Rain on Cherry Blossoms


"Rain on Blossoms" (hana no ame)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Late Spring
***** Category: Heavens


"rain on blossoms", "rain an blooms", "rain on flowers", "blossom rain"
hana no ame 花の雨
rain on cherry blossoms etc.

rain during the time of cherry blossoms, hanadoki no ame

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Since in the Japanese haiku vocabulary, HANA is identical with the cherry blossoms, there is no doubt when using this expression. In other languages, it is usually not enought to convey this strong meaning and we should make sure the reader understands the connotations. Best use a footnote, but at least translate it as

rain on cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms in the rain, ... many more versions are possible.

A cold and chilly rain during the cherry blossom viewing season. The Japanese brave the weather and go out to enjoy the cherry blossoms anyway, since the time to that is just so limited.

According to the Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, it can also be a metaphor (mitate) for a heavy fall of blossoms/petals.
(In this case, petals falling like a snow strom(hanafubuki 花吹雪) can also be used.)

hanafubuki 花吹雪 "blossom storm"
"blossom blizzard", blossom snowstorm
... sakurafubuki 桜吹雪(さくらふぶき)
hika 飛花(ひか) cherry blossoms flying around


In "Cherry Blossom Epiphany," Robin Gill translates "hana no ame" as "blossom rain."

Two examples:

yorokobi no namida zo machishi hana no ame

this long-awaited
blossom rain: call it
tears of joy!

Teiji (1645), trans. Gill

hana no ame hito o yowasu ni ware no you

blossom rain
pushing drink on a friend
I end up drunk

Ryooto(1717?), trans. Gill

Of this haiku, Gill notes that:

"Tsuji Momoko, haiku poet herself, explains: 'This is the chilly rain of blossom-viewing time.'"

Ms. Tsuji goes on to contrast the chilliness of 'blossom rain' to the warmth of 'sake' in her explication of this haiku.

Compiled by
Larry Bole, Translating Haiku Forum

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


hana no ame take ni kebureba masao nari

rain on the cherry blossoms
with bamboo in the mist -
so pale and green

Mizuhara Shūōshi 水原秋桜子
Tr. Gabi Greve


baiburu o yomu sabishisa yo hana no ame

this loneliness
while I read the bible -
rain on the cherry blossoms

diese Einsamkeit
während ich die Bibel lese -

Sugita Hisajo 杉田久女
Tr. Gabi Greve

Related words

***** Cherry Blossoms (sakura, hana) ...
and many related kigo

***** Rain in various KIGO



Gabi Greve - WKD said...

iwakura wa umi kara miete hana no ame

the sacred rocks
can be seen from the ocean -
rain on cherry blossoms

Ibaraki Kazuo 茨木和生
(1939 - ) Haiku poet from Nara

Gabi Greve said...

kudaranai . . .

kudaranai mono o mi ni tsuke hanafubuki

they put on
such silly robes -
cherry blossom snowstorm
Tr. Gabi Greve

小鳥幸男 Kojima Yukio
more about kudaranai things from Edo


Gabi Greve said...

Larry Bole wrote :

Robn D. Gill, in "Cherry Blossom Epiphany," points out that haiku poets considered the wind to be the enemy of blossoms. However, he does cite one haiku that suggests otherwise:

hana ni kaze iya teki nite wa nakarikeri

blossom and wind:
no, you cannot really
call them enemies!

--Hyakushi (1680), trans. Gill

An excerpt from Mr. Gill's comment:
"The wind, this poet suggests, loves the blossoms and they are perfectly happy to be ravished by it."