Japanese 24 Seasons -Seimei-

April 9, 2020 Juju Kurihara Culture, History, Language, Lifestyle, Vocabulary Tags: , , , , , , 2 Comments

On the 4th of April, a new Nijushi-sekkiSeimei (清明) has started. This is the fifth season of the year and lasts until the 19th of April. 


The word Seimei is made of two characters, 清 (kiyoraka), clean and 明 (akarui), bright. As you can imagine, this is the season of “everything is clean and vivid”. 


There is a book called "Koyomi Binran" (暦便覧), which was published in 1787 and explains the seasons. In this book, Seimei is defined as:

    – This is a clean and pure season when all the plants sprout and we know now what plants they are.




Seimei is a national holiday in China and people go to visit their family cemetery. In Japan, Okinawa has the same tradition and it’s called Shimi (シーミー). Okinawan people visit the cemetery and eat mochi or pork dish with their ancestor’s spirits. The traditional tombs in Okinawa are surprisingly big and look like real houses, so whole family can visit and have a meal together. 






I know it’s a difficult time but enjoy this freshness of the spring as much as you can. 





Kotobank: https://kotobank.jp/word/%E6%B8%85%E6%98%8E-86524

Ikedanaoya: https://bit.ly/2V8aaRT

Boxil Magazine: https://boxil.jp/beyond/a5568/

Koyomi: http://koyomi.vis.ne.jp/doc/mlwa/201204130.htm




  1. David A. Victor 3 years Reply

    What a lovely overview. Thank you for sharing this.

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