Silk and Silkworms

. Legends about Silk and Silkworms .

Silk (kinu) and related kigo

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Humanity / Animal


silkworm, kaiko 蚕

Tending to the silkworms was a local activity in many rural areas of the Edo period and many kigo related to these activities exist.

Japan was the most Eastern country of the old silkroad, reaching up to Rome in Italy.

According to legend, Otehime 小手姫, the empress-consort of Emperor Sushun 崇峻天皇の時代 (r. 587–92), fled to Kawamata after the emperor was assassinated in 592.
There she propagated the arts of sericulture, or silkworm cultivation, and weaving.
. Kawamata Silk 川俣シルク ー Fukushima .

- Reference - The History of SILK -


Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from cocoons made by the larvae of the silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance for which silk is prized comes from the fibers' triangular prism-like structure which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles.

"Wild silks" or tussah silks (also spelled "tasar") are produced by caterpillars other than the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori). They are called "wild" as the silkworms cannot be artificially cultivated like Bombyx mori. A variety of wild silks have been known and used in China, India, and Europe from early times, although the scale of production has always been far smaller than that of cultivated silks. Aside from differences in colors and textures, they all differ in one major aspect from the domesticated varieties: the cocoons that are gathered in the wild have usually already been damaged by the emerging moth before the cocoons are gathered, and thus the single thread that makes up the cocoon has been torn into shorter lengths. Commercially reared silkworm pupae are killed before the adult moths emerge by dipping them in boiling water or piercing them with a needle, thus allowing the whole cocoon to be unraveled as one continuous thread. This allows a much stronger cloth to be woven from the silk. Wild silks also tend to be more difficult to dye than silk from the cultivated silkworm.

There is some evidence that small quantities of wild silk were already being produced in the Mediterranean area and the Middle East by the time the superior, and stronger, cultivated silk from China began to be imported.

Landscape of quick water from high mountain by Zhao Zuo, Ming Dynasty. Hand scroll, ink and colour on silk.Silk fabric was first developed in ancient China, possibly as early as 6000 BC and definitely by 3000 BC. Legend gives credit to a Chinese empress, Xi Ling-Shi (Hsi-Ling-Shih, Lei-Tus). Silks were originally reserved for the kings of China for their own use and gifts to others, but spread gradually through Chinese culture both geographically and socially, and then to many regions of Asia. Silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants because of its texture and luster. Silk was in great demand, and became a staple of pre-industrial international trade.

The first evidence of the silk trade is the finding of silk in the hair of an Egyptian mummy of the 21st dynasty, c.1070 BC. Ultimately the silk trade reached as far as the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. This trade was so extensive that the major set of trade routes between Europe and Asia has become known as the Silk Road.

The Emperors of China strove to keep knowledge of sericulture secret to maintain the Chinese monopoly. Nonetheless sericulture reached Korea around 200 BC, about the first half of the 1st century AD in ancient Khotan (Hill 2003, Appendix A), and by AD 300 the practice had been established in India.
© WIKIPEDIA has more !

Silk Brocade

shimin shioki 四眠四起 moulting four times

shimin 四眠蚕 four-molt silkworm, four-moulter, tetramoulter

choochoo ya neko to shimin no tera zashiki

a butterfly
a cat, four-moulters
in the temple guest room



Let us look at some kigo.

kigo for late spring

silkworm, kaiko 蚕 (かいこ)
"mulberry child", kuwago 桑子(くわご)

Click for more information !
"ant worm", baby silkworm, gisan 蟻蚕(ぎさん)

"hairy worm, hatchling, kego 毛蚕(けご)

"silkworms are sleeping" kaiko no nemuri
蚕の眠り(かいこのねむり), iko 眠蚕(いこ)
ioki いおき、iburi いぶり

kaiko sagari 蚕ざかり(かいこざかり)

"time of the silk worm" kaikodoki 蚕時(かいこどき)
thrown away silkworm, discarded siklworm, sutego 捨蚕(すてご)
kobushi こぶし

silkworm in spring, spring silkworm,
harugo 春蚕(はるご)


rearing silkworms, sericulture, raising silkworms,
kogai 蚕飼 (こがい)

© PHOTO : hikifuda collection, su-san

yoosan 養蚕(ようさん), saisei 催青(さいせい)
place for the silkworms, goza 蚕座(こざ)
hut, shed for rearing silkworms, kaiya 飼屋(かいや),
koya 蚕屋(こや), room for the silkworms, sanshitsu 蚕室 (さんしつ)
shelf, rack for keeping silkworms, kaikodana 蚕棚(かいこだな),
kodana 蚕棚(こだな)

- - - kaikozaru 蚕ざる
basket for keeping silkworms, silkworm cage, kokago 蚕籠(こかご)

loft, second floor for raising silkworms, kaikobeya 蚕部屋
Many old farmhouses were especially constructed for raising the silkworms in the second and third floor.
Shirakawa Farmhouses and Daruma Dolls

time for rearing silkworms, silkworm-raising time,
kogai doki 蚕飼時(こがいどき)

harubiki ito 春挽糸 (はるびきいと) "thread from spring"


silkworm-egg card, silkworm egg paper , tanegami 蚕卵紙 (たねがみ)
tanegami 種紙(たねがみ), sanranshi 蚕卵紙(さんらんし)
sanranshi 蚕紙(さんし)

brushing silkworms from the egg paper, hakitate 掃立 (はきたて)


humanity kigo for early summer

joozoku 上蔟 (じょうぞく)
putting silkworms on shelves to produce cocoons
for the first time

ko no agari 蚕の上蔟(このあがり)

agari iwai 上蔟祝(あがりいわい)celebrating the first silkworms producing cocoons
agari dango 上蔟団子(あがりだんご)
dango rice dumplings to celebrate the finished silk cocoons
mabushi 蚕簿(まぶし)shelves for the silkworms to retire producing cocoons

These harugo, haruko 春蚕 "silkworms of spring" are said to produce the best silk of the year.


mayu 繭 まゆ cocoon
mayu kaki 繭掻(まゆかき)
mayu kai 繭買(まゆかい)
nama mayu 生繭(なままゆ)

mayu hosu 繭干す(まゆほす)drying cocoons

shirumayu 白繭(しろまゆ)white cocoons
kimayu 黄繭(きまゆ)yellow cocoons
They yield a natural yellow silk and are very percious.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

tamamayu 玉繭(たままゆ)"round cocoons"
shinmayu 新繭(しんまゆ)new cocoons

kuzumayu 屑繭(くずまゆ)waste cocoons
the ones that do not yeald a thread

mayukago 繭籠(まゆかご)cocoon basket
To let the cocoons dry naturally.

mayudonya 繭問屋(まゆどんや)wholesale store for cocoons
mayuichi, mayu ichi 繭市(まゆいち)cocoon market
mayu sooba 繭相場(まゆそうば) retail market for cocoons


animal kigo for mid-summer

natsugo 夏蚕 (なつご) silkworm in summer
lit. "summer child"
nibango 二番蚕(にばんご)"second child"

kaiko no ga 蚕の蛾(かいこのが)silkworm becoming a moth
sanga 蚕蛾 (さんが)
kaiko no choo 、蚕の蝶(かいこのちょう)butterfly from a silkworm
mayu no choo 繭の蝶(まゆのちょう)
mayu no ga 繭の蛾(まゆのが)
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

yamamayu 天蚕 (やままゆ) mountain silkworm
..... yamamayu 山繭(やままゆ)
yamagaiko 山蚕(やまがいこ)
yamamayuga 山蚕蛾(やままゆが)
Antheraea yamamai
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
It produces a natural green silk thread, but is very hard to grow for farmers.

. . . . .

humanity kigo for mid-summer

ito tori 糸取 (いととり) taking the treads
from the cocoons, then spinning them
ito hiki 糸引(いとひき)
itotori me 糸取女(いととりめ)woman taking threads
..... itohiki me 糸引女(いとひきめ)

itohiki uta 糸引歌(いとひきうた)song whilst taking threads
itotori nabe 糸取鍋(いととりなべ)pot for taking the threads

itotoriguruma 糸取車(いととりぐるま) spinning wheel

Getting the threads from the cocoons and then spinning them was the work of the female farm workers, mostly the elderly, sitting on the veranda spinning all day.


Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849)


shinito, shin ito 新糸 (しんいと)
"new thread", new silk thread

natushiki no ito 夏引の糸(なつひきのいと)new summer thread
natsugo no ito 夏蚕の糸(なつごのいと)thread from summer silkworms
shinki ito 新生糸(しんきいと) "newly born thread", raw silk thread

Kigo for Summer


kigo for all autumn

new silk, shinginu 新絹 (しんぎぬ)
silk of this year, kotoshi ginu 今年絹(ことしぎぬ)

new loom, shinhata 新機(しんはた)


animal kigo for mid-autumn

akigo 秋蚕 (あきご) "autumn child" silkworm in autumn
..... shuusan 秋蚕(しゅうさん)
shoshuusan 初秋蚕(しょしゅうさん)first autumn silk worm
banshuusan 晩秋蚕(ばんしゅうさん)late silk worm


kigo for late autumn

aki mayu, akimayu 秋繭 (あきまゆ) silkworm cocoons in autumn


kigo for the New Year

CLICK for more photos

mayudama 繭玉 (まゆだま) "cocoon balls"
small round mochi as decoration for the "small new year" (koshoogatsu) on January 15. They are put on twigs and decorated in the home, usually in the auspicious colors of white and read.
They are thank you gift for the deity protecting the silkworms.

mayudango 繭団子(まゆだんご)dumplings like cocoons
dangobana 団子花(だんごばな)"dumplings like blossoms"

mayumochi 繭餅(まゆもち)cocoon ball mochi

mayudama iwau 繭玉祝う(まゆだまいわう)
celebrating with cocoon ball mochi



kuwahimesama kuwa himesama 桑姫さま
deity to protect the mulberry trees and silk
She carries a mulberry branch in her hand.
Stone statues like this are common in areas with silk production.

Worldwide use


silk kurta, silk sarees

Kigo for the FROST season (November and December)
Silk is worn all year round, but its warmth is felt best at the beginning of the cold season.

Things found on the way

Japanese Deities involved in the Silk Industry
"Silkworm God", kaikogami, sanjin 蚕神
O-Shirasama, Memyo Bosatsu, the Hata clan 秦氏  and much more about sericulture.

. kiryu ori 桐生織 woven Silk textiles from Kiryu . - Gunma


Empress Michiko helps with joozoku 上蔟, mounting silkworms on trays.
The silkworms, Koishimaru 小石丸 have become about 6 cm long.

source : www.hokkaido-np.co.jp, June 2012


Daruma san was very important as a protector deity for the Japanese silk industry.

Click for more information !
© 小橋煕作 Collection of Kobashi san

. . . . . More about
Silk Cocoon Daruma Dolls

Ito 京美糸 <> Daruma Silk thread for sewing

Enomoto Seifu-Jo
She was the most famous Haiku Poet of the Tama area of her time. Hachioji 八王子 was a prosperous town along the silk road of Japan at her time.


Compiled by Larry Bole
Kigo Hotline

Matsuo Basho included a haiku by Sora about silkworms in "The Narrow Road:"

kogai suru hito wa kodai no sugata kana

The silkworm nurses -
figures reminiscent
of a distant past.

Sora, trans. Helen McCullough

A discussion of this haiku here:

has some interesting information about tending silkworms:

The season word is kogai which is usally a spring word and in that sense it does not fit the season. There are two explanations for this.
1)This refers to the second crop of silkworms, summer silkworms.
2) Cultivating silkworms is a springtime occupation, but it is in summer that they make their cocoons, so there is a natural extension from spring into summer for this enterprise.
Since Basho was in Obanazawa for ten days beginning 5.17 (7.3), there is no way this poem could represent spring, so we should probably consider these to be summer silkworms.

The phrase kodai no sugata raises the question of just what sort of image is intended. Again there are several interpretations. According to one source silkworm raising families observe certain special taboos. For example, the women of the household do not dress their hair with oil and they do not blacken their teeth. Perhaps this is what constitutes the figures of ancient people. Another work says that raising silkworms is an image of purity, so this figure suggests
striking flints (as a purification ritual) and tying back the sleeves with special cords. These interpretations may be extreme, but the reference probably does have to do with forms of dress.

One author suggests a special kind of mompe work pants called fugumi worn by the women of this region. In any case it seems to be an unusual style of dress and one not found around Edo. It is a style which seems to suggest a simpler age and thus antiquity to Sora.

This poem reflects the poet's interest in the simply dressed figures of the people who tend their silkworms. The poet imagines this is what people must have looked like back in ancient times.

We know from another work that Sora had written a draft of this poem earlier on the trip and refined it at this point to go along with Basho's poem about the toad. It is not clear whether Sora made the revision, or whether Basho may have done it. In any case, the silkworm cultivators suggest an image of the ancients. The poem seems shallow when we compare it to Basho's preceeding poem. Sora's poem lacks a lyrical note. Although this poem uses the same technique of a simile as Basho's Mayuhaki, it lacks the richness of association.

The Haiide yo poem makes a contrast between the rustic and the humorous. The Tsuzushisa poem has charm, but Sora's poem is merely descriptive. Perhaps Basho chose to include Sora's poem at this point to serve as his companion's greeting to their mutual friend Seifu.

Matsuo Basho wrote

samidare ya kaiko wazurau kuwa no hata

summer rains--
a silkworm ill
in the mulberry field

Tr. Barnhill

Constant rain -
The silkworms are sick
In the mulberry fields.

Tr. Blyth

early summer rain
a silkworm sickens
on a mulberry farm

Tr. Reichhold

long seasonal rain--
a silkworm ailing
in the mulberry field

Tr. Ueda

It has been suggested that Basho saw himself in the sick silkworm. The haiku was written in 1694, the last year of Basho's life.

According to Yamamoto, in Ueda's "Basho and His Interpreters:"
The poet saw his own image in the lone silkworm ailing in the mulberry field.

And according to Reichhold:
Again it was recorded that Basho was fascinated by the idea of a "sick silkworm" and wanted to use the image in a poem.

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


haiide yo kaiya ga shita no hiki no koe

crawl out!
beneath the silkworm shed
the croak of a toad

Tr. Haldane

kaiya 飼屋, 蚕室 shed where the silkworms were kept

Oku no Hosomichi, Obanazawa
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


kamidana no hi wa okotaraji kaiko-doki

Even in silk-worm time
They do not neglect
The light of the household shrine.

Buson, trans. Blyth


External LINKS

Silk: A Tradition with a Future?

Silk Museum Yokohama, Japan

Silk Worm Farm
Toyohara Chikanobu (1838–1912)


Issa and his 16 silkworm haiku

uchinaka ni kigen toraruru kaiko kana

the whole house
pays them court...

Bridget Dole comments, "I am reminded of something I read about the raising of silkworms and how the families with silkworms in their attics were very careful of the silkworms' moods. They were careful not to make loud noises, display discord, etc. because they needed the silkworms to spin uninterrupted (a cocoon is made of one long strand of silk. If a silkworm stops spinning, it may not have enough silk left to make another cocoon). Anyway, I'm just wondering if toraruru could be translated to indicate the catering of the people to the silkworms."

Indeed, Shinji Ogawa offers this translation:

They are soothed
by the whole family


ni san hi wa nagusami to iu kaiko kana

for two or three days
its pure fun...
for silkworms

Tr. David Lanoue


dono ie mo ko no ka kuwa no ka harewatari

in every home
the fragrance of silkworms and mulberries
in the bright sky

. Iida Ryuta (Iida Ryouta) 飯田龍太 .


Butterfly words curl
in whispers from silk cocoons--
Painted picture words

Michael R. Collings, USA


Chinese Silk Carpet Meditation Haiku
Gabi Greve


Classic Haiku

By Basho, Buson, Issa

Paper: handmade Japanese Mulberry with grey and blue Suminagashi Marbling. Tradition Oriental binding with folded fore-edges and stab binding on spine. Sewn with black silk. Red and grey brocade covers in slipcase.
© www.califiabooks.com

Related words

***** mulberry, mulbery, kuwa 桑(くわ)
The leaves were used to feed the silkworms.

picking mulberry leaves, kuwatsumi 桑摘 (くわつみ)
kigo for late spring

girl picking mulberry leaves, kuwatsumi me 桑摘女(くわつみめ)
song while picking mulberry leaves, kuwatsumi uta
cart for transporting leaves, kuwa guruma 桑車(くわぐるま)
seller of mulberry leaves, kuwa uri 桑売(くわうり)
picking leaves at night, yoguwa tsumu 夜桑摘む(よぐわつむ)

basket for the leaves, kuwa kago 桑籠(くわかご)


untie mulberry trees, which were tied up during winter
kuwa toku 桑解く (くわとく)

..... kuwa hodoku 桑ほどく(くわほどく
kigo for mid-spring

shimo kusube 霜くすべ (しもくすべ 【霜燻べ】 ) "frost and smoke"
..... kugushi くぐし
On cold spring nights, fires are lit on the outside of mulberry fields to protect the young buds from frost. keep the mulberries warm
kigo for late spring

. mulberries, kuwa no mi 桑の実 (くわのみ) .
..... kuwa ichigo 桑苺 (くわいちご)
kigo for mid-summer

kuwa no mi ya Chuuji no haka e eki sanpun

the grave of Chuji
is three minutes from the station -
oh these mulberries

Rakuga 楽可
Tr. Gabi Greve

Kunisada Chūji (国定 忠治) (1810-1851)
a Robin Hood of Japan

. o-ko matsuri 美江寺御蚕祭 みえでら‐おこまつり
silk worm festival
At temple Mie-Dera, Gifu 美江寺


kigo for early autumn

akikuwa, aki kuwa 秋桑 (あきくわ) autumn mulberry
..... aki no kuwa 秋の桑(あきのくわ)mulberry in autumn


WASHOKU : 蚕の料理 Kaiko no ryoori - eating silk worms
Konchu Ryori, konchuu ryoori 昆虫料理 Insects as food


wata 綿 floss silk
mawata 真綿 - silk floss 繭からつくった綿 -
Seidenwatte, Florettseide

flox-silk, flosh-silk.
also silk batting or wadding

Cotton (wata, momen) and related kigo


. Silk Road シルクロード -
Asian Highway アジアンハイウェイ .

. Legends about Silk and Silkworms .

- #silkkinu #kinusilk -


Anonymous said...

quickly people
pay them court...

soo-soo ni kigen toraruru kaiko kana


by Issa


Bridget Dole comments, "I am reminded of something I read about the raising of silkworms and how the families with silkworms in their attics were very careful of the silkworms' moods.

They were careful not to make loud noises, display discord, etc. because they needed the silkworms to spin uninterrupted (a cocoon is made of one long strand of silk. If a silkworm stops spinning, it may not have enough silk left to make another cocoon).

Anyway, I'm just wondering if toraruru could be translated to indicate the catering of the people to the silkworms."

Shinji Ogawa offers this translation: In a hasty manner they are soothed silkworms...
He comments, "It is Issa's humor to show the odd combination of the hasty manner and the soothing.

Nevertheless, Issa's sketch is accurate and skillful. It is a hasty manner because the farmers are so busy; the soothing half-hearted only because it is the custom."


Tr. David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

the whole family
serves the midnight meal
for silkworms

ya-uchi shite yashoku ategau kaiko kana


by Issa, 1818

Shinji Ogawa explains that ya-uchi shite means "the whole family." They all gather 'round to serve the silkworms a "night meal" (yashoku) of mulberry leaves.

Tr. David Lanoue

anonymous said...

Thomas McAuley and Waka

Places for keeping silkworms are called ‘silkworm houses’ (komuro). As we know from Shunrai’s 俊頼 writings – where he discusses the ‘jewelled broom’ (tamabahaki 玉箒) – the method of raising silkworms with a jewelled broom from the first Day of the Rat in Spring is as follows:
on the first Day of the Rat in the First Month, a child, or a woman born in the Year of the Ox – and called a Keeper Maid (kaime 飼女) – sweeps the silkworm house and makes the first celebrations.

Next, on the first Day of the Horse in the Second Month, the first silkworm eggs are laid out, and kept warm.
On the first Day of the Horse in the Third Month, the silkworms are given mulberry for the first time, and in the Fourth and Fifth Months, he says, the cocoons are spun.


Anonymous said...

at gate after gate
green hills
of silkworm poop

kado-gado ni aoshi kaiko no kuso no yama

by Issa, 1824

People have dumped out little "mountains" of silkworm waste.
According to Bridget Dole, silkworm droppings are "blackish green." About this curious haiku, she speculates, "Maybe when [the silkworms] are in the cocoons, everyone cleans out the rearing trays at the same time. The size of one's 'mountains' would be an indication of success."

Tr. and Comment
David Lanoue

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa -

hitonami nitana no kaiko mo hirune kana

like the humans
silkworms on the tray
taking a nap

This hokku is from the 3rd month (April) of 1818, when Issa was in the area just east of Edo. It is surrounded by several other hokku about silkworms in which Issa evokes people eating and living together with the worms. In all of the hokku, Issa seems impressed by the way the farming people regard the silkworms as members of their families and treat them well, even using honorific language toward them. Surely Issa was aware that the silkworms slept or went into a period of inactivity for ten or more hours before molting (usually four times), but he nevertheless felt similarities between the young silkworms and sleeping humans.

In the hokku the silkworms are in one of their long sleeps, and the people taking care of the worms have some free time and take a nap. To Issa there seems to be something special about the way the silkworms and humans are sleeping that he doesn't feel when he sees a dog or cat sleeping indoors. In contrast to a single pet, a great many silkworms are sleeping peacefully together even though they are crowded onto a tray, and the mutual sleeping during the day of the respected silkworms and the humans perhaps turns the whole room into a large, harmonious tray.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho and KUWA hokku

aki kaze ni / orete kanashiki / kuwa no tsue

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

akikaze ni orete kanashiki kuwa no tsue

in the autumn wind
it lies, sadly broken -
a mulberry stick

Tr. Ueda


Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa


nagasaruru kaiko no chou
o aki no kaze

dead silk moths in
autumn wind

Comment by Chris Drake

This hokku is from the 8th month (September) of 1815, when Issa was in and around his hometown. Silk moths are usually a summer word, but the season here is autumn. In the hokku Issa refers to part of the silkmaking process, which he seems to have observed. In silkmaking, silkworms are divided into those which will be used for breeding and those, the majority, which will be used for creating cocoons that will later be unwound to obtain a silk filament up to 1.5 km long. It takes about two weeks for a silkworm to create its cocoon, and during that time it becomes a pre-moth shape (a pupa). If they were allowed to mature and break out of the cocoon, they would make the silk filaments unusable, so most of the cocoons are boiled in hot water to kill the pupae before they break out. Later the pupae were often fried and eaten by humans and farmyard animals. Even today, pupae simmered in soy sauce, a form of tsukudani side dish, is sold in supermarkets in Nagano Prefecture, the modern name of the province in which Issa's hometown is located.

The silkworms that are allowed to breed, on the other hand, leave their cocoons and quickly begin to mate, and the female silk moth lays hundreds of eggs. The moths can't fly and have no mouths, since they have only one main purpose: to reproduce. Then, after 7-10 days, they die. Issa says the silk moths have been washed away, so presumably their trays have been washed and the dead moths have been left in a heap somewhere out behind the farmhouse. The silk moths in the hokku lived and died during the summer, and now, in autumn, their bodies are dried out and lighter. An autumn wind is blowing some of them like leaves into the air. For a moment they seem to be alive again, as if they were flying at last.

One of my neighbors told me her grandmother used to work raising silkworms. I asked her if her grandmother thought it was very hard work, but she said her grandmother really enjoyed it. Her grandmother also said that the silk from silkworms that were treated well, with a lot of kindness and care, was consistently of higher quality than the silk produced by people who didn't treat the silkworms as if they were their own children. In Issa's time it was common to call silkworms ko, "the children."


Gabi Greve - WKD said...

kamidana ni gofuu iku-kane natsugo kau

on the God's shelf
amulets are piling up -
caring for silk worms in summer

Minayoshi Soo-U 皆吉爽雨 Minayoshi Sou, So-U (1902 - 1983)

about kamidana

a friend said...

- Silk Road -

Ancient Rome, Japan and the Interconnected World

In the 5th Century CE, the world was a much more isolated place than it is today but it was still interconnected. Most people lived and died within 30 miles of where they were born. Yet even then, the world was an interconnected place where the far reaches could touch one another. Travel was restricted to by foot, horseback or boat. Regular communication depended upon trade routes or carrier pigeons. However, distance and geographical isolation did not prevent distant parts of the world from knowing about each other. The impact of foreign countries within a given country in the ancient world, both near and far, raises some interesting questions about interconnectedness, influence and the impact of telecommunications and air travel on the modern world.
Gene Howington


Gabi Greve said...

薬師猫神様 Yakushi Nekokamisama - by Mori Wajin

In former times, the Cat was an important "Deity" to help protect the silk worm farmers from the many mice. Mori Wajin doubled this deity with Yakushi Nyorai.

瑠璃寺の薬師猫神 Ruji-Ji no Yakushi Neko Kamisama
長野県伊那 812 Ojimasan, Takamori, Shimoina District, Nagano

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Fukushima 福島県
湖南町 Konan

O-Suga sama お菅さま "Lady Suga"
O-Suga Sama was the wife of the Shogun in Edo. He had been up in Ezo エゾ (Northern Japan and Hokkaido) and since she missed his love so much, she came after him. But she fell sick on the road and eventually committed suicide by drowning in a nearby pond.
She was the youngest of three sisters. When she was a child she liked to roam the forests and look for silkworms. She fed them with leaves and cared for them.

The place is called "O-Suga Sama" and people come here to pray for the well-being of their silk-worms. She observed the silk worms munching leaves with joy and told them:
neesan kuu wa ねえさん食うわ. Since then the leaves were called "kuwa クワ".

When her husband passed the area on his way back, he dreamed that she has become the mist on mount 高井原山 Takaraibarayama to moisten the kuwa leaves.
Her name was actually "O-Sugi お杉", Lady Pine, but that turned to "O-Suga" in the local dialect.

During the procession fo Sankin Kotai there was a great serpent up on a willow tree along the road. It displeased the vassals of the Daimyo and was thus driven away and had to move to Fukushima. When a branch of this willow tree breaks off, there was blood flowing from the wound. So in the end the whole tree was cut off.
This place is called "O-Suga Sama".

. kuwa 桑 mulberry tree .
kuwago 桑子(くわご) "kuwa child", "mulberry child", - silkworm

Gabi Greve said...

neko no ekaki 猫の絵描き painter of cats
They painted cats on pictures to hang up in the kitchen or loft where silk worms were kept to chase away the mice.
Raising silk worms was a good business in the Edo period, and mice were the worst enemy of the farmers.
The paintings had to be done very carefully, to have the cat
watch the "eight directions" 八方にらみの猫 (happo nirami no neko).

Gabi Greve said...

Tsuruoka shiruku kibiso 鶴岡シルク - きびそ silk from Tsuruoka

Yamagata was the most Northern region of Japan to produce silk. The brand name is KIBISO.
Kibiso contains a water-soluble protein called sericin, so the fabric can absorb humidity.
Samurai Silk Matsugaoka

Gabi Greve said...

群馬県 Gunma 吾妻郡 Azuma district 嬬恋村 Tsumagoi

. mayudama 繭玉 (まゆだま) "silk cocoon balls" .
Mochi or dango for the New Year celebrations of the Silk protecting deities
On January 31 silk farmers prepare these 繭玉 balls from a dough of rice, wheat and millet flour. They are called oni no medama 鬼の目玉.
They hang them at the entrance and windows as a greeting for the Deities. When an Oni passes the home, he is afraid of these huge "eyeballs" and runs away wast.
me 鬼の目, 鬼の眼 / medama 鬼の目玉 - 伝説 
Demon Legends about the eyes and eyeballs

Gabi Greve said...

Ehime Nomura town 野村  Seiyo  西予
Nomura Silk 野村シルク

Known as “the town of milk and silk,” Nomura Town in Seiyo City, Ehime Prefecture has long thrived on stockbreeding and sericulture. Its sericulture industry, which makes raw silk yarn from silkworm cocoons, started in the early Meiji Period (1868-1912), and by the early Taisho Period (1912-1926) as many as 1,138 sericultural farmhouses filled the town.

Gabi Greve said...

kaiko no kami カイコの神 deity of the Silk Worms