Hole (ana) and hibernating animals

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Hole (ana) and hibernating animals

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


Many animals hibernate in winter, which means they go into a hole before it gets too cold and come out again when it gets warmer.

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There are other expressions for hibernating (toomin 冬眠), here we are only concerned with the
hole (ana 穴). 

Let us look at some kigo in this context.


kigo for mid-autumn

. ari ana ni iru 蟻穴に入る(ありあなにいる)
ants going into their holes

. kawazu ana ni iru 蛙穴に入る(かわずあなにいる)
frogs going into their holes
frogs start to hibernate

. tokage ana ni iru 蜥蜴穴に入る(とかげあなにいる)
lizard going into his hole
lizard begins to hibernate


kigo for early winter

. kuma ana ni iru 熊穴に入る / くまあなにいる
bear entering the den to hibernate


When the animals come out again, the kigo reflect that it is now getting warm and there is the joy of springtime.

kigo for mid-spring

. ari ana o izu 蟻穴を出づ (ありあなをいづ)
ants coming out of their hole
.... ari ana o deru 蟻穴を出る(ありあなをでる)
ari izu 蟻出づ(ありいづ) ants coming out (again), ants emerge

. hiki ana o izu 蟇穴を出づ (ひきあなをいづ)
toad coming out of its hole

..... hiki ana o deru 蟇穴を出る(ひきあなをでる)
hiki izu 蟇出づ(ひきいづ)toad coming out

. kuma ana o izu 熊穴を出づ くまあなをいづ
bear coming out of the den
..... kuma ana o deru 熊穴を出る(くまあなをでる)

. tokage ana o izu 蜥蜴穴を出づ (とかげあなをいづ )
lizard coming out of his hole
..... togake ana o deru 蜥蜴穴を出る(とかげあなをでる)
tokage izu 蜥蜴出づ(とかげいづ) lizard coming out

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Bungo and Koogo 文語 と 口語

With verbs, we have the problem of
"written literary, classical language" (bungo 文語) 
spoken colloquial kogo language (koogo 口語).

To bring this over in a translation is quite difficult.

To express the fact that an animal is coming out of its hole/den ... we have two expressions

izu 出づ the literary form
deru 出る the colloquial form

Tradtitioal haiku were mostly written in bungo, but nowadays, especially withe the Gendai movement, there are quite a few using colloquialisms or local dialects of Japan.


ants out of a hole —
when did I stop playing
the red toy piano?

Fay Aoyagi, 2006

. Discussion at THF, January 2011

Related words

***** . WKD : Animals in Winter  

***** . Verbs used in Haiku


1 comment:

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Mizuhara Shūōshi (Shuuooshi) 水原秋桜子 Mizuhara Shuoshi .
hiki naite Tooshoodaiji haru izuko

a toad calls -
at temple Toshodai-Ji
where has spring gone ?

The toad comes out in early spring to lay eggs, and goes back to hibernation.
Then in late spring toward early summer, it comes out again.

MORE about the temple