Sunday, January 3, 2016

Carpe Diem #890 Shoukan (less cold)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I don't know for sure how to bring this prompt. I can't say that I am that familiar with the classical Japanese kigo, but I will give it a try. In nature (especially on the Northern Hemisphere) January is the coldest month of winter and in Japan they have nuanced it. In Japan you have Daikan (great cold) and Shoukan (less cold).

In Japan there are a lot nuances in winter and I love to share their ideas here with you. Shoukan(less cold) fall on the 15th day after Touji(winter solstice). It is on about January the 6th. Kan(cold season) continues from Shoukan to the day before of Risshun(the first day of spring). So they (the Japanese) refer to the period of these 30 days as Kan-no-uchi(midwinter) from Kan-no-iri(beginning of midwinter) to Kan-ake(the end of cold season). Daikan(great cold) is on the 15th day, around January 20th after Shoukan. It is by far the coldest through the year. It is wrong to refer to these 15 days between Shoukan and Daikan as Shoukan. Either Shoukan or Daikan shows only one day of the twenty four designated seasonal days.

Winter in e.g. The Netherlands is mostly, starting to become cold, December; very cold, mid-winter, January and last but not least, February is less cold and spring is near.

Credits: Epiphany (Dutch website)

Okay ... Shoukan (less cold) is the first part of January and I wonder ... how do I catch that in haiku? Maybe I have to use that date, January 6th, in it. Maybe you know that January 6th is as we call it here in The Netherlands, Driekoningen (or Epiphany) it refers to the story of Jesus Christ birth. Here is my haiku inspired on Shoukan (less cold):

deep frost
skating in bright sunlight -
wise men on their way

© Chèvrefeuille

Hm ... not a strong one, but I think it's a great scene to go with Shoukan (less cold).

This episode is Now Open for your submissions and will remain open until January 6th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, our first CD-Special of this month, later on.


  1. Interesting, yes, I remember all the paintings with people skating on ice. All frozen here though we were at -20C....I think your haiku can be interpreted in different ways, and in fact, that may be another new haiku to pursue. I know you covered the deeper meaning, but I think the idea that a haiku could deliberately mean something different for each reader is also least for me.

    I met an interesting Japanese guy here recently, who really enjoyed haiku, though said he did not write them - "it is too difficult to write haiku, because they are very simple" he said. I think he is right, and finding that simplicity in people's haiku is not always easy. So simple, and yet....

  2. Happy New Year to Host Kristjaan and all the members of Carpe Diem; i chose to lunk up today not for the Shoukan(less cold) theme, but rather the underlying 'days in-between' aspect

    Hope you enjoy my post today

    much love...

  3. I like your deeper meaning tucked in your haiku. I went light on this haiku - my snow shovel helped.
    Thanks for all you do Kristjaan.
    Stay warm even on those not so cold days.