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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on September 08, 2014
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 33] September 8, 2014

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 33]
September 8, 2014
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1. Seasonal Flower:
Deadly poisonous! But it can be edible:
Higanbana (Lycoris radiata)

2. News from JTCO:
New article released!
Joetsu Crystal, Japanese Embroidery, Japanese Candle

:: 1. Seasonal Flower

Deadly poisonous! But it can be edible: Higanbana (Lycoris radiata)

Here is a Japanese poem "tanka" compiled in the eleventh volume of
"Manyoshu" (2480th poem), composed by Kakinomotono Hitomaro.

"Michinoheno Ichishino hanano Ichishiroku Hitomina shirinu Aga

Interpretation: Just like a lycoric radiata blooming vividly and
conspicuously on the side of the road, my dearest wife became known
by everyone.

The rich red lycoris radiata blooms with deep red sunset in the
background. This typical scenery of the autumnal equinox is nostalgic
for Japanese people.

In China, the country of origin of lycoris radiata, the other name of
the flower "Manjyushage" means a red flower which blooms in the
celestial world. This is from the Lotus Sutra which describes that
when a happy event is happening soon, the red flowers fall from the
celestial world. Lycoris radiata has hundreds of other names which
differ from region to region and they are pretty ominous such as
"Jigokubana (hell flower)", "Shibitobana (dead person flower)" and
"Yureibana (ghost flower)". It is probably due to its bulb which
contains a highly poisonous substance. Also, it is often planted in
graveyards and blooms at the time of "Ohigan" which is the autumn
event to welcome ancestor's spirits.

Lycoris radiata can be seen on farm roads around rice fields. Its
strong root and stalk are ideal for reinforcing the farm roads. The
poison in the bulb can be a rat and mole deterrent as well.
Depending on how you use it, this deadly poisonous flower can be

It is possible to counteract the poison in the bulb by immersing it
in water for a long time. As it contains plenty of starchiness,
people once ate bulbs as a substitute food in the time of famine.
According to a Chinese narrative, a lord who was a researcher of
plants stored a lot of unwanted bulbs of lycoris radiata in his
storehouse. One year, there was a bad crop from dry and cold weather
but his people escaped from hunger death thanks to the bulbs.

Although lycoris radiata has always been given ominous names in
Japan, this poor flower is named beautifully in Korea, Japan's
neighboring country. The flower never blooms when the leaves grow;
the leaves never stay on the stalk when the flower blooms. From this
attribute, Korean people imagined that the leaves long for the
flowers and the flower longs for the leaves and named the flower
"Sancho" which means being in love each other in Korean
Because of the heat wave over the last couple of years, some lycoris
radiatas bloom too late for the time of Ohigan in some places. Why
don't you imagine the Japanese quaint autumn scenery with the
gorgeous red flowers blooming proudly in a pleasant breeze?

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Marie Mine

:: 2. News from JTCO

New article released!:

Jyoetsu-Crystal is taking several methods to produce glass products
such as Chubuki (Free) blowing, Katabuki (Mold) blowing, spindle or
centrifugal techniques and stretching techniques.


Translation: Namiko Murakami, reviewed by Chan Yitin

Wa-rosoku: Japanese Candle
Wa-rosoku, a Japanese candle is a handiwork carefully made by
craftsmen. Mokuro is the material for wa-rosoku, which is Japanese
wax made by crushing, steaming and condensing berries of certain


Translation: Marina Izumi, reviewed by Catherine Newman

Nihon Shishu: Japanese Embroidery
Japanese embroidery has been passed down over 1600 years.
People have embroidered on Japanese traditional dresses, robes, Noh
and Kabuki costumes as well as other various kinds of commodities.


Translation: Marina Izumi, reviewed by Catherine Newman

Copyright by Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion and
Development Organization (JTCO)- All Rights Reserved.

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