June (rokugatsu)

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June (rokugatsu 六月)

***** Location: Japan, worldwide
***** Season: Mid-Summer
***** Category:Season


Haiku rokugatsu in the Edo period relates to the climate of present-day July,
but some festivals are dated in our present-day June.

. . Names of Japanese months and their meanings . .


rokugatsu 六月 (ろくがつ) sixth month, june
rokugatsu kuru 六月来る(ろくがつくる)june is coming
rokugatsu kaze 六月風(ろくがつかぜ) wind in the sixth month


June――Blessings of Water
By Inahata Teiko

Rice sprouts begin to be planted in the field, and then the rainy season has come. So June makes a strong impression of water, don't you think so? Thanks to a blessing of water, fields and mountains are covered in fresh greenery, and surrounding scenery gives us a sign of summer. In the seasonal words we can find many seasonal flowers at the water's edge and so do the animals in the water.

Not only we adapt our life to high temperature and high humidity of this season and cope with such a season but also we take a step forward and find out joy under this circumstance, and furthermore enhance our life to enjoy refined tastes. So we feel refined daily life through such seasonal words as sanaeburi (feast after rice-planting), kawagari (fishing with rounding up in the river), yoburi (fishing at night with light), aosudare (a green reed screen), touisu (a ratten chair), fusuma-hazusu (taking off a fusuma, sliding door), misogi (purification ceremony).

I think that our mentality, as well as daily life and events, has a connection with such high temperature and high humidity. For example, we can never talk about the fundamental idea of Buddhism, reincarnation, without knowing the circumstances of high temperature and high humidity of India, where the dead body returns to the earth, in which plants grow thick and under which the animals live. This idea is utterly different from that of Judaism and Christianity, which originate in such a dry land where the dead body is easy to mummify and the dead are promised to ascend to heaven by God through the Last Judgment.

It may be due to blessings of abundant water that we Japanese soon forget everything, saying, "Let's let bygones be bygones", or have an inclination not to pursue the responsibility thoroughly, and that those who should be blamed are purified and forgiven by misogi 御祓(禊) .

© Inahata Teiko


Japan in June

June 1: First day of Ayu (trout) season
Ayu are sweetfish and this is a major day for catching them. Fishing for the ayu is strictly controlled to preserve their numbers so the opportunities for catching them are quite limited. The exact starting date for fishing can vary and the length of the season for catching them can also vary depending on the area of Japan one is in.
The oldest poetry written in Japan- the Manyoshu- from the 8th century has some poems about fishing for ayu.

Catching them is an unusual task. In the U.S. we bait our hooks with worms and related critters or put fish flies on them; in Japan in order to catch an ayu you use an ayu. A live ayu has a ring attached to its nose and a hook to its belly. The ring is attached to the fishing line and the fish is cast into the water. Since the fish has a strong territorial instinct another other ayu will attack the first fish, thinking it is invading its territory. The attacker gets caught on the hook and reeled in.

June 4: Cavity Prevention Day
Various activities are held by the Health and Welfare Ministry to get people, especially young children, to take better care of their teeth. This can even include department stores having dentists come in to give free checkups and consultations.

Mid-June: Peiron-Dragon Boat Race
This is a Chinese custom that was adopted by the city of Nagasaki which housed the Chinese trading missions during the Edo Period (1603-1868). The race is similar to those held in Hong Kong, Thailand and Okinawa.
The boats themselves are long, requiring both skill and strength, and there is a strong sense of competition among the participants.

First Sunday of June
Chiyodacho, Hiroshima. The Mibu-no Hana Taue ceremony with special rice-planting songs.

Mid-June: Sanno Festival
This particular shrine goes back to 1478 (consider; this is some 14 years before North American was "discovered" by Columbus!) when it was built to ensure good fortune during the construction of the Edo castle.
This is another time when portable shrines are used. Originally the shrines were moved through the Edo Castle itself and viewed by the shogun. Today it has become a regular parade through Tokyo with hundreds of people taking place.

June 24: Izawanomiya Otaue Matsuri
Izawanomiya Shrine, Isobecho, Mie rice festival with boys 5 to 6 years of age dressing as women and playing a loud drum.

Third Sunday: Father's Day
This is another holiday imported from the United States. It is not as widely adhered to as Mother's Day, though. Gifts are given to fathers and can include such things as belts, wallets and neckties or things the child or children make themselves.

Misc. items
This general period of time is also noted for other activities, although these do not necessarily occur on any specific date.

1. It is the opening of the pool season. Swimming is an important part of the physical education program of schools and 75% of Japanese middle schools have their own pool. (How many schools of any kind in the U.S. do you know with their own swimming pool?).

2. Rice planting: This is roughly the time that rice is being planted with various rituals and celebrations throughout Japan.

3. This is also roughly the start of Japan's rainy season called tsuyu. It is a time of considerable discomfort as temperatures are rising and the humidity is high. There is little sunshine and children get bored being indoors.

Japanese Festivals of all months
January .. .. February .. .. March .. .. April .. .. May .. .. June .. .. July .. .. August .. .. September .. .. October .. .. November .. .. December


Worldwide use

Southern Hemisphere, Tropics ...
Adjustments for each region must be made.

Calendar reference kigo

Things found on the way


rokugatsu ya mine ni kumo oku Arashiyama

the six month -
clouds are laying on the summit
of Mount Arashiyama

Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉

. Arashiyama 嵐山 "Storm Mountain" .


rokugatsu ya
kigo shuushuu mo
ame no naka

t'is June !
collecting kigo
all in the rain

Gabi Greve, June 2006


chilly June night ...
the moon disappears
under thick clouds

Catherine Njeri, Kenya
June 2009


june showers -
keading to pothols on
tarmac, terrific

june drizzle -
woman under leaking roof
with soaked clothes

june showers
green pasteurs blossom
goats satisfied

Gideon Gichamba, Kenya
June 2009

Related words

***** Calendar reference kigo


. . . . SUMMER
the complete SAIJIKI





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