TECH & CULTURE

A Year in Japan - Minatsuki

By Staff Writer
June 30, 2022
In modern Japanese, the months of the year do not have specific names, but are simply numbered based on their order in the year. In traditional Japanese, however, the months were known by a names that reflected things that happened during that time of year. In some cases, several different names were used, depending on the part of Japan or the context it was being referred to. This month, we will look at the sixth month of the year, which was traditionally known as Minazuki (水無月).

Even though Minazuki is the sixth month in the traditional Japanese calendar, it is actually in July in the current solar calendar, since the traditional Japanese calendar is a lunar calendar.

Each Kanji charactes carries a meaning here. means water, means absence, and means month. There are several theories regarding the origin of the name of this month. One theory says that Minazuki came from "minashi tsuki," which means "All the farming work is done." Another says that Minazuki came from "mina nezuita," which means all the rice sprouts planted in the fifth month has beeen rooted. Also, there is a theory that Minazuki came from "mizu no tsuki" that means the month of water" because it is the time when farmers pull the water to their rice fields.
A bush of minatsuki flowers
These flowers, called Minazuki, also bloom during the month of Minazuki.
Minazuki has several other names. One is tokonatsuzuki(常夏月) , meaning the month of summer all the time. It is also called kazemachizuki (風待月), the month to wait for the breeze, narukamizuki (鳴神月), the month of thunder, and mizumachizuki (水待月), the month to wait for the water.
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