Minazuki – June in Lunar Calendar in Japan

June 1, 2011 Juju Kurihara Japan, Vocabulary 0 Comments

In Japanese, Minazuki is written as ¨the month with no water (水無月)¨. (mizu) means water, (nai) means there is none and (tsuki) means months in this case. However, June is a month of rain in Japan. So how come it´s a month with no water? Is it a sarcasm?

No. Actually this (read as ¨na¨ in the word ¨ minazuki ¨) doesn´t mean ¨nothing¨ but works as a preposition ¨of¨. Therefore Minazuki means ¨the month of water¨.

minazuki flowerBefore the Gregorian calendar was introduced to Japan, the 6th month of the year was called Minazuki and it was a month of starting to fill the water into the rice fields. By the way, June in the lunar calendar corresponds to between the end of June and the beginning of August in the Gregorian calendar.   

This is Minazuki flower, scientific name, Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora', kwon as PeeGee in English.



Minazuki is also the name of summer sweet in Japan which is eaten on the 30th of June. This day is the middle of the year and people eat this sweet by the meaning of purification of all the bad things in the first half of the year and of a prayer for all the best in the rest of the year. 

minazuki sweetThis is made of steamed rice cake and on the top sprinkled azuki beans. Azuki beans imitate crushed ice but also these beans are believed to protect us from the bad spirits. The triangle shape of the rice cake also imitates the shape of ice block. 


Now most of the part of Japan has entered Tsuyu (梅雨/ rainy season of the year). The first and a strong typhoon already attacked Japan. We are expecting rainy and stormy summer this year.

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