konome 柿木の芽 the buds of the persimmon


kigo for early summer

kaki wakaba 柿若葉  young leaves of the persimmon
Among all the wakaba, the young leaves, the ones of the persimmon tree are especially bright and delightful.

kigo for mid-summer

kaki no hana 柿の花 the flowers of the persimmon
..... kaki no too 柿の薹(かきのとう)flowering stalk of the persimmon

kigo for late summer

aogaki 青柿 green persimmons

kaki no ko ya korogaru bakari natsu arashi

green persimmon babies
rolling down the slope -

Gabi Greve, June 2004


kigo for late autumn

kaki 柿 persimmon fruit

Hoshi-gaki, hoshigaki 干し柿 dried persimmons
a delicacy eaten later on in winter.
Dried kaki fruit was sometimes the only food the poor farmers in the Edo period could eat in winter, since they had to give away all their rice to the authorities for tax purposes. Therefore the kaki trees around each farm house were pure necessity to feed the hungry children.
..... kaki hosu 柿干す(かきほす)drying persimmons
..... amaboshi 甘干(あまぼし)drying to make sweet

amagaki 甘柿(あまがき) sweet persimmons
..... sazawashi きざわし、kizarashi きざらし、kizagaki きざ柿(きざがき)
koneri 木練(こねり)sweet ripe persimmon
jukushi 熟柿(じゅくし)ripe sweet persimmon
..... umigaki うみ柿(うみがき)

akagaki 赤柿(あかがき)red persimmon
the sweet ripe fruit

Shibu-gaki、shibugaki 渋柿 bitter persimmons
a special kind that is skinned and dried for preservation, then hanged on a string it becomes the the tsurushi-gaki.
..... kaki tsurusu 柿吊す(かきつるす)hanging persimmons
..... tarugaki 樽柿(たるがき)shibugaki in a barrel
korogaki ころ柿(ころがき)pealed shibugaki

Tsurushi-gaki 吊るし柿 persimmons hanged on strings to dry
a common sight in front of every farmhouse in Japan in autumn.
..... Kaki-sudare, kakisudare 柿簾
another name for the hanging kaki fruits like a woven straw curtain (sudare).
kigo for autumn
. . . . . and
. kushigaki 串柿 ( くしがき) dried persimmons on a stick .

Yama-gaki 山柿 (やまがき) mountain-persimmons
a wild kind in the forests.

kimori gaki 木守柿 / kimamorigaki きまもりがき
One last kaki (or a few) is left on the tree to "watch over it".
also called "taking care of the children"
komorigaki こもりがき」
komamorigaki こまもりがき
Usually the kaki fruit high up in the tree are eaten by craws as a favorite feed and the fallen fruit are eaten by the badgers (tanuki) to provide for their winter fat.

Kaki no aki 柿の秋 autumn of the persimmon

Kaki momiji 柿紅葉 tinged leaves of the persimmon
The thick leaves of the persimmon show a special coloring in autumn, children like to pick them up and keep them until they wither.

kaki no hozo ochi 柿の蔕落(かきのほぞおち)
stem of the persimmon falls off

kaki namasu 柿なます(かきなます)
Namasu-salad with persimmons

kaki yookan 柿羊羹(かきようかん)
Yokan-sweets with persimmons

kaki mise, kakimise 柿店(かきみせ)
store selling persimmons

and some famous local varieties

Aizu mishirazu 会津身知らず(あいずみしらず)

Fuyuugaki 富有柿(ふゆうがき)

Gionboo 祗園坊(ぎおんぼう)

Goshogaki 御所柿(ごしょがき)Gosho Persimmons
named after the palace Kyoto Gosho
see : wikipedia - Kyoto_Imperial_Palace
Grown in Gose shi 御所市 Gose Town, Nara prefecture
source : nhk.or.jp/umai

. goshogaki ni tanomare gao no kagashi kana .
- Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 -

Hachiyagaki 蜂屋柿(はちやがき)
Hachiya Kaki

Hyakumegaki 百目柿(ひゃくめがき)

Kyaragaki 伽羅柿(きゃらがき)

Jirogaki 次郎柿(じろうがき)

Saijoogaki 西条柿(さいじょうがき)

Shinanogaki 信濃柿 しなのがき ) "Persimmons from Shinano"
Diospyros lotus
..... Budoogaki葡萄柿(ぶどうがき)"grape persimmons"
..... Kunsenshi 君遷子(くんせんし)
..... Kogaki 小柿(こがき)"small persimmons"
..... Mamegaki 豆柿(まめがき)"persimmons like beans"
..... Sarugaki 猿柿(さるがき)"monkey persimmons"

Tsuru no ko 鶴の子(つるのこ)

Zenjimaru 禅寺丸(ぜんじまる)

Here is a haiku that employes only reginal names of the fruit:


Gosho Fuyuu
Aizu Mishirazu

Yamatani Seiun 山谷青雲
source : NHK Haiku October 2012


humanity kigo for mid-autumn

shibutori 渋取 (しぶとり)
making dye from fermented persimmons

shibu toru 渋取る(しぶとる), shibu tsuku 渋搗く(しぶつく)
kakishibu 柿渋(かきしぶ)"persimmon dye"
kakitsuki uta 柿搗歌(かきつきうた)
shibukasu 渋糟(しぶかす)leftovers from the process
kishibuoke, kishibu-oke 木渋桶(きしぶおけ)
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

shin shibu 新渋 (しんしぶ) new persimmon dye
kotoshi shibu 今年渋(ことししぶ)persimmon dye of this year
kishibu 生渋(きしぶ)
ichiban shibu 一番渋(いちばんしぶ)first perparation of persimmon dye
niban shibu 二番渋(にばんしぶ) second perparation of persimmon dye

Calling kakishibu a “dye” is a bit of a misnomer. Made from the fermented juice of unripe astringent persimmons, the color comes from the tannin molecules linking together and forming a coating. More than a coloring agent, kakishibu also has strengthening, antibacterial and waterproofing properties. Kakishibu was used in China and Korea, but reached its ultimate utilization in Japan. It was used as a wood preservative, waterproofer, insect repellent, folk medicine, and on washi (Japanese paper), fans, parasols, clothing and in sake production.

Japanese artists and craftsmen use kakishibu on wood, washi and textiles. For textiles, cellulose fibers are well suited to kakishibu, especially bast fibers. However, it is also satisfactory on silk and even some synthetics and synthetic blends. Yarn can be dyed and woven, knit or crocheted. Cloth can be dyed by immersion dipping, or surface designs can be created by brushing. Katazome (stencil patterning), tsutsugaki (paste resist drawn with cones), shibori and other techniques are well suited surface design options.

Long looked at as one of those “charming-folksy-but-largely-not-applicable-today” things, kakishibu is enjoying a revival in a more eco-aware world. Japanese craftsmen are producing clothing for chemically sensitive skin. Builders are utilizing kakishibu as an interior wood finish to combat sick house and dyers are embracing kakishibu for its beauty and user friendliness - no dyer contact with chemicals and no disposal problems. Largely unavailable and known in America primarily among hand papermakers, kakishibu is poised to become an exciting addition to the textile artists palette.
source : 2006 Kakishibui

Farmers work in Autumn


kigo for winter

Kaki ochiba 柿落ち葉 fallen leaves of the persimmon


kaki kueba / the famous persimmon haiku
Masaoka Shiki
kaki kueba kane ga naru nari Horyuji

Wagashi . Japanese Sweets with persimmons
Persimmon and Sweets

Kaki, 柿 Persimmon and local dishes

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Six Persimmons by Mu Chi

The sumi-e of Sesshu and the tea ceremony room give the feel of simplicity.
Another example is Mu Chi's painting of persimmons.
Profundity animates the Noh plays of Zeami and the Haiku of Basho. The frog-leap-pond Haiku - one of the masterpieces of Basho - may provide an especially good insight into what is meant here. Creativity emerges strongly in the gardens of Muso and the calligraphy of Ryokan. They clearly transcended their masters' style. Sesshu also serves as an example here; he learned his technique from Josetsu and Shubun in Japan and Kakei in China, but his final landscapes were incomparably his own. Vitality shimmers through the calligraphy of Hakuin and Ikkyu. Their calligraphy overflows form without violating it. Vitality is also evident in the vigor and free flow of all Zen art.


Kakimori Bunko is a museum- library for the Kakimori Collection,
one of the world's
three major collections of haiku poetry and painting.

"Kakimori," in Japanese,means Gurdian of Persimmon Tree.

. Kakimori Bunko 柿衛文庫


kaki bakuchi 柿博打 betting on persimmons

This was a favorite game of kids in the Edo period. The word used to be mentioned as kigo in the older saijiki, but is now lost.

Children (and grown-ups) would bet on the number of seeds (kernels) in the fruit, either just an odd or even number, or who was closest to the real number of stones.

kaki bakuchi akkerakan to sora no iro

betting on persimmons -
I try to look unconcerned
at the color of the sky

Iwagi Hisaharu 岩城久治

source : zouhai.com



kakimogi 柿もぎ harvesting persimmons

CLICK for enlargement of the details !
Kitagawa Utamaro, 喜多川 歌麿 (ca. 1753 - 1806)

Persimmons were seen as "sweets" and quite popular. Here is a group of ladies harvesting, with a young man in the tree, handing down branches with the fruit. Other ladies are shaking the tree. The two ladies in the middle who are watching the scene are maybe the lady of the house and her daughter, observing their servants doing the job.

. . . CLICK here for more Photos !


Rakushisha 落柿舎 "Hermitage of the fallen persimmon"

Matsuo Basho and - Mukai Kyorai 向井去来 -
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


. WKD : Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

kaki no hana ochite zo hito no me ni tomaru

persimmon blossoms -
when the are fallen
people start seeing them

Tr. Gabi Greve

- - - - -

tori no su ya yumiya ma ni au kaki no ki ni

a bird's nest
in a good persimmon tree
for bows and arrows

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku is from the 3rd month (April) of 1824, when Issa was living in his hometown. It is the mating and nesting season for birds, but Issa feels pathos in the fact that one bird couple has built their nest in a persimmon tree that will soon become material for bows and arrows. Persimmon wood was flexible and fairly strong and was therefore used to make human-sized bows and arrows for scarecrows placed in rice paddies and dry fields, as can be seen from many hokku and haiga from the Edo period.

In Issa's time scarecrows commonly consisted of a vertical pole with a small round object or rush hat on top serving as a head and a crossbar serving as two arms to which a bow and bowstring nocked with an arrow were placed. The arrow was pulled all the way back as if it were about to be shot, with one end of the crossbar serving as the left arm holding the bow and the other end serving as the right arm pulling back the bowstring. There is humor as well as pathos, since the same persimmon branch on which the nest has been built will become a bow or arrow held by a scarecrow to scare possibly the same birds away later in the summer.

The hokku after this one in Issa's diary seems to be about the same or a similar tree:

kiru ki to mo shirade ya tori no su o tsukuru

not knowing, birds
build a nest in a tree
soon to be cut down

Either there is a mark on the tree trunk or the tree is a persimmon tree grown by someone who every spring makes and possibly sells bow-and-arrow scarecrows just as barley is beginning to grow and before rice planting gets underway -- and just as many birds are beginning to nest near the fields.

Earlier, in the 9th month (October) of 1821, Issa wrote a hokku about a crow having the last word:

kaki no ki no yumi-ya keotosu karasu kana

crow kicks
a persimmon bow and arrow
down from the scarecrow

By late autumn the crow must have become very used to the scarecrow, and the cord holding the bow and arrow to the cross shape must have rotted or been pecked apart. Issa seems to enjoy the pleasure the crow gets as it trashes this condescending human fake that any self-respecting crow could see through.

This shows a remnant of the old bow-and-arrow scarecrow in contemporary Japanese fields:

source : sibawanngoromaru

This one is an outsized bow and arrow:

source : akichanpon.at.webry.info

Chris Drake


green persimmons, aogaki 青柿

green persimmon babies
rolling down the slope -

Gabi Greve


persimmon tree -
Hiroshige hangs
in the branches

-  Gabi Greve

頬っぺたに 当てなどすなり 赤い柿
hoppeta ni ate nado sunari akai kaki

red persimmons -
try to hold them
to your cheeks

© Gabi Greve

. . . . Persimmon Leaf Haiku
By Gabi Greve, 2007

so bright and orange -
late persimmons
to share with the crows

- Gabi Greve, Winter 2007

Read more
. . . Persimmon Haiku by Gabi Greve

Related words

***** WASHOKU Persimmon and more about Food

Nara ... dried persimmons from Yamato

- #kaki #persimmon -


Anonymous said...

shibugaki to karasu mo shitte toori keri

the persimmon's astringent--
the crow, too, knows
and passes on

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

Gabi Greve - Buson said...

Yosa Buson

goshogaki ni tanomare gao no kagashi kana

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa


kaki o mite kaki o maki-keri hito no oya

the parents,
seeing persimmons,
planted persimmons

This early autumn hokku is from the 7th month (August) of 1810, when Issa was traveling around in the area east of Edo. The number of trees isn't mentioned, but it sounds like several, since the parents have given their children something very important. Seeing a single persimmon tree isn't unusual, but the parents seem to have seen something unusual and important: a persimmon grove or orchard run by an innovative farmer in the area.

The parents, always thinking about their children, have the foresight to realize that this kind of commercial farming done in addition to rice farming will provide a way for their children to rise out of poverty. The trees seem to be growing well now, so the children will probably succeed because of their parents' thoughtfulness and kindness. The wording of the hokku suggests that these considerate, future-oriented parents have helped their children in other important ways as well.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

sato furite kaki no ki motanu ie mo nashi

this old village -
no house without
persimmon trees

about furusato villages

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

ooji oya mago no sakae ya kaki mikan

grandfather, father,
grandchild all flourishing -
persimmons, mikan oranges
Tr. Gabi Greve

Written in 1691元禄4年8月.
Basho had been invited to the villa of a very rich person named 兎苓 in Katata 堅田. This is a greeting hokku to congratulate his host to his riches. The garden was full of trees with colorful fruit.

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Kaga no Chiyo-Jo 加賀千代女

渋かろか 知らねど柿の 初ちぎり
shibukaro ka shiranedo kaki no hatsu chigiri

are they bitter?
I do not know, but - well,
the first take of a persimmon

Gabi Greve said...

Yakushi Nyorai - legends

Fukushima  福島県

Kaki no ki 柿の木, 薬師様 o-tsuge お告げ persimmon trees and an announcement for Yakushi
In a small village in 北会津村 North Aizu there is a religious restriction 禁忌 related to the belief in Yakushi Nyorai, not to plant any persimmon trees.
Around the year 1922 the farmers tried to get rid of this restriction during the efforts to regulate farming land. Most elders of the villge did not agree to this but in the end they all called a priest and asked him to instruct Yakushi that from now on they would plant persimmon trees 「植えてもよい」.
And indeed, nothing happened when they started planting trees.

Gabi Greve said...

kakinori saru 柿乗り猿 monkey on a persimmon

papermachee doll from Shizuoka

Gabi Greve said...

kappaya 合羽屋 raincoat maker
using kakishibu to impregnate

Gabi Greve said...

Larry Bole wrote:
Shiki (1867 - 1902), who 'modernized' Japanese haiku, was extremely fond of persimmons, and wrote a number of haiku about them. Here is the first of two of his best:
kaki kueba kane ga naru nari horyuji //

I bite into a persimmon
and a temple bell resounds --
Horyuji --
Shiki, trans. Beichman.
As Janine Beichman relates in her book, "Masaoka Shiki," Shiki was sitting in a tea-shop in Nara, an ancient capital of Japan. The bell he heard was actually from Todaiji Temple, but he said the sound came from Horyuji Temple, the oldest temple in Japan (founded in 607 CE), because it is famous for its persimmon orchards.

Shiki suffered from tuberculosis for much of his adult life. In spite of that, he was a haiku selector for the newspaper "Nippon." Although bedridden, he read through the haiku submissions, and would afterward reward himself with persimmons, although sparingly, because they did not always agree with him. Here is his haiku about that:
sanzen no haiku o kemishi kaki futatsu //

I checked
three thousand haiku
on two persimmons.

.-- Shiki, trans. Burton Watson
August 2017 - facebook

Gabi Greve said...

Tokyo Kakinokizaka 柿の木坂 / 柿ノ木坂 / 柿木坂 Kakinoki slope
"Slope of the Persimmon Tree"

目黒区 柿の木坂一丁目から三丁目 Meguro ward, Kakinokizaka first to third district, 八雲一丁目 Yakumo first district
This is a very small district.