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24 solar terms and 72 pentads. 1Sekki Risshun  1-3 Ko

2022/02/03  07:00

二十四節気七十二候(24 Sekki and 72 Ko)

「Japanese lunisolar calendar ; Japanese microseasons」

Each solar term(二十四節気) is divided into three pentads (七十二候).
Each pentad consists of five or six days, and are mostly named after biological or botanical phenomena corresponding to the pentad.

24-1 立春 Risshun  (Beginning of spring)

February 4

First spring.

The day between the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the vernal equinox, the day when day and night are the same length.
In modern Japan, according to the observations of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, "the day to which the moment when the solar ecliptic reaches 315 degrees belongs" is set as the beginning of spring.

February 3, the day is Setsubun(節分).
Setsubun is the division of the seasons.
The day before Risshun (the begining day of spring), Rikka (the begining day of summer), Risshu (the begining day of autumn), and Rittou (the begining day of winter) is Setsubun.

From ancient times, it was believed that "evil will occur" at the turn of the season.

Among them, the day before Risshun, is a special day.
In old Japan, the New Year began in spring.

We throw away beans with saying
"Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!
( Ogres, get out! Happiness, come on in!)."

Oni is ogre ,demon, and evil spirts.

This is called "Mame-maki" (Mame means beans, maki means throwing away.)

Some people decorate their house entrances with sardine heads and holly branches.
They want to protect their houses from the Oni.

In this way, we can welcome a good New Year and the beginning of spring.

72-1 東風解凍 (East wind melts the ice)

February 4–8

Spring winds thaw the ice.

Harukaze kōri wo toku

東風 Higashi-kaze; Tou-fu; Kochi ; Gochi ←East wind
春風 Haru-kaze; Shun-pu ←spring wind

It is the time of year when the warm spring breeze blows from the east and the frozen water begins to melt.

72-2  黄鶯睍睆 (Bush warblers start singing in the mountains)

February 9–13

Kō ō kenkan su
黄鶯(こうおう) 睍睆(けんかん)す←鶯(うぐいす)啼く

The nightingale sings.


The yellow warbler is a warbler with bright yellow feathers that lives in China and Southeast Asia.
It is larger than the Japanese bush warbler and has a completely different call.
In China, yellow was revered as the color of the emperor.

A different name for the Japanese warbler is the spring bird. 春告鳥。

It's the time of year when the warblers begin to sing and we feel the arrival of spring.

72-3  魚上氷 (Fish emerge from the ice)

February 14–18

Fish rise from the ice.

Uo kōri wo izuru
魚(うお) 氷をいずる


This is the season when you can see the shadows of fish under the ice and fish jump out of the cracks in the ice.



Japan’s 72 Microseasons

In ancient times the Japanese divided their year into 24 periods based on classical Chinese sources. The natural world comes to life in the even more vividly named 72 subdivisions of the traditional Japanese calendar.