A YEAR IN TOKYO

or 

72 microseasons

in the ancient calendar of Japan

 

he traditional Japanese calendar marks the passing of the seasons and changes in the natural world through the names given to different times of year. There are 24 major divisions, or sekki, from Risshun (Beginning of spring) in early February until Daikan (Greater cold). Originally taken from Chinese sources, these are still well-known around East Asia.

The 24 divisions are each split again into three for a total of 72  that last around five days each. The names were also originally taken from China, but they did not always match up well with the local climate. In Japan, they were eventually rewritten in 1685 by the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai. In their present form, they offer a poetic journey through the Japanese year in which the land awakens and blooms with life and activity before returning to slumber.

 

Feb 4-8

East wind melts the ice

 

東風解凍
Harukaze kōri o toku

 

黄鶯睍睆
Kōō kenkan su

 

魚上氷
Uo kōri o izuru

 

土脉潤起
Tsuchi no shō uruoi okoru

 Feb 24-28    Mists start to linger

Feb 24-28 

Mists start to linger

霞始靆
Kasumi hajimete tanabiku

 March 1-5   Grass sprouts, trees bud

March 1-5

Grass sprouts, trees bud

草木萌動
Sōmoku mebae izuru