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“Otsukimi” : An Aspect of Japanese Traditions


– Viewing The Moon –

“Otsukimi” is to enjoy viewing the moon, such as the full moon.

“Otsukimi” is definitely one representative of Japanese Traditions.

Imagine a full moon is shining in the night sky. 

It is mysterious and beautiful.

Sometimes, it is beyond the words !

Several weeks ago, we were able to see a Supermoon. 

This is the first time for last 18 years. 

A “Supermoon” is the coincidence of a full moon (or a new moon) with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit。

We Japanese call the full moon nearest the September equinox “The Harvest Moon : Chushu no Meigetsu” (A beautiful full moon in the middle of the Fall) because August of the old calendar is right in the middle of fall.

We also call it “Jyugoya” (15th Night) because at the night of the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar, a full moon beautifully appears !

It should be Sep. 8th in the solar calendar for this year.

In Japan, we have a custom to enjoy viewing “A Harvest Moon”.

It is considered to be brought to Japan from China between the Nara period (710 – 794) and the Heian period (794 – 1185). 

In old days, “Otsukimi” was a event exclusively for the Nobles. 

They enjoyed composing poems in a boat while admiring the moon reflected on the cup and water of the pond.

It is too cool !!!

In “Edo period” (1603 – 1868), ordinary people started to enjoy “Otsukimi”, too.

In your country, do you have such a custom to enjoy viewing a beautiful full moon in fall ?

Let’s enjoy “Otsukimi”, one of Japanese Traditions !


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