Numbers used in Kigo


Numbers used in Kigo

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


The use of numbers as counters in a haiku makes the situation look very real. It is therefore carefully used to get this special effect.

"eightfold", yae 八重 ... is often used to mean "many-layered".

The names of the Japanese months are using the numbers from one to 12.

There are some kigo that use counters, thought, and I collect them here.

Also consider this :
WKD . . . . . Numbers used as TOPICS in Haiku
including the use of DATES !


. . . . . SPRING

First Spring Wind, haru ichiban  春一番
this is followed by second, third and fourth South wind
..... haru niban 春二番, haru sanban 春三番, haru yonban 春四番
This is usually quite a strong storm or gusty wind on the coast of the East side of Japan, toward the end of February. After haru ichiban, we know that spring is coming.

one-layered camellia,
hitoe tsubaki 一重椿(ひとえつばき)

"eight-layered", multi-layered camellia
yae tsubaki 八重椿(やえつばき)
WKD : Camellia (tsubaki)

"one night weed", hito yo gusa 一夜草(ひとよぐさ)
"one leaf weed", hito ha gusa 一葉草(ひとはぐさ)
"Three-colored violet", sanshoku sumire 三色菫

"eight-fold mist", yae gasumi 八重霞(やえがすみ)
WKD : Fog, Mist and more hazy words


. . . . . SUMMER

"one layer sash", hitoe obi 一重帯(ひとえおび)
Summer sash (natsu obi)

"sushi left for one night"
ichiya zushi 一夜鮓(いちやずし)
salted fish, left to give its tast to the rice over night
WKD : Sushi is raw fish on vinegared rice ! 寿司

"sweet ricewine left for one night"
hitoya zake 一夜酒(ひとよざけ)

a kind of "sweet ricewine" amazake.
WKD : Ricewine, rice wine (sake, saké, saki)

"first cuting of the weeds" , ichiban gusa
second cutting of the weeds, niban gusa 二番草(にばんぐさ). third cutting of the weeds, sanbangusa 三番草(さんばんぐさ)
Having lived in Rural Japan for more than 10 years, I must say, we are lucky to get around with cutting them three times. Often is a lot more often. Cutting the weeds along the small paths of the terraced ride fields is quite a job for the farmers.

cutting indigo, ai karu 藍刈る (あいかる)
kigo for late summer
first harvest of indigo, ichiban ai 一番藍(いちばんあい)
second harvest of indigo, niban ia 二番藍(にばんあい)
aidama 藍玉(あいだま)"indigo ball"
aitsuki 藍搗(あいつき)pounding indigo
yama ai 山藍(やまあい)mountain indigo
Ryuukyuu ai 琉球藍(りゅうきゅうあい)indigo from Okinawa
Indo ai インド藍(いんどあい)Indigo from India

(There are more kigo with indigo in other seasons.)


. . . . . AUTUMN

. August 1 (hassaku 八朔) .
first day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar

. hyakugiku 百菊(ひゃくぎく)"one hundred different types of chrysanthemums"

kiri hitoha 桐一葉 one leaf of the paulownia tree

The autumn harvest moon comes with a few numbers for the days before and after the full moon.
The Moon, O-Tsukisama, Der Mond, La Lune
Moon in autumn (aki no tsuki)


. . . . . WINTER

. sankan shion 三寒四温 (さんかんしおん)
three times cold, four times warm
..... sankan 三寒(さんかん)、shion 四温(しおん)
shionbiori, shion biyori 四温日和(しおんびより) fine day of shion
A common winter weather pattern mostly in China and Korea, also sometimes in Japan. Has been introduced as kigo to Japan with the imigrants of Manchuria.


. . . . . NEW YEAR

First Water, ichiban mizu 一番水(いちばんみず)
First drawing of Well Water (wakamizu)

First Day of the Tiger, ichi no tora

"First Lottery", ichi no tomi 一の富(いちのとみ)
"Second Lottery", ni no tomi 二の富(にのとみ)
"Third Lottery", san no tomi 三の富(さんのとみ)
Related to Mino-O New Year Lottery 箕面の富 in Osaka.

Check out the many FIRST activities of the New Year !
There are also more references to other ceremonies using numbers.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Related words

***** Numbers used in Haiku


1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...


ichi fuji ni taka san nasubi

See First Dream of the year (hatsu yume)