May - 皐月 -

Japanese is known as one of the most difficult languages in the world.
However, because of this, it has a wide range of expressions, and there are many "beautiful Japanese" from ancient to modern words.
Here, we would like to introduce some of the "Beautiful Japanese" selected by the KUDEN team as "Beautiful Letters."

The shape of the letters is of course beautiful, but if you know the meaning, you can feel the depth of the beauty even more.
We hope you enjoy learning Japanese language not often listed in textbooks.


Today's Beautiful Japanese



Read : Satsuki (さつき)
Daily use: Many people know


[ Meaning ]

Fifth month of the lunar calendar.


The name of May in the lunar calendar is "Satsuki".

There are various opinions on the origin of the name,
one of which is that it is an abbreviation of "Sanaezuki," which means "month of rice seedlings" because it is the month for rice planting.

The word "sa" is an archaic word for the planting of rice.
The second opinion is that May is the month of rice planting and became "sa"(planting rice)+"tsuki"(month).
It is also said that the kanji character "皐" means "rice dedicated to the gods," and thus 皐 was applied to this word.

Both reasons indicate that this was an important time for rice harvesting and a month for praying to the gods of the rice fields. 

"皐月" deeply expresses the Japanese culture of rice farming, in which people make dedications to the gods of the rice fields in the season of fresh green leaves and pray for a bountiful harvest.
The word expresses the joy of finally being able to plant rice after the long rainy season of spring and the hope for the growing harvest.

Also, many people are familiar with the famous Japanese movie "My Neighbor Totoro," and many scenes of rice planting appear in that movie, don't they?
In fact, "Satsuki" and "Mei," the main characters in the movie, are both named after the month of May.
If you take this opportunity to watch the film again, you may discover something new.