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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on June 25, 2014
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 25] June 25, 2014

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 25]
June 25, 2014
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1. Seasonal Festival: Firefly

:: 1. Seasonal Festival


Fireflies glow in the dark night like a fantasy. There is a chapter
with the theme of "Firefly" in "The tale of Genji", a classic
literature with 54 chapters about the livelihoods of a dynasty, which
composed at the beginning of 11th century. That chapter stated, in
the performance between the beautiful princess named Tamakazura and
the one who is going to propose, named Heibu Kyounomiya, fireflies
were used to bring out the prettiness of the princess in the dark

Moreover, a poet in 12th century, named Fujiwara Sadanaga, composed a
poem saying "My love is as bright as the light from firefly, but you
never realize it., firefly was used to describe the love flame. It s
eems that the glow of fireflies was used as romantic words in Japan
since ancient times.

On the other hand, it was believed fireflies grow from decayed trees
in ancient China. Because of this belief, it is often used as a
metaphor of desolate scenes or lonesome feeling in Chinese poems. The
view of flying fireflies in Chinese is written as 流蛍 which means
streaming fireflies. Even this beautiful expression was used as a
metaphor for losing love from a woman in the Chinese ancient poems.
Firefly is apparently the symbol of sadness in China.

How do you feel when you see the scene of glowing fireflies flying? A
firefly staying on the grass by a river. A firefly flying away, with
the locus of a ray of light. Many fireflies flying together like a
battle. In Japan, early July is the season of firefly, though it
varies depending on the area and climate. Can you see fireflies in
your country?

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Chan Yitin

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