Sweat (ase)


Sweat (ase)

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


Perspiration (also called sweating or sometimes transpiration) is the production of a fluid, consisting primarily of water as well as various dissolved solids (chiefly chlorides), that is excreted by the sweat glands in the skin of mammals. Sweat also contains the chemicals or odorants 2-methylphenol (o-cresol) and 4-methylphenol (p-cresol), as well as a small amount of urea.
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sweat, perspiration, you name it ... when it is HOT !

Of course we can sweat at any day of the year, from hard physical labour, when sitting near a stove in winter ... cold sweat when afraid of something.

But as a kigo, it refers to the effects of the summer heat.


kigo for all summer

sweat, perspiration, ase 汗 (あせ)
to sweat a little, to start sweating, asebamu

beads of sweat, drops of perspiration, tama no ase
"sweat water", asemizu 汗水(あせみず)

dripping with sweat, ase midoro 汗みどろ(あせみどろ)

smell of sweat, ase no ka 汗の香(あせのか)

prickly heat, heat rush, asemo 汗疹 (あせも)
... aseba あせぼ、asemo 汗疣(あせも)

"sweat wiper", asetori 汗袗 あせとり
... asetori 汗取(あせとり)

special underwear made from made from twisted paper
and more summer robes to take the sweat off:
koyori juban 紙縒襦袢(こよりじゅばん)
gaze juban ガーゼ襦袢(がーぜじゅばん)
thin bamboo pipe juban 管襦袢(くだじゅばん)
bamboo juban 竹襦袢(たけじゅばん)

"thin sweat towel", ase nugui 汗拭い (あせぬぐい)
hankerchief, hankachiifu ハンカチーフ、hankachi ハンカチ、
hankechi ハンケチ
"sweat wiper", ase fuki 汗ふき(あせふき)
... ase tenugui 汗手拭(あせてぬぐい)

More about
Tenugui .. Thin Handtowels


"sweat protector", ase tenuki 汗手貫 (あせてぬき)
Mostly used by monks, priests and old men to protect their precious silk robes for funerals and other ceremonies. It is worn round the wrist and arms. The material is hores tail, thin wisteria ropes, thick silk or mostly bamboo.
藤製汗除, 腕貫

ase tenuki roosoo mo ase o kakaruru ya

sweat protector ...
even the old priest
is sweating

Aoki Getto 青木月斗 (1879 - 1949)

emondake 衣紋竹 (えもんだけ) bamboo rack for airing robes
..... emonzao 衣紋竿(えもんざお) bamboo hanger for ariring robes
After wearing ceremonial silk robes which can not be washed easily, they are put on a bamboo rack or pole and left in the shadow to air and dry out.


powder against sweat, tenkafun 天瓜粉 (てんかふん)
..... genkafun 天花粉(てんかふん)
"not knowing sweat", "forget about sweat", ase shirazu
This is a natural powder taken from the roots of some gourds in Japan. It is especially used for babies and small children.


Even the rice is sweating in summer.

fermented rice, meshi sueru 飯饐える (めしすえる)
fermented rice, sue meshi 饐飯(すえめし)
"sweat of cooked rice", ase no meshi 汗の飯(あせのめし)
..... meshi no ase 飯の汗(めしのあせ)


and on a hot spring day :

sweat in spring, haru no ase 春の汗(はるのあせ)
kigo for late spring


Proverb with SWEAT

ringen ase no gotoshi

An emperor's words are like sweat.

(once they are out in the open, he can not take them back again)

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

We even have a sports drink called SWEAT :

Pocari Sweat is a mild-tasting, relatively light sweet drink and advertises itself as an "Ion supply drink." Ingredients listed are water, sugar, flavourings, acids, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium lactate and magnesium carbonate. It is sold in liquid form, in aluminium cans and plastic bottles, and also in powder form.

The reference to the bodily fluid resulting from perspiration in the name of the beverage tends to have a certain offputting or humorous connotation for native English speakers.
However, the name was chosen by the manufacturers originally for the purpose of marketing the product as a sports drink in Japan, where people generally do not mentally translate names appearing in English and are therefore not bothered by the connotation.

It was largely derived from the notion of what it is intended to supply to the drinker: all of the nutrients and electrolytes lost when sweating (the first part of the name, Pocari, means "like a cloud floating in the sky" or "a situation in which a cloud is floating in the sky" in Japanese, and has a connotation of lightness, buoyancy, and ease). "Sweat" was apparently intended to suggest diligence and its fruits — the idea intending to connote to the user that Pocari Sweat works to make one feel fresh and relaxed.
However, some Japanese apparently drop "Sweat" from the name in common usage
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Even the Gods are sweating ...

Asekaki Jizo 汗かき地蔵
Sweating Jizo Bosatsu

Asekaki Fudo 汗かき不動 , sweating Kannon 汗かき観音
Sweating Fudo Myo-O


Kobayashi Issa

ase fukite haka ni monogataru wakare kana

mopping sweat--
at his tomb I tell my story
then go

oi no mi ya hito ase irete sugu ni mata

growing old--
one drop of sweat
soon, another

Tr. David Lanoue


Shirako San 白子 さん


end of the day -
I stop counting
the sweat beads

Gabi Greve
End of September 2013 - it is still extremely HOT in many parts of Japan.

Related words

***** Summer (natsu, Japan)



facebook said...

Thanks Gabi. We ought to have some Indian sweat haiku - sweat is something most of us really know about! We've already been having 43 degrees here in Baroda. Too hot to come up with sweat haiku or any other kind!
Johannes Manjrekar

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

Oomi-gaya ase ya sazanami yoru no toko / Oomigaya

mosquito net from Omi -
my sweat - gentle waves
my bed at night

Written in 1677 延宝5年 Basho age 34.

When using this famous mosquito net in Edo, the poet can remember the gentle waves of Lake Biwa.
sazanami is a makurakotoba "pillow word" of Lake Biwa 琵琶湖.