Women's slope



Women's slope (onna-zaka, onnazaka)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Topic for haiku
***** Category: Humanity


Most mountain sanctuaries, temples and shrines in Japan have two access slopes to the topmost sanctuary. The more gentle one is for the ladies, onna-zaka 女坂, and the steeper one for the menfolk, otoko-zaka 男坂.

female slope, male slope
slope for women, slope for men
onna saka, otoko saka

It also implies the lot in life for men and women are sooo different!

Woman's Slope

Men's Slope

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Onna zaka, The Waiting Years
Enchi, Fumiko, 1957.
a famous novel


The story is set in the early Meiji period (the late 19th-century) when feudalism, the strongest determinant of the family structure in the19th-century Japan, was going to end. Tomo (around 30 years old) is married to Yukitomo Shiwakawa (past 40), a rich government official living in Fukuoka, but she is his wife only nominally. The novel starts with Tomo's visit to Tokyo to find a concubine for her own husband.

Read more here !
© www.willamette.edu


CLICK for more photos

niai shi ya onnazaka oriru kamiko-tachi

they really look nice !
so many paper robes coming down
the women's slope

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. Gabi Greve

Paper robes (kamiko)
kigo for all winter


tsuyu ake ya sate onnna-saka otoko-saka

end of the rainy season -
well, the slope for women
the slope for men

Kubota Mantaro (Mantaroo)
(Tr. Gabi Greve)


onna zaka kite rai no otoko zaka

I came to
the women's slope - thunder
on the men's slope

© ryuusimutou2 / 俳句とお星様と山歩き

(Tr. Gabi Greve)


shiro ato e ochiba iroiro onnazaka

different kinds of fallen leaves
on the ruins of the castle -
women's slope

© 竹内芳子 Takeuchi Yoshiko

(Tr. Gabi Greve)


Compiled by Larry Bole

odori-ko-sou saku onna-zaka otoko-zaka

Odoriko-sou blooms...
both steep and gradual paths
to the temple

--Ikeda Toki, trans. by Shirawobi Haiku Association website editor

*On-na means women, Otoko does men, and saka means slope, in Japanese.
Onna-zaka is gradual and easy slope to the temple or shrine, and Otoko-zaka is steep and hard one

Odori-ko means the girl who is doing Japanese traditional dance. And Sou means plant or flower.

about "onna-zaka" and "otoko-zaka," on an Amazon website:

Excerpted from Womansword:
What Japanese Words Say about Women
by Kittredge Cherry. Copyright ゥ 2002.
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[I am giving myself permission to quote it here, relying on US Code: Title 17107, sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work]

Onna-rashisa: Femininity

One way to chart the meaning of femininity (onna-rashisa) in Japan is to listen to how the landscape itself is described. A "male hill" (otoko-zaka) is the steeper side of a hill, while the more gently sloping grade is termed the "female hill" (onna-zaka). This seldom-used phrase was resurrected by author Fumiko Enchi as the title for her novel about a wife who waits decades to get revenge for her husband's infidelity, though the English translation of Onna-zaka is titled simply The Waiting Years. Another way of using nature to summarize the character of the sexes is the proverb "Men are pine trees, women are wisteria vines" (Otoko wa matsu, onna wa fuji), which means men are the strong base to which women cling.

 © www.amazon.ca

Related words

***** . Hime Kaido 姫街道 princess route .




anonymous SH said...

Arigato, Gabi-san

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

niawashi ya onnazaka oriru kamikotachi

well matched!
stylish paper coats
go down the gentler slope
Tr. Chris Drake

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