The school Sosekido (素石堂) was formed by my sensei, Unkotsu Komine (小峰雲骨) many years ago. I was 13 years old when I first met him, and it was the beginning of my long-time calligraphy path.

Japanese Old Name of the Month-February

February is the shortest month of the year. It’s flown for me. How was it for you?

February is the second month and has a different name in Japan. It’s Kisaragi (如月). This is a name in the lunar calendar and it was in between the end of February and early April. 

The origin of the word Kisaragi is believed to come from different theories.

One, related to how people dressed: Put layers of clothes is 衣更着, also read kisaragi because of the cold became the name of the month. 

Two, related to the weather: In February in the lunar calendar, it was getting warmer and sunnier. People named kisaragi from the word 気更来 (kisaragi). 

Three, related to the growth of the plants: It was the season of 生更木 (kisaragi), when the plants grow before spring. 

Four, the feeling of spring to come: 来更来 (kisaragi) means the spring is coming. The beginning of April, there must have been cherry blossoms bloomed back in time too. 

Five, related to sprouts in spring. The trees would have green sprouts ready to open and people would call this month, 草木張り月 (kusaki harizuki), the month of stretching. Kisaragi could have been a short version of this word.  

The Kanji, 如月 was adopted from the Chinese version and pronounced as Nyogetsu or Jogetsu.


This work is available at the “shop“.

Written by: Juju Kurihara