Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Carpe Diem #220, Taue (Rice Planting)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

An all new episode of Carpe Diem to prepare ... a joy to do and no struggle. I love what I am doing and I am so happy that you all like this daily haiku meme. By the way I will use our temporarily linking widget from now on every day. Only for the daily haiku challenges, for the other features such as "Oasis", "Tan Renga" and Imagination I will stay to the old widget provided by Simply-Linked. I am really pleased with our new linking widget, because now I acn publish the new episodes earlier which granted you all some more time to write your own haiku.

Today we share haiku on our next mid-summer kigo, Taue (Rice Planting), I remember that I had a same looking prompt in one of our other Carpe Diem months, but ... well ... to me not a problem and I hope it's not a problem for you too.

Tanada Wadakita (c) Gabi Greve

Rice is the most important food item in Japan. In olden times, it was eaten three times a day.The Emperor, embodying the god of the ripened rice plant, plants the first rice of the spring and harvests rice from the plants of the autumn. In one of the most solemn Shinto ceremonies of the year the Emperor, acting as the country's chief Shinto priest, ritually sows rice in the royal rice paddy on the grounds of the Imperial Palace.
The Grand Shrine at Ise is closely related to the rice culture of Japan, with its own rice fields for ritual purposes and a "sacred dining hall" for the deities.

Grand Shrine of Ise

The Japanese lifestyle and rice cultivation are deeply associated with one another. Of particular significance is the process known as taue in which rice seedlings growing in the nursery are replanted in the paddy fields. Although events associated with this rice planting can be found all over our country, the festival at the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is unique for its reproduction of the rituals in faithful observance of ancient procedures in such a grand ceremonial style.

First, the paddies are tilled by oxen, which is a scene you rarely come across today in large cities. The main attractions of the rituals are the spectacular dance performances and songs. Dancing is believed to enhance the vitality of the grains. People living in the remote past used to believe that powerful spirits dwelled inside the rice seedlings that were to be replanted in Mother Earth. Outside the paddy fields where the women sing as they replant the seedlings, all kinds of performances are given one after the other. In addition to a dance performed by women wearing kasa (braided hats) adorned with flowers, there is a procession of samurai warriors clad in full armor.

I have found a wonderful video of a rice planting festival (or ritual) which I love to share this video hereafter. This festival takes place on the first sunday of June, according to the classical calendar that was mid-summer.:

Isn't it wonderful? Well ... I think I have told enough about rice planting and everything which belongs to that important food of Japan.

I have also looked at a few 'rice-planting' haiku and I found the next one.

saiden no minorishi ine ni kama iruru

in the fields
with ripe rice plants for the Gods
the sickle is used . . .

(c) Takezaki Shisen 

Or this one by Issa in which he describes a foreigner, most likely that was a Dutchman, because the Japanese and Dutch people are more then 400 yrs friends.

karabito mo mi yo ya taue no fue taiko

a  foreigner watches
the rice planting too...
flutes and drums

(c) Issa

Credits: Rice planting

By the way that last photo I have retrieved from a worldwide organization which is 'fighting' for natural rice and against genetically engineered rice. They are also 'fighting' for rightworthy sale of rice.

OK ... let us do some haiku composing ...

over the paddy
resonates a sweet song -
rice planting girls

sowing rice plants
source of food for thousands
while singing a song

Hereafter I share a traditional rice-planting song or Tauebayashi Song.

Well ... this was it for today I think. I hope you enjoyed the fun, the read and the haiku. Be inspired and share your haiku with Carpe Diem. This prompt will stay on 'til June 14th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our next episode in our 'trip' through the classical Japanese kigo, Hotaru (Firefly), later on today around 10.00 PM (CET).



  1. I willingly admit that daily haiku writing along with reading and commenting on others works is a bit much for me...apparently, it is not for so many others....Thanx for the music from these videos - it is lovely and haunting and steeped in ancient traditions, just like rice tea...

  2. Beautiful work, Kristjaan. I loved how you caught the very atmosphere of rice planting in your words. :)

  3. Thank you for a wonderful illustrative post, Kris. I enjoyed the rhythm of the rice planting music. I wonder what is being sung?