Japanese 24 Seasons -Risshun –

February 7, 2020 Juju Kurihara Culture, Entertainment, Language, Vocabulary Tags: , , , , , , 2 Comments

Now Setsubun has finished and the day after, the 4th of February was Risshun (立春). It’s written as 立, to stand and 春, spring and means, the spring begins. 


The image of spring, at least for me is, fresh green sprouts are coming out of the trees, the wind becomes mild and in case of Japan, uguisu (鶯/Japanese nightingale) sings. 



In the reality, February is the coldest month in Japan and it’s the best season to ski. Then why ancient people decided this time as spring? 


It seems to come from the expectation, longing for spring, according to a buddhism teaching. The wish to become warmer reached the peak during this coldest time. 


Let’s have a look at Shichiju-ni kou (七十二候/72 seasons), which divided Nijushi-sekki (二十四節気/24 seasons) into three. Risshun lasts two weeks, from the 4th of February till the 19th of February. Here, you can see how much expectations people would have for spring to come in three emotional levels.  


     – 4th-8th February: 春風解氷, Harukaze Koori toku means “the spring wind comes soon and the thick ice will start to melt"

     – 9th-13th February: 黄鶯睍睆, Uguisu naku means "Japanese nightingales will start to sing soon!"

    -14th-18th February:魚上氷, Uo Koori wo noboru means "the fish jump out of the cold water where the ice is broken!"


It’s been grey and rainy for some weeks here in Berlin and I can relate to the ancient people longing for warm sunshine in spring. But we are almost there. Please keep yourself warm.




Buddhism J : https://www.buddhism-j.com/2017-2-4rissyun

Risshun 2020: https://sk-utorix2.com/331.html


Calligraphy: Sosekido 




  1. Beth Parkhurst 3 years Reply

    Thank you for the lovely post on the coming of spring.

    In Ireland, home of my ancestors, spring traditionally begins on the first day of February. Snowdrops, tiny white flowers which can bloom in the snow, may appear in February. Snowdrops are associated with St. Brigid, whose feast day is February 1st. St. Brigid is identified with the pagan goddess Brigid.

    So in Ireland, as in Japan, people can see spring coming in February, even though the ground may be covered with snow.

    • Juju Kurihara 3 years

      Thank you for sharing a beautiful story. Now I feel closer to the Irish culture. A few Irish people that I know, they are all warm people. 

      Probably ancient Chinese as well as Japanese actually saw the signs of spring in the snowed nature. 

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