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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on July 27, 2014
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 29] July 27, 2014

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 29]
July 27, 2014
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1. Seasonal Flower:
Different name is "pulling a cow flower": Morning Glory
2. News from JTCO: New articles Released!
Hakone Feudal Lord's Procession Festival

:: 1. Seasonal Taste

Different name is "pulling a cow flower": Morning Glory

Here is a Japanese essay, written by Kamono Choumei recorded in
"People's lives and houses are both transient and impermanent, just as flower of morning glory or dewdrops on it. Sometimes both dewdrops and flowers remain, other times flowers wither with dewdrops remaining. In any way, they both disappear eventually."

(Original texts: "Sononushito Sumikato Mujouwo Arasousama, Iwaba
Asagaono Tsuyuni Kenarazu. Aruiwa Tsuyu ochite, Hana nokoreri.
Nokoruto Iedomo, Asahini karenu. Aruiwa Hana shibomite, Tsuyu
naokiezu. Kiezuto iedomo, Yuuwo Matsukotonashi. ")

Morning glory means for us today, the Trumpet shaped flower which
has vines climbing a stick. However people called any flower which
blooms in the morning "Asagao(means morning face)" in ancient times.
In the Manyou times which is from the late 7th century to 8th
century, Asagao meant a balloon flower. But in the Tale of the Genji
written in the Heian period (early 11C), one of the personages Lady
Asagao was also called Lady Mukuge (Hibiscus syriacus). It shows that
Asagao meant Hibiscus syriacus , today known as the Korean national
flower, for people at that time.

The extract in the opening paragraph was one episode of the essay
called "Houjouki" which was written in the early Kamakura period
(12th century). Morning glory has been an ornamental plant since that
time. It could be the same kind of morning glory that we see today.

The seed of morning glory was brought into Japan in the Nara period
(8C) as a Chinese herbal medicine. It has a Chinese herbal medicine
name "Kengoshi(牽牛子)" which means "牽牛pulling a cow, 子 descendant".
This came from the historical fact that people pulled a cow as a
return gift because this medicine was very expensive in those days.

Since then, morning glory is called kengoka (牽牛花) " 牽牛= pulling
a cow, 花= flower" in Japan. It came to be called "Orihime (Vega) "
in the Edo period (17-19C), because its blooming season is around the
Tanabata event (the Star Festival, held in July or August, during
which believed that Altair and Vega meet once a year across Milky Way),
and people thought it shares Hikoboshi (Altair) and Orihime (Vega)'s
good luck. The plant pods of morning glory started to be on the
market in the Edo period. Morning glory sold in Iriya in Tokyo got
popular from the late Edo period to the Meiji period and this "Asagao
market" still continues today.

Indeed Morning glory is often used as a metaphor of fragile beauty as
the flower blooms in the morning but withers in the afternoon. Still,
its refreshing colour of the flower can cool off the heat of summer.
Why don't you plant it in your garden or veranda? Or you may try to
find rare kinds. Please enjoy morning glory however you would like.

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Marina Izumi

:: 2. News from JTCO

New articles released!
Hakone Feudal Lord's Procession Festival

"Hakone Feudal Lord's Procession Festival" is held annually in Hakone-
Yumoto Onsen resort, the home of Hakone Seven hot springs. Feudal
Lord's Procession is a traditional procession by a feudal lord and
his people, practiced in Edo period, between the 17th and the mid-19thcentury.

Read the full article:

Translation: Hitomi Tashima, reviewed by Moe Shoji

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Development Organization (JTCO)- All Rights Reserved.

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