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Mariko Sensei's Corner: A Monthly Japanese Language Column

October 01, 2020

Mariko Sensei's Corner: A Monthly Japanese Language Column

​​“Otsukimi”​ ​Moon Viewing

Otsukimiis a custom to enjoy the beautiful full moon of mid-autumn also known as the Harvest Moon. This year, it happens tonight, October 1st!

Since ancient times, the moon has been sacred and important to Japanese people. It is often featured in art and poetry. In addition, the various phases of the moon were essential to farmers to refer and make decisions on what to do.

Over 1000 years ago, it became popular among the nobility to appreciate the mid-autumn moon with sake, poetry and music in their gardens or boats. They would enjoy the reflection of the moon on the water and in their sake cups.

Later, otsukimi became popular among Japanese people as an event to also give thanks to nature for the harvest by offering the seasonal crops such as pampas grass, yams and rice dumplings.

Although this custom is disappearing in households, people still hold events in shrines and temples with beautiful gardens and music etc. to appreciate the moon.

Tonight, why don’t we wrap ourselves up and step outside to see the moon and feel that we are all held by the magical moonlight? We all have been looking atthe same moon since ancient times.

Trivia: Japanesepeople say you can see a rabbit pounding mochi on the moon. Can you see it?