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Mariko Sensei's Corner: A Monthly Japanese Language Column

October 22, 2020

Mariko Sensei's Corner: A Monthly Japanese Language Column

“Momiji”​ ​Autumn Leaves

Momiji means “the leaves turning color (red, yellow etc.) in late Autumn” or “the Autumn leaves”. Japanese maples are called “kaede” and also “momiji”. They turn streets and windows into color palettes!

Japanese people love appreciating the beauty of Nature which keeps changing moment by moment. They are moved to see the leaves aflame in stunningly beautiful colors, shining before the leaves fall. They admire momiji in many forms such as art, crafts, kimono, and food. Japanese maples are often used for decorating dishes.

Here is a famous poem from about 1000 years ago.

Storm blows, Mimuro mountain’s momiji becomes a brocade on the Tatsuta river.

*Mimuro mountain = sacred mountain in Nara prefecture *Tatsuta river = famous sight for momiji

This poem was appreciated like a picture postcard in the old times when there were no photos and people couldn’t travel freely. People enjoyed spiritual travels freely. Autumn is also a reading season. It would be fun to pick a book and take an imaginary trip like we did as a child!

Here are some words with momiji.

momijigari momiji no tobari momiji gasane momiji no yôna temomiji manjyû

momiji viewing curtain of momiji

color layering - front: red, back: green (or scarlet) children’s little, cute hands
pastry shaped like a Japanese maple leaf