water lilies

門さきにうつむきあふや百合の花 kadosaki ni     utsumukiau ya     yuri no hana at the front gate dropping their heads lilies blooming -Shiki   Art by Ohara Koson (1877-1945) 小原古邨 Water Lily, 1920

Meoto Iwa

The Meoto Iwa (“Married Couple Rocks”) are two giant rock stacks on the sea shore of Futami, Ise. The larger rock, measuring 30 x 131ft, is known as o-iwa (“male rock”), and the smaller one is called me-iwa (“female rock”). Unlike Stonehenge, these rocks are natural formations. But like Stonehenge, they have deep spiritual significance. They are linked by a huge…

Theater-district dawn moon (Shibaimachi no akatsuki)

It is dawn in the Shibaimachi, Tokyo’s theatre district. Staff and guests of the theatres, restaurants and tea houses make their way home. The blackened teeth and shaved eyebrows of the woman in the foreground indicate that she is married. The silhouettes of the kabuki theatre signs are clearly visible against the purple morning sky….

red hollyhocks

伸び切って夏至に逢ふたる葵かな nobikitte      geshi ni ohtaru      aoi kana a hollyhock shot up to meet the summer solstice -Shiki   Art by Ohara Shoson, Flowering Red Hollyhocks and Two Dragonflies

Tao te Ching

1. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of the ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations….

a flock of sparrows

夕だちや草葉をつかむむら雀 yūdachi ya     kusaha o tsukamu      mura-suzume   summer shower clutching the leaves of grass a flock of sparrows -Buson   Art : Weeping Willow and a Flock of Barn Swallows from the Rakuzan Kachou

20th station : 鞠子, 丸子 Mariko

Mariko-juku (鞠子宿 Mariko-juku) was the twentieth of the fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō. It is located in what is now part of Suruga Ward in Shizuoka City,. It can also be written as 丸子宿 (Mariko-juku).Mariko-juku was one of the smallest post stations on the Tōkaidō. Old row-houses from the Edo period can be found between…

Moon of the enemy’s lair (Zokuso no tsuki)

O-Usu no miko (Little Prince Usu), aka Yamato-Take no Mikoto, was the physically strong and ruthless third son of emperor Keiko, who reigned from 71-130 AD. The many exploits attributed to O-Usu are described in the Kojiki and Nihonji, major histories compiled in the 8th century. We see him here dressed as a woman and…

a couple lives

御手討の夫婦なりしを更衣 oteuchi no     myōto narishi o      koromogae death penalty by their Lord Remitted the couple change clothes. -Buson Art by Mizuno Toshikata, “Shinobi Oto- A couple is sitting in a garden in the evening”

Is that so?

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life. A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child. This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much…


A Begin Japanology video about rain in Japan