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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on August 15, 2015
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 57] August 15, 2015

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 57]
August 15, 2015
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1. Seasonal Festival:
Full moon isn't the only moon worth viewing:
"Nijyurokuya Machi (waiting for the 26th night)"

2. News from JTCO:
New article released!

1) Sugihara-gami: Sugihara Japanese Paper
2) Kawatsura Kokeshi Doll
3) Itaya Zaiku: Itaya Bark Craft

:: 1. Seasonal Festival

Full moon isn't the only moon worth viewing:
"Nijyurokuya Machi (waiting for the 26th night)"

In Japan, there is an event related to the seasons or traditional
customs from ancient times each month. September reminds Japanese of
the Japanese silver grass plant and the moon. The lunar calendar was
used until the end of the 19th century, and July, August and September
are considered the autumn season in this calendar. On 15th August (the
middle of September in the new calendar), there was a moon viewing
event which people made offerings for God with their harvest to show
god their appreciation. The Japanese silver grass was a guidepost for
god and also the moon was an object of worship. Although "Chushu no
Meigetsu (Harvest moon)" on the lunar 15th August is only the moon
viewing date today, Japanese used to enjoy viewing the transforming
moon shape day by day and they even gave them a name.

After the full moon on the Jyugo ya (15th night), the time of moonrise
gets later and viewing this moon is called "Tsuki machi (waiting for
moon)". "Jyuroku ya (16th night)" is pronounced as "Izayoi" and
it means hesitating, which describes the moon rising slowly which
looks like it is hesitating to show itself. 17th night is called
"Tachi machi zuki (the moon to wait in a standing position)", 18th
night is called "I machi zuki (the moon to wait in a sitting
position)", 19th night is called "Ne machi zuki (the moon to wait
in a lying down position)" and 20th night is called "Fuke machi
(the moon to wait for a later night). We can see that people at that
time were looking up at the sky to eagerly wait for the moon everyday.

The most well-known moon viewings in the Gorgeous city, Edo (now
called Tokyo) were "Chushu no Meigetsu", "Nochi no tsuki (13th
September in the lunar calendar - the end of October in the new
calendar)" and "Nijyurokuya machi (waiting for the 26th night,
27th July in the lunar calendar - early September in the new
calendar)". The former two moons were similar to the bright full moon
but the "Nijyurokuya machi" moon is different, it is a thin and
faint crescent moon rises after midnight. Yet western tradition says
the moon is made of cheese, Japanese imagined that a rabbit was
pounding mochi (rice cake) in the moon. But only on the 15th night,
according to an ancient myth, the usual rabbit pattern changed to the
three Western Paradise honorable figures, Amida (Buddha), Kannon and
Mahasthamaprapta (bodhisattva). It was also believed that those
figures flashed only for a second after moonrise. The people who grew
up in Edo (current Tokyo) had an excuse to have a wild drunken party
on that night in restaurants at hill or shore until dawn.

It was believed that if you pray to the "Nijyurokuya machi" moon,
your wish will come true. Many people not only in Edo city but also
many regions in all parts of Japan gathered at where they could have
a fine view of the moon such as on the levee at Eastern side and were
excited to wait for the moon on this day.

The patterns of the moon are all different depending on which
direction you look from. It looks like a rabbit pounding mochi from
Japan's direction. What do you see in the moon looking from your

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Chan Yee Ting

:: 2. News from JTCO:

New Article Released!

1) Sugihara-gami: Sugihara Japanese Paper

The greatest characteristic of Sugihara-gami is its whiteness. While
there are some bleached white papers today, Sugihara-gami has more
natural whiteness compared to those produced in other places. The
black color of "Sumi", the ink for calligraphy stands out, if you
write letters with it on Sugihara-gami.

Translation by: Mana Hara, reviewed by Marina Izumi

2) Kawatsura Kokeshi Doll

This Kokeshi is made of a single piece of wood and has unique Tegara
(hair accessories) painted on its head. They are made in many
different sizes. In addition to 6 main styles of design, you can
enjoy the difference of Kokeshis made by each craftsman.

Translation by: Aki Tobayama

3) Itaya Zaiku: Itaya Bark Craft

Itaya craft is one of Akita prefecture designated traditional crafts,
which is made in Kumoshikari District, Kakunodate Town, Semboku City.

Their characteristics are lightness, strength, and their color, which
will gradually change to beautiful amber over time.

Translation by: Aki Tobayama

+ Four more new articles were released at:

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Development Organization (JTCO)- All Rights Reserved.

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