Category Archives: Seasons

Fuyu itaru hi — Winter Solstice Day in Wosite

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Reading the Hotuma Tutaye (Hotsuma Tsutae), we find some familiar words. In Aya 28 is the word koyomi, calendar. The Tutaye says that the Takamimusuhi (Takamimusubi) in Hitakami (Tohoku) were given the task of developing a calendar for all the land. First, we note that koyomi is a word from long ago which is still used today. Secondly, this shows that there was a calendar even in those days. And thirdly, that the calendar was developed in Hitakami by the Takamimusuhi, of which Toyoke-kami was the fifth.
A great observance to honor Amakami ancestors was held in fuyu, winter. The current word for winter comes to us from Wosite times!
Aya 27 tells us that the observance was held on fuyu itaru hi, winter solstice day. The current word itaru is written  至る and its meaning is ‘arrival.’ So, winter solstice day is winter arrival day.
Winter has arrived!
 The Kanayama Megaliths, shown here in the snow, have been operating a solar calendar since Wosite times, for at least 5,000 years.
Photo of Kanayama Megaliths by S. Tokuda
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Happy New Year!

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View toward winter solstice sunrise from Asadori Myoujin (photo by Iwakage)

We at WoshiteWorld send our best wishes for the New Year beginning on winter solstice day, December 21-22. We do realize that it is summer solstice for you readers who live in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, north of the equator, since indigenous times, the December winter solstice marked the beginning of the new year.

The people of the Wosite era had a calendar, and it is described in the documents. Also, from the research done at the Kanayama Megaliths in Gifu Prefecture, we know that for more than five thousand years, the Jomon people observed the sun’s path in the sky and made a highly accurate calendar. The precise dates of the winter and summer solstices are difficult to determine by observations, but these ancient people accomplished this difficult task.

Here are two posts about the solstice by Okunomichi, and by Iwakage. There is also a winter solstice festival at Asadori Myoujin, which stems from prehistoric Jomon Japan. Perhaps the people of Wosite participated in it. The winter solstice is described in Wosite documents as the beginning of a new year and a time of renewal.

To our readers, best wishes for a happy new year!

 

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