Nihon - Japan


nihon, nippon  日本 Japan

- quote
(Japanese: 日本 Nippon or Nihon; formally 日本国 Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, literally "[the] State of Japan")
is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which together comprise about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. Japan has the world's tenth-largest population, with over 126 million people. Honshū's Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


. waga kuni 我が国 / わがくに / 我国 my country, my province .
with more haiku by Issa

- - - - - Some synonyms to express JAPAN

日本(にっぽん) 日(にち) ジャパン 日本国 大日本 大日本帝国 日東
皇国 Kookoku / 倭国(わこく) Wakoku /  扶桑 Fusoo
大八洲(おおやしま) Ooyashima /  瑞穂(みずほ)の国  Mizuho no kuni /  豊葦原(とよあしはら) Toyoashihara /  皇御国(すめらみくに) Sumeramikuni
母国 祖国 国内 内地 

. Akitsushima 秋津島 "Island of the Dragonflies .

source : web.kansya.jp.net/blog
Map of Japan in the Edo period 江戸時代の日本地図


- - - - - H A I K U - - - - -

The price of rice has fallen so low that lower-class people are experiencing many hardships.
This is a situation people in other countries must envy.

nippon no soto-ga-hama made ochibo kana

fallen rice grains
cover all of Japan
up to its northern tip

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku is from the 12th lunar month (January) of 1819, the month before the beginning of the year evoked in Year of My Life. Issa's headnote, translated above, is found just before the hokku in the posthumous anthology of hokku published by Issa's followers in 1829, where the hokku is given precisely as it appears in Issa's diary. As the headnote makes clear, falling rice prices in recent years have been hurting rice farmers, who have to pay very high taxes and find it difficult to survive on the small amount of profit they get from selling the extra rice that they don't consume. The rice harvest of 1818 was particularly good, so at the time the hokku was written the market is glutted and rice prices are falling. Farmers have more rice than they can sell and store, and, according to Issa, even in the far north of Honshu -- Japan's northern border at the time, an area not known for its great harvests -- farmers don't bother to go out and collect all the stray grains of rice that have fallen to the ground during harvesting.

Normally farmers glean very carefully for all the grains of rice that fall to the ground at harvest time, since each one is precious, but this year fallen rice grains all over Japan just lie on the ground rotting. There may be some indirect criticism of the shogunate here for failing to take steps to stabilize the rice market and protect farmers from the year-to-year fluctuations in rice crops. There is also sadness and irony as Issa both praises Japan and criticizes it at the same time.

Some Japanese commentators have called this hokku ultra-nationalistic, but their criticism is surely beside the point. Issa says people in other countries probably envy Japan for its good rice crops, but he also implies that they, too, like Japan's ruling class, would like to see farmers exploited and unable to share in the bounty. Issa may think that the ships from various countries that have been landing in Japan in recent years and asking for trading rights envy Japan and want to exploit it. Only a few months before, in the summer of 1818, the British ship Brothers landed in Uraga, south of Edo/Tokyo, and strongly asked for trading rights, only to be rejected. Many Japanese, including no doubt Issa, had heard about the dangers of colonialism, and most did not believe that the foreigners who arrived in Japan had benign intentions. Issa does have several hokku praising peace in Japan, but the present hokku is not a simplistic assertion of Japan's superiority over all foreign nations.

Chris Drake

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .


. Japanese Architecture - cultural keywords used in haiku .



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