Crab (kani)

. Legends about crabs .

Crabs (kani)

***** Location: Japan, worldwide
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Animal


There are many different types of crabs in the waters of Japan. Some are kigo for winter, see below.

Here we list a few summer kigo:

crab (usually the very small ones, which are rarely eaten) 蟹

shore crabs, hamagani 浜蟹

sand crabs, sunagani砂蟹
... salt water species (Ocypoda stimsoni)

sea rock crab, isogani, 磯蟹
rock crabs, iwagani 岩蟹

Benkei crab, benkeigani 弁慶蟹
..... named after Benkei, a hero in the legends arount Yoshitsune.

river crabs, kawagani 川蟹

mountain crabs, yamagani 山蟹
... found in small mountain rivers, species Potamon

swamp crabs, zawagani 沢蟹, 澤蟹
... quite a delicacy ! Potamon dehaani
mud-legged crabs, doroashi gani 泥足蟹

small crab, kogani 小蟹
hidden crab, kakuregani 隠れ蟹
red-handed crab, akategani 赤手蟹 (あかてがに)
wandering crabs, blue crab, watarigani 渡り蟹
... swimming crab, gazami ガザミ

crab eggs, kani no ko 蟹の子
crab foaming, kani no awa 蟹の泡

..... .....

sand-digging crab, sunahori gani 砂堀蟹
... a mole crab, but not part of a haiku saijiki


pickled crab, kanizuke 蟹漬


Swamp crab, Zawagani

© www.choraku.co.jp/teien.htm

This kind of crab even lives in our drinking water tank outside in the garden. It is proof that the water is clear and fresh.

Gabi Greve


Crabs in kigo for Winter

Queen crab, zuwaigani, ズワイガニ / ずわい蟹 (ずわいがに )
... Pacific snow crab
Chionoecetes opilio


Also called:
Crab from Echizen, Echizengani 越前蟹
Pine crab, matsubagani 松葉蟹

A type with very large legs, up to two meters long. An expensive delicacy in the winter season. There are special bus tours from Tokyo to special fish markets on the Sea of Japan, just to taste and then by these crabs.

First Catch of the Year, November in Toyooka, Hyogo


King Crab, tarabagani 鱈場蟹
ship for processing these crabs, kani koosen 蟹工船

They are usually found in fishing grounds of the cod (tara) in Northern Japan.

Kanikōsen 蟹工船
novel by 小林多喜二 Kobayashi Takiji

Takiji Kobayashi 小林 多喜二 K
( December 1, 1903 – February 20, 1933) was a Japanese author of proletarian literature. He is best known for his short novel Kanikōsen, or Crab Cannery Ship, a short novel published in 1929. It tells the story of several different people and the beginning of organization into unions of fishing workers.
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Worldwide use


Les crabes (kani)
Quand on parle de crabe dans un haïku, on sous-entend les jeunes crabes de l'été, qui sont très visibles à cette période de l'année. Par contre, en tant que fruit de mer, les crabes sont souvent consommés en hiver. Les crabes sont dotés d'une paire de pince et de quatre paires de pattes, et leur carapace très solide leur donne une apparence invulnérable.

Kani no kuru
Tokoro ni ono wo
Oku kuriya

Dans la grosse caisse
Où sont rangés outils et haches,
Un crabe se cache !



USA, Chesapeake Bay

crab (callinectes sapidus Rathbun) —
Maryland's official crustacean, and a favorite food the Chesapeake region. Male crabs are 'jimmies,' female crabs are 'sooks.' Hardshells are crabs with hardshells, softshells are crabs that have shed their shells and have not yet hardened the new shell. Peelers are crabs just about to shed their shells. Crabs can be fished for using hand lines or crab pots. Chicken necks are a favorite bait.
For more info,

work boats from Ewell,
scrapers on Big Thoroughfare,
Soft Crab your cities.

Harry Armistead, US
Previously published in 'Chesapeake Bay Haiku,' Audubon Naturalist News, Feb, 2002.

crab boat —

crab pot —
A trap used for catching crabs and ultimately derived from the Native American method of crabbing. Crab pots are submersed and tied together with arope and marked with small buoys. Boaters must keep an alert eye to avoid fouling their propellors with them.

crab shack —
A warm weather restaurant serving crabs and little else. A shack houses the kitchen and may have screened porches around it with picnic tables, it will also have open air tables. The tables are covered in newspaper for a tablecloth and the steamed crabs are dumped directly onto the newspaper. Crabs are broken open with wooden crab hammers and picked apart with the fingers and eaten.

crabbing —
Watermen typically spend winter oystering and summer fishing for crabs . Crabbing is also done recreationally and crab feasts on the beach are a favorite form of picnic.

Contribution of M. Kei, US
Editor of the Chesapeake Bay Saijiki

Things found on the way

. Heikegani 平家蟹 Heike crabs, Heikea japonicum .


Japanese English Ocean Dictionary


matsu no ne ni kani katamuite itarikeri

there -
at the root of a pine
there hangs a crab
Noro Shunmin 野呂 春眠
(Tr. Gabi Greve)


my beach walk
little carbs run
light as breeze

john tiong chunghoo

Related words

***** World Kigo Database : Fish as Kigo


Crab dishes 蟹料理 in Japan

WASHOKU ... Japanese Food SAIJIKI


. Legends about crabs .


- #kani #crab #krabbe -



brett brady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brett brady said...

between waves...
the crab and i staring
across time

-brett brady

Narayanan Raghunathan said...

sand-crabs shift
in and out of the ocean ~
twilight sky on sand too

fotos of Heikegani said...

okuribi ya dochi e mo mukanu heike-gani

bonfires for the dead--
in every direction
Heike crabs

Kobayashi Issa
(Tr. David Lanoue)

Gabi Greve said...

蟹満寺 Kaniman-Ji, Kyoto
with legends and a bronze Buddha statue
123 kani legends to explore

Gabi Greve said...

Kani and Mizunokami legends

Gabi Greve said...

People who believe in 金毘羅権現 Konpira Gongen think that crabs are messengers of Mizunokami.
When they make a wish, they stop eating crabs until it is fulfilled. Some have never eaten a crab in their whole life.

. Konpira Daigongen . 金毘羅大権現 .

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Gunma 群馬県
みどり市 Midori city 笠懸町 Kasakake town

. daija, orochi 大蛇 the huge serpent, great snake - legends .
A wealthy man named 赤堀の道元 Akahori no Dogen had a daughter of 16 years. She went to Mount Akagisan 赤城山, jumped into the swamp and became a huger serpent.
Her friend, who did not dare to go back home, also jumpee in and became kani カニ a crab. The water has been clear since then.
In rememberance of her death, the family goes to the swamp to pray and bring offerings of sekihan 赤飯 red ritual rice and sake 酒 rice wine in a juubako重箱 food box with many layers. The box usually sinks down to the bottom and later comes up, all empty.