Microseason: fish through ice
The Japanese art of regenerative living
【 February 14–18 】
Sub-season: First of Spring
Microseason: Fish Through Ice
February is filled with interesting holidays worldwide isn’t it? One example of that being Valentine’s Day. In exploring more, its connotations are quite brutal and bloody. Eventually, associating to agriculture and creation of harvest and family.
In Japan, the holiday to note in February is not only Valentine’s Day and Setsubun, but also “Foundation Day”. But what is the beginning of Japan anyway? The “founding” of Japan didn’t happen in a formal way that it did it most countries. It wasn’t a result of war, or two regions merging. This holiday is based on legend.
It’s the legend of Jimmu. He is said to be the direct decedent of the Amaterasu Oomikami, the Sun Goddess, and took to the position of first Emperor of Japan in 660 BC. The current Emperor Naruhito is said to be the direct decedent of Jimmu. Making Naruhito the 126th Emperor. And as such, Japan is known to be the oldest continuous “monarchy” in the world.
The story for Emperor Jimmu is told in Japan’s oldest texts from the 700s, the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. However, this isn’t the only legend of the beginning of Japan. Depending on the region of Japan, a different tale has been told through the generations. Usually these tales coincide with the flora and fauna, the unique landscape or climate of the region.
All to say that we are made of stories. Our politics, economy, education system are all based on what we believe. Church and state are separate, yes. And there is much positive reason for us to try to keep each in silos. Yet the reality is there is a whole lot of grey. And anthropologically speaking, this is the most interesting part. Where mythical legends and bank holidays intersect.