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Art 絵画/ 建築

Fu-ro-siki 風呂敷 [3 Iroha poem]

Iroha poem is printed on this furosiki. You begin from Right to Left, of course from top to bottom. It includes all 47 hiragana so that each of them represents a phonetic utterance (sounds) in the Japanese. [note 1] No letter is repeated. Since its existence (11 century) there have been several interpretations on context and about who created. Sure very very mysterious poetry. There are even encryption theories.
Here, outlined English explanation →

160918 Furoshiki a-1
100% cotton. square size : 105 cm, perhaps most popular size
Iroha Hiragana en Kanji
contemporary hprizontal way of writing.
Left: hiragana. Right: hiragana conbeined with Kanji

The way of writing is traditional Japanese vertical mode, namely ''top to bottom'' and ''right to left'', while we do nowadays ''left to right, top to bottom'' which is horizontal mode as same as European alphabetical order. Both vertical and horizontal methods are taken since Meiji period (1868~). The former is adapted mostly for daily life, however, the latter is used in paticular for Japanese/Chinese languges dictionaries, ancient articles by shrines/temples and many cultural oppotunities.

160918 Furoshiki a
How to wrap things by number of methods.

160918 Furoshiki b-1-

Hereabove plants are illustrated, all of them are herbs which has been used since ancient time in Japan. European herbs are often named xxxxxxx officinalis, officinale and officinarum as scientific species name (Nomenclature system by Carl Linnaeus). It means such a plant was officially recognized as medicine and used for treatment by doctor/hospital in human history. These Japanese herbs may have 'officinalis' too. There could be common herbs in both far West and far East.

160918 Furoshiki b
How to wrap a little complicated forms

IMGP scarf 1 53x52
This one is pretty colorful, say fashionable with beautiful patterns, and looks like a half transparent furoshiki. Its size : a square of 53 cm, maybe handy for carrying small thing. But this is in fact a kind of scarf for women, or probably handkerchief. I got a set of four design variations from my home country in order to give someone as gift. Who can use it in Netherlands, no idea. [note 2]

160918 Furoshiki col a-1 b-1

Back to these furoshiki. ↑ Iroha poem and herb illustrations. They are a set of two real furoshiki. Why do such mysterious poetry and ancient medicinal plants are combined?

[continued] Fu-ro-siki 風呂敷 4 [Herb & Iroha]

1. It may be said Japanese alphabet. For example, American alphabet has 38 letters, and Latin or Greece or Arabian alphabet systems are own their numbers of letters. Referance: German alphabet children song that I learned nearly four decades ago in southen German when stayed a couple of months.

2. To wipe nose with cloth-handkerchief, in case of cold in the nose, is/was an European habit in ordinary life. People does/did use same cloth repeatedly in a day. Can you dare to do so with such beautiful handkerchief? (today therefore paper's one (^_^))

Art 絵画/ 建築

Fu-ro-siki 風呂敷 【2 (8+8≠16 but 88)】

【8+8≠16 but 88】 You understand this formula don't you! Three parts, namely 八,+,八, make together a kanji 米 which means Rice→ Kome in Japanese. That's why 8+8=88. Eighty eight years old means the age of Rice which is the important fundamental food in Japan. [note 1]
Reimo Nobu 1-2
米寿 Nobu Yasuda. At a good day in Showa 58 (1983), She is my grandmother on father side (1895-1985).

There are 9 double numbers between 0 and 100. No reason not to celebrate at any point on double numbers if you like, for example 11, 33, 55 and 99. Folks would like to take opportunities as to make fun whatever it is. I beleav Japanese does get most of them, however majority of them seems to know only 88s celebration. 米寿→ rice-celebration → Bei-ju. Bei is phonetic pronaunciation of Kome.

Reimo Nobu 1

It is a sheet of Furo-shiki, floor cloth in bathroom, although the word has been nothing to do with bathroom since Edo period. This case is an announcement that she became 88 years old and we celebrate her from hart. This blue cotton furoshiki is thus a symbol or message, but at the same time was one of gift in order to wrap other gifts that ware given to guests on the celebration.

江戸風俗史 01

daily customs and seanary in Edo (Tokyo) in Tokugawa period. ↓ how to carry Furoshiki. There are many sizes as you see. Materials were silk, cotton and linen, nawadays high-tech fibers too.

江戸風俗史 02

A typical Dutch kitchen cloth 60 x 60 cm.
It may be an alternative furoshiki.
IMGP Dutch kichen close 60x60 1

I have just tryed it as furoshiki, of course, result shows a very beginner's work. Tsutsumi kata 02-2
Two examples look like professional work. So should it be.

1. Farming, rice cultivation is to have begun in the Yayoi era.

Art 絵画/ 建築

Fu-ro-shiki 風呂敷 [1 Shodo 書道]

A message from my father / mother. I forgot in which circumstance they made it. My father trained his mind by calligraphy at his seventies. Around a circle there are four Kanji located and with two kinds of stamps.[note 1] Such a circle may be quite significant. A line is closed itself and got a circle, I guess. Then it can be a symbol by means of sixties years aniversary. I'm not sure, maybe wrong. [note 2]

Reimo Toshio 1

Originally such square cloth seems to have been used in bathroom. The noun Furoshiki was found in Edo period (1603-1868), means literally Floor Cloth in Bath-space. You need such floorcloth in public bath to keep and indicate own property (cloth) that you lie before getting in hotwater, or in parsonal bathroom to dry wet foot near bathtub.

Toshio Shodo 00

Calligraphy culture was introduced from China to Japan together with Kanji (Chinese letter) in Yayoi period, approximately dated 300 BC to AD 300. A proverb with 4 letters 心廣體胖 ↑ is favourite for my father. [note 3] This is one of his latest work before he was taken in 100% caring instituut, according to my mother. His calligraphy artistic pseudonym 田潤霖[note 4] was presented by his Chinese master when they ware in Peking (Beijing) in 1940-43. He was enthusiatic to learn Mandarin (the chief standard Chinese) conversation. He spoke good Mandarin in Peking's daily life.

Toshio Shodo 04
Calligraphy tool that I had kept till now are today found on bookshelf in attic. Left: writing portable set for travel before the appearing pencil and fountain pen. Replication/souvenir product.

Toshio Shodo col 01

Shodo is in Japanese as Calligraphy. This collage is my father's practice. His saying : this is one of daily activities that I want to inspire my mind in whole life. He was then over seventies, and finally to withdraw to his birth home-country, Tango.

1. Ink for stamps is red in most cases, internationally too, although black is sometimes used. In Edo-era Black ink was reportedly, in particular, for Cho-nin (ordinary citizen) class, in contrast to vermilion ink for Samurai class.
Reimo Toshio 1-2

2. Wikipedia → The number 60 means accomplishing one big circle and starting another one in one's life as the traditional 60 year calendar cycle of the lunar calendar.

3. source : Great Learning, one of the "Four Books" 四書の一つ’大学’. it says: if you have a space in both mind and body, things would go to the positive, everrything turns around in harmony.

4. 田潤霖 → 田: sir name. 潤霖 second name. Tian Yun-lin (by Chinese), Den Jun-rin (by Japanese),


Nature 雑草 フローラ/ファウナ

Butterfly = Cho cho [1]

What does the hidden part in butterly tell?
The butterfly looks cheerful and pleasant, but would be sometimes unhappy like a coin with two sides.

More than 3 decades ago, ''this is German song isn't it!!'' so noticed my girl friend when ''Cho Cho'' had been flowing from a Walkman, of course with Japanese phrases. I am far away from music. Besides It was hardly information about it at the time. No PC, no internet. She was right because meanwhile it has been discovered unknown facts.

Cho Cho 14

Akitari Nomura and Luther Whiting Mason were contemporaries. The former was born in 1819 in Mikawa Japan, a Japanese literature scholar. The latter was in 1818 in Turner, Maine USA, a music educator. The pairs might cooperate to make 'Cho Cho', a school song on Japanese music curriculum. [note 1]
Between them there was a coordinator, Shuji Isawa who was in charge of education and very young as well as all government leaders. [note 2]

Their cooperation was due to socalled Westernization of the new Japan. After regime change in 1868 from Tokugawa period, the Meiji government took a policy in order to catch up the Western developed countries by means of gaining European academic culture and technology. Therefor young officials were dispatched to Europe and USA, at the same time hired specialists from there. Thus Music genre too.

Lullabies or children's song has been existing regardless of the era or ethnicity. No names of creators both in text and melody. There have been a plenty of variations in local areas. It is a genre of the folk song, presenting each of national traits and their music sensation.

Akitari Nomura created a text about butterfly entitled 'Cho Cho', which was a kind of assembly from butterfly-poem variety in Mikawa, middle of Honshu Japan.
Cho Cho 13

His text got a melody of ''Lightly Row'' that was a popular children song in beginning 19 century, singing about ship and wave. Mason might thought the melody match to the text of butterfly. It wasn't easy to let European music rhythm suit for Japanese lyrics, I guess. [note 3]

The USA song was a version of German "Hänschen klein". Why German song? Obviously Germans took then in major stream of USA immigration. [note 4]

German original song ↓"Hänschen klein" (translated in English "Little Hans".). Lyrics by Franz Wiedemann, 1821-1882年. It's said the melody might exist before 18 century. . 

Cho Chou Haenschen klein 楽譜

In November 1881 the Ministry of Education issued the "elementary school singing Collection 1st Edition" in where ''Cho Cho'' was published at first time.
Cho Cho 10

1. Nomura (1819-1902) gathered nursery rhyme in his home country Mikawa around 1874 by order of Isawa who was then the head of Aichi-normal school (teacher training institutions).

Mason (1818-1896) taught European music to Isawa, when the young Japanese studied at Bridge-Water Normal school in Boston Massachusetts. Mason later was invited in 1880 by Japanese ministry, during his short stay in Tokyo university he made up the base in Japanese westernized music. All matters like music installments, creating music academy and its teaching method were introduced through Mason .

2. Isawa (1851-1917) contributed to Japanese education in Meiji-era. His mission to USA (1875-1878) was to research Education. Concerning music he learned it by Whiting Mason. When Isawa became the head of Tokyo Normal School in 1879, he advised the Ministry of Education to hire Mason as music educator. In 1880-1882, he worked together with Mason, in fact as coordinator or organizer.

3. Compare Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo to British God Save the Queen. Slow tempo vs European church tradition. Both make you a little sleepy, I say, and differ obviously each other on melody-line as their traits.


ken minatoya

Author:ken minatoya
Victor Westhoff(1916-2001)碑文Hij observeertからのHNを本名と苗字に先立つ屋号に変更。ウエストホフは生物フローラの相互生息環境を丹念に観察したBiotop概念の先駆者。ザザーッとフィールドを歩きつつ、こぼれ見える外史/雑人/雑草の風景


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