Showing posts with label topic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label topic. Show all posts


Chigo (temple acolytes)


Temple acolytes (chigo 稚児)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-Seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Chigo, small children 稚児
Originally, the word means babies who are still nursing 乳子(ちご).

They are also the children who perform certain duties in a temple, nowadays mostly dancing and taking part in a parade.

In former times also a name for the boys who served in temples and at the mansions of the royalty and lords.

chigo 稚児 catamite
young boys as sexual partners for men
男色の相手にされる少年, GANYMEDE


procession of children in festive attire,
chigo gyooretsu 稚児行列

Click HERE to look at more photos !


Sengen Matsuri 浅間祭 (Asama matsuri)ー photos -

From April 1 to 5. At the Sengen Shrine (Asama jinja) in Shizuoka. To pacify the gods at Mt. Fuji. Dance of children (chigo mai 稚児舞) is also performed.

Click HERE for more photos !



Jizo Bosatsu and Chigo

In Japan young children are regarded as "other worldly" and not fully anchored in human life. Fetuses are still referred to as kami no ko or "child of the gods" and also as "Buddha". Before the twentieth century, the probability that a child would survive to age five or seven was often less than 50 percent. Only after that age were they "counted" in a census and could they be "counted upon" to participate in the adult world.

Children were thought of as mysterious beings in a liminal world between the realm of humans and gods. Because of this the gods could speak through them. For centuries prepubescent children in Japan have been chosen as chigo, or "divine children", who do divination and function as oracles. Even today children below school age still are allowed a somewhat heavenly existence, indulged and protected without many expectations or pressures.

Jizo Bodhisattva, by Chozen Roshi

At the age of 13, a child was taken to a special temple and rituals of gratitude were preformed. Now the child was considered an adult.
Temple Visit with a child of 13, juusan-mairi 十三詣
kigo for spring
Juusanbutsu 十三仏 13 Protector Buddhas for the first 13 years of a child


Infant Statues of Buddhist Deities

Chigo Daishi 稚児大師
... more about
Kukai, Kobo Daishi 弘法大師 空海 (Kuukai, Kooboo Daishi)

Chigo Kannon 稚児観音
Chigo Kannon Engi

Chigo Monju 稚児文殊

Chigo Taishi, Shotoku Taishi 稚児太子、聖徳太子

..................Some thoughts by Bernard Faure

... the development of a motif such as that of Guanyin as prostitute, an illustration of this bodhisattva's vow to appear in the world to save beings overcome by desire, must have had a power of arousal that we no longer suspect. The same can be said of figures of goddesses like Benzaiten or Kichijoten, or of the representations of Manjusri, Shotoku Taishi, and Kobo Daishi as young boys (chigo).

A similar example, in the Christian context, would be the popular image of the Virgin offering her breast to a sick monk. If this male fantasy was triggered by the monastic contemplation of an icon, one might expect the same fantasies to have arisen from Buddhist monks' relations to Guanyin and other similar (male or female) figures.

Read the full article here :
The Buddhist Icon and the Modern Gaze
by Bernard Faure

... ... ...

The homoerotic environment of Buddhist monasteries actually inspired a literary genre, Chigo monogatari (Tales about acolytes), which took as its theme the love between acolytes (chigo) and their spiritual guides. These homoerotic relationships were ‘firmly grounded in the familiar structures of monastic life’and were meant to appeal to their Buddhist audience.

A common theme of these tales is the transformation of a Buddhist deity, usually Kannon (Sanskrit Avalokite'svara), Jizoo (skt. Ksitigarbha) or Monjushiri (Sanskrit Ma~nju'srii), into a beautiful young acolyte. The acolyte then uses his physical charms to endear himself to an older monk and thereby lead him to Enlightenment.

In the fourteenth-century Chigo Kannon engi, Kannon takes the form of a beautiful novice to become the lover of a monk who is longing for companionship in his old age. After a few years of close companionship, however, the acolyte dies, leaving the monk desolate. Kannon then appears to the monk, reveals that he and the acolyte were one and the same and delivers a discourse on impermanence.

Read the full article here:
Homosexuality in the Japanese Buddhist Tradition
By By Dharmachari Jnanavira


A Story from "A Collection of Tales from Uji"
Uji Shui Monogatari . 宇治拾遺物語
13th cent.

是も今は昔、比叡の山に児ありけり。僧たち、宵のつれづれに、 「いざ、かいもちひせん。」と言ひけるを、この児、心寄せに聞き けり。さりとて、しいださんを待ちて寝ざらんも、わろかりなんと思ひて、片方に寄りて、寝たるよしにて、いで来るを待ちけるに、すでにしいだしたるさまに て、ひしめき合ひたり。

This one happened long ago too. There was a boy acolyte on Mount Hiei. In the dullness of the evening, this acolyte would hear with pleasure the monks' saying "Hey, let's make some red-bean rice cakes!" So, thinking it would be bad to wait for them to be ready without going to sleep, he went off to a corner to pretend like he was asleep as he waited. Soon it seemed that the cakes were done, and there was a ruckus.

© amidaworld

... ...

Chigo Monogatari
Love Stories or Buddhist Sermons ?

The Divine Boy in Japanese Buddhism : gohoo dooji 護法天童
Carmen Blacker

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

- - - - - Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉  - - - - -

Kanbutsu no hi ni umare-au ka no ko kana

happening to be born
on Buddha's birthday
a baby deer!

. Kanbutsu-e 潅仏会 Buddha's Birthday .


名月や児たち 並ぶ堂の縁
meigetsu ya chigotachi narabu doo no en
meigetsu ya chigo tachinarabu doo no en

harvest moon -
the temple acolytes are lined up
at the veranda

Tr. Gabi Greve

harvest moon -
children lined up
on the temple veranda

Tr. Addiss

harvest moon -
children lined up along
the temple veranda

Tr. Barnhill

Written in 1690 元禄3年8月15日 - at temple Gichuuji 義仲寺 Gichu-Ji.


tsuki sumu ya kitsune kowagaru chigo no tomo

Written at Keishi's house 畦止 on the topic
"Accompanying a lovely boy in the moonlight"

the moon is clear--
I escort a lovely boy
frightened by a fox

Tr. Ueda

Ueda says, in a note:
"Basho himself, recalling his youth, once wrote: 'There was a time when I was fascinated with the ways of homosexual love.' "

More of Ueda's comment:
source :

Ueda's translation of the same haiku
from his 1970 biography of Basho:

How serene the moon!
I escort a handsome youth
Frightened by a fox's howl.

Written in 1694 元禄7年9月28日, Basho age 51.


uuru koto ko no gotoku seyo chigo-zakura
ūru koto

let us plant them
like handling small children -
mountain cherry trees

Tr. Gabi Greve

Written in the Kanbun time 寛文年間 (1661 -1672)
Most probably on his first trip from Iga Ueno to Edo.

Chigozakura refers to mountain cherry trees with very small blossoms.
He compares the trees to small children.

Chigo-zakura is also a seashell mound in Akita in 寺内村.

. Matsuo Basho - Archives of the WKD .


Kobo Daishi as a Boy
Temple Nishi Arai Daishi 西新井大師

Daruma Kuyo at Nishi-Arai Daishi Temple
February 3, with bean scattering (mame maki)

"Daruma Kuyo" is a traditional event since 1954 at Nishi-Arai Daishi, an old famous temple, the origin of which dates back to the year of 826. Daruma is a votive symbol for people wishing for the well-being of the family and flourishing business. People bring their Daruma figures once a year on this day to the temple, express gratitude to them, and buy new ones for the next one year. The numbers of old Daruma figures are burnt together in the temple.

The ceremony of "Daruma Kuyoo" is full of solemnity starting with the entrance of Buddhist monks in the style of mountain priest blowing a conch-shell horn, followed by monks in Buddhism garment, into the garden of the Komyo-den where old Daruma figures are gathered. Then the tens of thousands Daruma figures are lighted in the sounds of sutra reading by the monks. On this same day, the bean-scattering ceremony celebrating the coming of spring is held in the Hon-den. You will also find it enjoyable to stroll along the road to the San-mon where souvenir shops, dango (Japanese sweet dumplings) shops, etc. stands in a row.
(Nishi-Arai Daishi Temple)


kanbutsu ya sutego sunawachi tera no chigo

Buddha's birthday;
The deserted child,--
Now a boy of the temple.

Kikaku 基角
(Tr. Blyth)


... ... ... Issa and Chigo Haiku

tera no chigo aka katabira wa itsu made zo

temple toddler--
how long will you wear
your little red kimono?

tera yama ya chigo wa korogeru chô wa tobu

temple mountain--
a baby tumbles
a butterfly flits

chigotachi ya sakazuki oku nari hasu no hana

the toddlers
put them in sake cups...
lotus blossoms

© Tr. David Lanoue
Issa haiku about CHIGO


shii hirou Yokawa no chigo no itoma kana

Picking up acorns,
the temple boy of Yokawa
in his hour of leisure.

--Buson, trans. Shiffert and Sawa

mishi koi no chigo neriide yo dokuyo

That altar boy --
how I wish
he would come out again.

--Buson, trans. unknown

Related words

***** Buddha's Birthday and the Flower Hall (hana midoo) Japan

***** Child, Children (kodomo) of all kinds



Ashes in Japanese Culture


sumi temae, sumetemae 炭点前 Charcoal Setting
More about Ashes in Japanese Culture

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-Seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


CLICK for more photos

In the Tea Ceremony school of Yabunouchi, the five senses are entertained. With the ceremony of laying out the charcoal for boiling the water, the master and the guests gather at the open fireplace and enjoy not only the different colors of the charcoal, but also the warmth of the embers.

The ashes where the charcoal is placed are also layed out and forked into special patterns.

Before the coal is placed,the hearth is ritually cleansed
with a feather, habooki 羽箒.

The coal is layed out in a special pattern. The pieces have various size, the biggest for holding the warmth during the whole ceremony, the smallest for picking up fire quickly and some long ones for transfer of the glow to the larger piece.
Some twigs of white charcoal are also use, they make a fine decoration to enjoy with the eyes. The faint clicking of the burning embers is a joy for the ears.

After laying out the coals, the meal is served and then after a pause, the tea is served.
Just watching the arrangement and seeing the embers, feeling the warmth, makes the heart quiet and brings enjoyment to the group.

White charcoal branches


first ritual layout of the coal, shozumi 初炭

replenishing the charcoal, gozumi 後炭
Here the master can show his skills, since the coals burn different at any time.

Click HERE for some photos !

External LINK
Sumi Temae Utensils


The tea ceremony as an art form cuts through a whole spectrum of Japanese culture because it embraces many art forms such as architecture, gardening, ceramics, textiles, Japanese calligraphy, flower arrangement, and Japanese cuisine, plus a few rather arcane art forms such as the sculpting of ashes and the building of a beautiful fire. Certain arrangements of ashes on which charcoal is placed can take as long as two hours to prepare. Other than the Japanese tea ceremony, where else can you find humble ashes raised to such a level of refinement and beauty?

Indeed, they are the finest ashes in the world. A story is told about three tea masters who had a magnificent tea room with much valuable equipment. One day the house caught fire and the 3 tea masters rushed in to save what they could.
The first thing they saved was the ashes!
The point being made with this story is that everything involved in a tea ceremony has been given careful aesthetic attention, even the ashes.
source :


kigo for all winter

. sumi 炭 (すみ) charcoal
binchootan 備長炭 binchotan charcoal and more


observance kigo for the New Year

suminuri 墨塗, 墨塗り (すみぬり)
painting the face with charcoal

Date no suminuri 伊達の墨塗 (だてのすみぬり)
..... sumitsuke shoogatsu 墨付正月(すみつけしょうがつ)墨付け正月
"New Year with charcoal painting"

source :

On January 15.
People paint their faces black and pray for health. Especially in Niigata at Tokamachi town.
There it happens after the ritual of throwing young husbands of the last year down the slope of the tempel Yakushi-Do (mukonage 婿投).
It is also common in other parts of Tohoku, expecially the Date region of Fukushima.



topic for haiku

haiash, ashes

Used just like that, the word is not a kigo and can apply to various kinds of ashes, see quote below.

But there are some compounds with it as kigo.


. Ash Wednesday . Aschermittwoch
kigo for early spring

hai no suiyoobi 灰の水曜日 (はいのすいようび)
seikaisai 聖灰祭(せいかいさい)
daisaishibi 大斎始日(だいさいしび)

. kairobai 懐炉灰(かいろばい)ashes from the pocket heater
kigo for all winter


In Japan, most dead bodies are cremated and the ashes toghether with some bones are handed over to the family members.
They are kept in special "bone containers" (kotsutsubo 骨壷) and placed on the family altar at home or in a grave.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


The solid remains of fires, such as:
Cigar ash, the ash produced when a cigar is smoked
Wood ash, products of wood combustion
Incinerator bottom ash, a form of ash produced in incineration facilities
Volcanic ash, material ejected from the top of a volcano
Fly ash and bottom ash, products of coal combustion
Ash (analytical chemistry), the compounds that remain after a scientific sample is burned.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

The volcanic ashes (kazanbai 火山灰) that are regularly raining from the volcano Sakurajima (Kagoshima) are called
yona よな.


- Let us take a time trip to Edo !

. Recycling and Reuse in Edo - リサイクル と 再生 .

haikai 灰買い buying ashes

Wood and straw was the most common burnable material in Edo. Considering there were about 1.000.000 people living in the city, a lot of ashes were produced every day.
Ashes were used in many ways during the Edo period. Some examples are the indigo dyers, paper makers, sake and silk producers, furniture makers and others.
Furniture makers used it especially for cleaning a surface.
The buyers for ashes of the kitchen fires and hibatchi heaters walked around the cities and then sold their ware at special "ash markets", for example in Kawagoe and in the suburbs of Edo.
In Kabuki there is a famous saying, to express the "most trivial things"

kamado no shita no hai made 竈の下の灰まで
even the ashes from below the stove

In Kyoto and Osaka the people really sold the ashes from below the stove, sometimes with some husks of rice (nuka) or seeds of cotton (tane), so the buyers would call out

nuka tane hai wa gozai 「ぬか・たね・はいはござい」

In Edo, the ash buyers wanted only the pure ashes. They brought their merchandise to a special ash dealer or merchand 灰問屋 (haidonya), got their money and spent the rest of the day happily.

haidonya mina shiraga no wakai mono

the ash merchands
are all white-haired
young men

. senryu, senryū 川柳 Senryu in Edo .

One of the rich ash merchands was Haiya Juuyuu 灰屋紹由 Haiya Juyu.

Most ash buyers carried a shoulder pole with two rope baskets with long lines at the four corners, (see above),
others teamed up and shared the burden of the basket, called
- mokko モッコ / もっこ / 畚

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

CLICK for more photos ...

Ashes and the Way of Incense (koodoo, kodo 香道)

. . . CLICK here for Photos of Ashes !

Usually, unperfumed rice-ash is used. It is carefully layered and finally raked into patterns 灰の模様, (hashime 箸目) sometimes a different one for each month. There are special tools to rake patterns into the ashes.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

CLICK for original LINK ... keisetsukai
There is one opening
kikisuji 聞筋〈ききすじ〉
The ashes can be divided into six fields or three fields in the form of the letter V.

ember pot
- Reference -

koorobai 香炉灰 ash for the incense burner
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

white ash for soradaki 空薫(そらだき) "burning for pleasure"
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

tadon たどん【炭団】 charcoal briquette
They are made from coal powder of wood or bamboo, kneaded with natural glue from seaweed (funori) . After forming the balls they are dried. When carrying normal charcoal in bundles, there is always a lot of powder at the bottom of the package, which was used to make the balls.
They are now so powerful as heating material, but keep burning for a long time.
In the Edo period, Shiobara Tasuke 塩原太助 mixed them with glue from seaweed to make them even more useful.
Starch from potatoes was also used to stick the bits and pieces and powder together.
Before the advent of heating oil they were use for heating and in cooking stoves and hibachi.
Charcoal balls used for Kodo 香道, the way of fragrance, are made from expensive wood charcoal powder and rolled into longer sticks. They are quite different from the tadon for heating.
Since they are black, they are a symbol for loosing a bout in sumo (kuroboshi 黒星).

Incense and Daruma


waga haru ya tadon hitotsu ni ona ichi wa

my spring--
one charcoal ball
and a bundle of greens

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue


source : xxx

「茶の湯日々草」 「炭手前の図」sumi temae
水野年方 - 1896

setting the charcoal -
we look and listen,
warming the heart

tea ceremony -
wispering charcoals
warm the heart

Gabi Greve, March 2007


Tea Ceremony Haiku
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

four and a half tatami was a standard size of a room for the tea ceremony.

aki chikaki kokoro no yoru ya yojoohan

as autumn approaches
our hearts are drawn together--
a four-and-a-half mat room

tr. Barnhill

Autumn is near;
The heart inclines
To the four-and-a-half mat room.

tr. Blyth

sensing autumn's approach
four hearts draw together
in a small tea room

tr. Ueda

Written on the 21st day of the 6th lunar month, 1694
元禄7年6月21日, Basho age 51
when Basho stayed at the estate of Bokusetsu 木節.

The members of this meeting were three good friends, trying to console Basho, who had on the 8th day just gotten the news of the death of his wive/lover
. Juteini 寿貞尼 Jutei-Ni .

Apart from Basho and Bokusetsu, the two other participants sharing the tea room were

. Hirose Izen 広瀬維然 .

. Kagami Shikoo 各務支考 Kagami Shiko .

Later in the 7th lunar month, Basho wrote another hokku at the estate of Bokusetsu (Kibushi):

hiya hiya to kabe o fumaete hirune kana

Mochizuki Bokusetsu 望月木節
(? 1964, 11th lunar month)
A doctor from Otsu, also known under the name of 是好.
He was one of the few who saw Basho on his death bed.

Related words

***** Yabu no Uchi Tea Ceremony Part 1

***** Tea Ceremony Saijiki 茶道の歳時記 
chashitsu 茶室 Tea Ceremony Room.

***** . Forest work in all seasons
making charcoal

***** . Fire (kaji)Worldwide. Bushfire, wildfire
after a fire, there are ashes on the ground.


- #sumitemae -


Year of the Mouse


Year of the Mouse

***** Location: Japan in 2008
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


2008 is the year of the Mouse/Rat according to the Asian Lunar Calendar.
nezumi doshi 鼠・子(ねずみ・ネズミ)年

CLICK for more photos of New Year Greeting cards.
Japanese Greeting Cards for 2008

The Circle of 60 Years
Jikkan Junishi (literally 10 stems and 12 branches) refers to the Chinese zodiac symbols, also called eto in Japanese. The 10 heavenly stems referred yin-yang principles and the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Once full circle compirzes 60 years.

The 12 earthly branches of the Zodiac include 12 animals:
mouse (rat), ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and wild boar (pig)

The 60th birthday of a person completes one circle.
Kanreki 還暦.

This year will be my Kanreki !

Gabi Greve


CLICK for more photos

nezumi ねずみ【鼠】 mouse
nonezumi, no nezumi 野ねずみ field mouse
ratto ラット  rat
dobunezumi どぶねずみ brown rat
topic for haiku

This animal is with us all year round !

Grey (gray) in Haiku
Traditional Japanese Colors: nezumi iro


Year of the Rat / 32,400 hits

Year of the Mouse / 19,000 hits

The Mouse / Rat Personality

The mouse is one of the animals that are found all over the world. It has good vitality and gives people the impression that it is smart,nimble and filled with enterprising spirits.
People born in the year of the mouse share some of the characteristics of a mouse. They are optimistic,cheerful, do not fall into low spirits no matter how hard the circumstances,and will fight for their lives. At the same time, they are sensitive like a mouse, and have good intuition and imagination, but they are not good at logically drawing their own conclusions.

Viewed from appearances, people born in the year of the mouse are reticent persons, but actually they are not. They are easily worked up, but they can control their spirits. This character allows them to have lots of friends.

People born in the year of the mouse are usually optimistic, cheerful and easy to get along with. Sometimes you may find a person born in the year of the mouse to be critical, complaining and fault finding. But generally speaking, people born in the year of the mouse are easy to get along with. You can find them in circles of close friends and they are usually very friendly.

People born in the year of the mouse treasure their relationships with friends and relatives. Sometimes you will find that they connect their lives closely to those of others. This is because once they like somebody, they can't bear to leave them.

People born in the year of the mouse have a natural instinct for loving money. A boss born in the year of the mouse will care for his employees. He makes sure his employees participate sufficiently in sports and that they maintain a balanced diet. When his employees are sick, he will go to see them. He takes the troubles of employees as his own. But things change as soon as his employees want to talk about raising their wages. Then he becomes a miser. If you want to get money from the person born in the year of the mouse, you will need to bargain with him very hard.

A woman born in the year of the mouse is usually surprisingly frugal. She buys second-hand goods, splits one meal into several, and cuts down on expenses. Of course, if there is real need for money, she will not be stingy.

Sometimes, people born in the year of the mouse live in groups. They don't care if there is another mouth to feed. They will let friends or relatives live in their homes, but they can always find something for them to do. They even let lazy-bones and beggars move in and they provide work for them to do in their houses.

People born in the year of the mouse are able to keep secrets, but they enjoy finding out the secrets of other people. They may use such information as a weapon and are not satisfied until they have achieved someone's destruction. They seek loopholes without feeling shame. In a word, they lose no chances.

Since such a person tries his best to hide his feelings, when his mood changes he will be confused, and not always know why he is angry or worried. The cause may be just because people born in the year of the mouse are active and diligent. They would be unhappy and angry about other people's laziness and waste.

The character of people born in the year of the mouse has its positive and negative side. They are too particular about trifles, criticize others too much and bargain too much. They usually buy things that they don't really need. They are often cheated by others. They also keep many mementos in their rooms, and keep distressed memories in their hearts. Maybe this is because of their desire to accumulate. Although they are willing to poke their noses into other people's business, they mean good.

People born in the year of the mouse have good memories. They like to ask questions and have keen insights. Such a person knows almost everybody and keeps everything around them in mind. Others take it for granted if a person born in the year of the mouse becomes an excellent writer.

People born in the year of the mouse can succeed in everything because they are as clever as mice. They are able to overcome all kinds of difficulties, and face dangers fearlessly. Because of their cool and quick-witted minds, their keen insight and deep understanding of life, defeats in life sharpen their minds and make them out of ordinary.

There is no need to worry about the security of the person born in the year of the mouse. Before he will make any deal, he will leave a way out for himself. In times when things out of the ordinary happen he can overcome trouble almost immediately. An instinct for protecting himself takes the most important place in his heart. Usually his plans take little risk. So if you want to avoid trouble, follow the advice of a person born in the year of the mouse.

Main stumbling block standing in the way of such persons is their wild ambitions. They want to do too many things at the same time, and so they diffuse their energies. If they are able to develop their strong points and avoid their weak points, they will gain great success. Although people born in the year of the mouse are able to foresee dangers, their fondness for bargaining may cause them to draw wrong judgments, and even fall into traps. If they can overcome their greed and be self-restrained, their lives may become plain sailing. But before they realize that greed will do more harm than good, they may suffer at least one disaster of losing a large sum of money. Yet they will not become penniless because they will extricate themselves from such a difficult position.

Among the "twelve animals," the mouse is the most sentimental.
So he is not only attached to his children but also to the elder members of his family. Children born in the year of the mouse are considerate towards their parents, trust their parents and forgive any mistakes of their parents. A mother born in the year of the mouse is a good house-wife and can help her husband's work a great deal. However she will spoil her children and will pay too much attention to her husband.

The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau
Published by arrow Books Limited


Stamps for the Year 2008 in Japan

CLICK for Japanese Original LINK.
© Japan Post / 干支文字切手

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Click for more New Year Cards 2008 !

My New Year Postcards 2008


The Tale of Mice.  Nehyōe / Yahyoe
Nehyōe, the mouse-husband, is carried off by a goose while trying to satisfy his pregnant mouse-wife’s craving for meat cut from the bird’s right shoulder. Sister Toad and Lady Mole are summoned to help, while meanwhile Nehyōe wanders the countryside composing poems of lament.

At long last, Nehyōe is rescued and sent home in a boat, and the mouse-couple lives happily ever more.
- - - - -
White mice like Nehyoe,the hero of this tale, were believed to be messengers from Daikokuten, one of the seven gods of good fortune. It was customary to read Nehyoe's auspicious story on the occasion of the New Year to usher in a new era of success and prosperity.
- source :

The Tale of White-rat Yahyoe
- source :


year of the mouse !
I wait for a new spring
in November

Gabi Greve, November 2007

Related words

***** Reference: The Asian Lunar Calendar

. Nezumi 子 / 鼠  Rat, Mouse Amulets .



Poor Monk (dooshinboo)


Poor Monk (dooshinboo)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Doshinbo, Dooshinboo 道心坊. ドウシンボウ
is a person who entered into Buddhist monastery life after he grown up.
It is also used to call a poor begging monk, beggar monk, kojiki 乞食, kojiki boozu 乞食坊主.


Dooshinboo is also the name of a dance during the great Nenbutsu Dancing.


風流踊りの念佛では Nenbutsu Dance of Ippen Shonin
願念坊(ガンネンボウ Gannen Boo )、願人坊(ガンニンボウ Gannjin Boo )、道心坊(ドウシンボウ Dooshin Boo )、新発意(シンボチ Shinpochi)


道念坊 / 道心坊 Doonen-Boo / Dooshin-Boo
Japanese LINK

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

On the way from Edo to Kyoto, around the eights station from Kyoto, there was the Teahouse of Doshinbo Nonko. He was a friend of Basho's too. Nonko hab become a Zen priest and enjoyed to mix with the travellers. He offered them Miso soup and cooked beans.


kare eda ni karasu no tomari taru ya aki no kure

on a bare branch
a crow has settled
autumn dusk


Tr. Jane Reichhold


dôshin bô ya zôri hita-hita mura shigure

Priest Doshin's
straw sandals pitter-patter...
hard winter rain

I picture an indoor scene in a temple; a priest (a friend of Issa's?) rushes here and there. A scene of intimacy and confinement, thanks to the winter rain.

Issa (tr. David Lanoue)

Who is priest Doushin?
Doushin-bou means priest who became Budha’s student on his half way of whole life.
I think Doushin-bou is Issa himself, because till the time he lost three children and his wife. For the sake of praying for the souls of the dead, he made a temple named Haikai-Ji
Where was he going?
He was going in a hurry to his son who was under care of the other’s.

tabi no fuzai o yuruse wagako yo

forgive me my son
my absent of travel

© Haiga and Renku by Nakamura Sakuo


Dooshin-zaka in Winter 冬の道心坂

The slope of Doshin in near the Arashi Kita mountains of Kyoto. It freezes in winter and is hard on travellers.

© PHOTO 本多 木賊

akikaze ya sumoo no hate no Dooshinboo

Issa 一茶, 政6


shirotae no soo shirotae no ume no hana

a monk
in white robes - plum blossoms
in white robes

Kobayashi Issa


soorei no ato de kyoo yomu dooshinboo

after the funeral,
he reads the sutras -
Priest Doshinbo

Tr. Gabi Greve

Related words

***** . Beggar, begging .
monogoi 物ごい / 物乞い beggar, begging
binboonin 貧乏人 Bimbo, "a poor person"
hoomuresu ホームレス homeless
kojiki 乞食 beggar (an old word used by Issa) ...

***** Amida Prayer (Namu Amida Butsu) Japan. Amitabha



Rosary (juzu)


Rosary (juzu)

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


Rosaray (nenju, juzu)  念珠、数珠, 誦数

"The rosary's structure, with its specific numbers and sizes of beads arranged in a prescribed pattern, is a framework,
like a haiku or a sonnet."

CLICK for enlargement. Use of Rosary in Japanese Buddhist Sects !CLICK for more photos !CLICK for more photos !

As you can see in photo 1, the use of holding a rosary in Buddhist sects of Japan is different.
Rosaries are also called "prayer beads".


A string of beads or a rosary, used for Buddhist prayer and invocation. Associated particularly with a chant repeating the name of Amida Nyorai. The number and shape of the beads varies, but the most common type has 108 beads. Rosaries were introduced to Japan with Buddhism.

Originally rare and precious, the spread of Buddhism brought wider use of "nenju" from the Heian Period (8th-12th century) through the Kamakura Period (12th-14th century). Permission to trade in rosaries during the Edo Period (17th-19th century) made them available to the general public. Kyoto has many head temples of various Buddhist sects, and the techniques of making rosaries have been passed down from generation to generation.

The number "108" is a sacred number in many Buddhist traditions. It is said to represent the number of earthly passions and desires that blind and delude us, entrapping us in the Six States of Existence (the wheel of life, the cycle of samsara, the cycle of suffering and reincarnation). At the end of each year, Japanese temples strike a large bell 108 times to symbolically awaken us from our delusions. This bell-ringing tradition is called Joya-no-Kane (除夜の鐘).

Mark Schumacher



Large Rosary at Mitoku San
- by Gabi Greve


CLICK for original LINK.

Reciting with the Rosary, juzu kuri,
juzu mawashi 数珠回し

... where children sit and recite a long rosary with many large beads, since Jizo is the protector deity of children.
Jizo Bon and Haiku

To pass a large rosary in a common prayer session is rather common in rural Japan, not only for the o-Bon ceremonies. I have observed them quite often. Sometimes real big beads are used, the BIG rosary, 大数珠回し.

CLICK for more photos !

Worldwide use

rudraksha mala ... CLICK for more photos !

CHINA : Shu-Zhu" ("Counting Beads")
HINDUISM : Prayer beads, or Japa Malas, rudraksha mala, bead mala
ISLAM : Misbaha
WIKIPEDIA has more !

. Rudraksha tree ("Rudra's eyes") .
India Saijiki

Things found on the way

I have a special statue of Daruma, where he is holding a scroll and a rosary.

What is Daruma holding ?
Jimotsu 持物


"Old Chinese Ivory Daruma
with Prayer Beads"

 - 2ezr Antiques, Los Angeles


. Edo no shokunin 江戸の職人 Edo craftsmen .

source : jyuzu

juzu shokunin 珠数職人 craftsman making rosaries
juzuya 珠数屋 shop selling rosaries

Many shops were 浅草本願寺、浅草観音前 around the Asakusa Kannon temple.
The material used was mukuroji 無患子(むくろじ) soapberry fruit, suisho 水晶 chrystals, shinju 真珠 pearls or sango 珊瑚 corals.

juzu 数珠,. some pronounce it ずず zuzu.


The Christian Rosary

It is usually suggested that the rosary began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Office (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), by which monks prayed the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50 or 150 Ave Marias for the Psalms. Sometimes a cord with counters on it was used to keep an accurate count.

The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (+1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin.

One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, it's most active promoters have been Dominicans.

Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother.
It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys, Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (also referring to a crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads." This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).

© Colin B. Donovan, STL


observance kigo for late autumn

rozario sai, rosariosai ロザリオ祭 (ろざりおさい)
"Feast of the Rosary"

rozario no tsuki ロザリオの月(ろざりおのつき)
Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
rozario no seibo no hi ロザリオの聖母の日(ろざりおのせいぼのひ)
Our Lady of the Rosary
October 7

. Christian Celebrations in Japanese Kigo  


Nehan-e ya shiwa-de awaseru juzu no oto

Nehan Ceremony-
wrinkled hands in prayer and
the sound of rosary beads

Tr. Gabi Greve

Nirvana Ceremony and Haiku


kubizuka ni rozario hitotsu gaku no hana

on the head mound
just one rosary -

Kashiwara Min-U 柏原眠雨
Tr. Gabi Greve

Kubizuka, memorial stone pagodas and mounds
for the beheaded ... 首塚 .. and Haiku


Young green leaves
Mirrored in the crystal beads
Of my rosary.

Kawabata Bosha


a rose is a rose is a rose
memories of
my mother's rosary

- Isa Kocher (Turkey)


In my Japanese Haiku Temple

I burn incense to calm the mind
I use my rosary with 17 beads
Five seven five

I read my Good Book, called
Saijiki, full of seasons best words
Kigo, the pillars of my prayer

I wiggle my fingers as a means
Of saying my prayer
After all, this is a Haiku Temple

Sometimes I pause
And start again with fresh inspiration

In my final thoughts
I embrace all poets
with my one short breath mumbelings

<> In my English Haiku Temple

I miss many things
I find <> freedom <>
But I wonder and wonder

Gabi Greve
October 2004 on a rainy morning


evening dew --
these worn beads slipping through
old fingers

- Shared by Elaine Andre -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013

Related words

***** "Rosary Bead Plant", Job's tears, juzudama
数珠玉 じゅずだま
kigo for late autumn

zuzuko ずずこ、"Chinese Barley", toomugi 唐麦(とうむぎ)
(Coix lacryma-jobi)

CLICK for more photos !


The biggest bead in a rosary of the Sects of the Pure Land represents Amida Nyorai.
***** Namu Amida Butsu, the Amida Prayer

***** Saijiki of Japanese Ceremonies and Festivals


- #juzu #rosenkranz #rosary #shinju -

Yama Tera Yama


Yamadera, terayama  山寺 - 寺山 

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


Here we will explore the difference between

Yamadera, a temple with this name

yamadera, a temple in the mountains

terayama, mountain with many temples


Matsuo Basho at the temple Yamadera
Oku no Hosomichi 奥の細道

shizukesa ya iwa ni shimi-iru semi no koe
(Discussing various translation.)

deep silence -
the shrill of cicadas
seeps into rocks

 © PHOTO Basho-An

Basho visited here
Genroku 2, 27th day of the 5th lunar month
(now 13th of July)

"Yamadera, an amazing temple built in the side of a mountain. It consists of about 40 very beautiful buildings, and was first opened in the year 860, during the Heian Era. In 1689, Matsuo Basho -- a famous master of haiku -- visited Yamadera. "

More photos are here
© Jason in Japan

... ... ...

Yamadera in Yamagata Province

In ancient Japan it was believed that huge rock faces such as those at Yamadera, represented the boundary between this world and the next. It is said that the Buddhist Priest Jikaku Daishi Ennin began cutting away at the rocks in 860ad to build the Konponchudo - the main temple building of Yamadera. This building - reconstructed in 1356, houses an 800 year old wooden Buddhist image and the 'Flame of belief' which has been burning constantly at Yamadera for over 1000 years.

The Konponchudo is the first building one passes on the 1100 step climb to the Oku-no-in, the uppermost of the 40 temple buildings. The stone steps wind their way through the trees and rocks and pass through the large wooden 'ni-o-mon' gate around halfway. Shortly after the gate, the path divides in two, the left route leading to a lookout platform commanding spectacular views of the valley below. The path straight ahead leads to the Oku-no-in.

Along the way, one also passes the semizuka stone engraved with a much celebrated haiku poem written at Yamadera by the founder of Haiku; Matsuo Basho:

© Yamagata Kanko


Ryushaku-ji - 立石寺

The Risshaku-ji (Ryushaku-ji in Oku) is a mountain temple with long paths through dark, old cedars and rocky pathways. The number of steps down, for example, from the summit (Oku no In) to the main building of Risshaku-ji count out to 870 (according to the Bashouan web site).

The crags there are of volcanic rock and rather porous. There is a possibility that Basho is speaking about a sense that these rocks mute the sound of the cicadas in comparison to how they sound in the forest. Below are some pictures of the crags ("iwa") that he refers to. In the first you can get a sense of scale, and if you look closely, a stone lanter on the path gives you a sense of the nature and narrowness of the walk. In the second, the volcanic characteristics of the rock are quite clear. The third is a large crag near the main building of Risshakuji.

How still it is here --
Stinging into the stones,
The locusts' trill.

Tr. Donald Keene


A poem by Tu Fu says,
"Cicadas' voices merge together at an old temple."
Basho further enhanced the poetic beauty of the scene by introducing the image of rocks absorbing the voices. --Moran (1713-1779, haiku poet and chief priest of Myoho Temple in Shimousa)

Not a single sound was heard at this quiet place, except the voice of the cicadas that was so forceful that it seemed to seep into the rocks. --Sanga (Haiku poet who wrote a book on Basho in 1793)

If my sensibility is reliable, there should not be many circads here. -- Mizuho (1876-1955, tanka poet and classical scholar)

I disagree. The whole mountain is filled with the cicadas' screech. -- Watsuji (1889-1960, philosopher and scholar, an "intellectual leader of his generation")

In the word shimiiru ["to seep / stain into" -- Wallace] we sense motion in stillness, and stillness in motion. Basho, with his consummate art, captured this oneness of motion and stillness in a short poem. -- Ebara (1894-1948, scholar of renga and haikai at Kyoto University)

(excerpted from Basho and His Interpreters by Makoto Ueda)

Basho wrote the famous cicada haiku in memoriam of his haiku teacher and friend,
Sengin 蝉吟 (1642 - 1666) "Cicada poet"
寛永19年(1642年) - 寛文6年4月25日 25th day of the 4th lunar month.
(1666年5月28日)May 28
His name was 良忠.

Basho was of a poor family and was sent to the Todo family to become an attendant to the young lord Todo Shinshichiro 藤堂新七郎 (Toodoo Shinshichiroo) at age 13.
Sengin was the son of the head of the family and Basho studied with him in Iga Ueno, but Sengin died very young at age 25.
Basho took his bones to Mount Koyasan to have them burried. Basho then went on to Edo to start his own career as a haiku master.
He always kept his young master in mind all his life.

cicada here becomes his kakekotoba for his friend, since it was close to the day of his death memorial (there is confusion about the dates), but it was 23 years after his death.

The Todo family 藤堂氏 had always been involved in waterworks, construction of canals and freshwater supply for the towns. They were also famous for their skills in building castles and stone walls.

Todo Takatora 藤堂高虎
(1556 - 1630)

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Whilst studying with Shinchichiro Basho also memorized a lot of Chinese poems and migh have this one in mind, by Du Fu

Cicada's voices merge together at an old temple

- Japanese Reference -


yamadera, a temple in the mountains 山寺

Mitoku San, Temple Sanbutsu-Ji 三徳山三仏寺

This is just one example, the famous "hall thrown into the rocks", Nage-Ire Doo.


. Matsuo Basho visiting Temples .   

kono yama no kanashisa tsuge yo tokorohori

yamadera no kanashisa tsugeyo tokoro-hori

of this mountain’s
many sorrows, tell the tales
old yam diggers

Tr. Barnhill

The mountain's sorrows
the sweet potato digger
can readily tell

Tr. ??
source :

Written at temple 伊勢の菩提山 Bodaisen(ぼだいせん)Jinguuji 神宮寺 Jingu-Ji in Ise, Mie prefecture, close to the famous shrine Ise Jingu..
. . . CLICK here for Photos ! This temple has been founded by waka-poet and priest Saigyo, but has fallen to ruin when Basho visited and there was no trace of the former temple left. Today there is a haiku memorial stone with this haiku by Basho.

Oi no Kobumi 笈の小文

This seems the Japanese to go with it, but it is about the
tokoro imo 野老芋 yam potato (Dioscorea tokoro), a kind of yama-imo, Dioscorea opposita, a kind of YAM, and not the satsumaimo, the sweet potato.

digger of yam
tell us about the sorrowful fate
of this mountain!

another version is this:

yamadera no kanashisa tsugeyo tokoro hori

tell us about
the sad fate of this mountain temple -
old yam digger

Details about this potato:
tororoimo, tororo imo とろろ芋 and tokoro imo 野老芋


terayama, mountain with many temples 寺山

tera yama ya chigo wa korogeru chô wa tobu / Issa

When Issa wrote the haiku quoted below, he was supposed to be at the Higashiyama area of Kyoto. In this area, there are 36 famous peaks, some of which feature the name combination terayama, including the name of a famous temple of this area:


稲荷山,光明峯,惠日山,白水山,今熊野山,阿弥陀ヶ峰, 清閑寺山, 鳥辺山,霊山, 高大寺山, 東大谷山, 双林寺山, 長楽寺山, 円山,華頂山,粟田山,神野山,大日山, 南禅寺山, 若王寺山,椿ヶ峰,着気山,紫雲山,吉田山,如意岳,月待山,北白川山,爪生山,茶山,一乗寺山,葉山,修学院山,赤山,御生山,比叡山

Other famous mountains with many temples in Japan

Eihei-Ji Temple 永平寺

Koya San in Wakayama 高野山

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


tera yama ya chigo wa korogeru chô wa tobu

temple mountains —
babies tumble
butterflies flit

Issa (Tr. Nakamura Sakuo)

chigo tachi no yoru wa namida ka neshooben

do the children cry at night?
take a pee at night?

Renku from Nakamura Sakuo

Discussing CHIGO, the temple acolytes

... ... ...

tera yama ya haru no tsuki yo no renga michi

temple mountain--
under a spring moon heading
to a poem party

tera yama ya tamoto no shita wo semi no tobu

temple mountain--
buzzing into my sleeve
a cicada

tera yama ya kagashi tatte mo inu hoyuru

temple mountain--
the dog also barks
at a scarecrow

Issa (Tr. David Lanoue


yamadera ya yuki no soko naru kane no koe

mountain temple--
deep under snow
a bell

yamadera ya kogarashi no ue ni neru ga goto

mountain temple--
like it's lying down
on the winter wind

yamadera ya kiri ni mabureshi kannakuzu

mountain temple--
mist covers up
the wood shavings

Read more of Issa Haiku here:
Issa (Tr. David Lanoue


mountain temple -
a prayer overgrown
with moss

Gabi Greve
Look at the Photo HERE !

Related words

***** CHIGO, the temple acolytes

***** Mountain, peak, hill (yama, gake, oka) Japan