Nature & Culture of Japan

To make your trip to Japan more interesting


What are there under the willow in Japan

Willow is a tree that grows naturally along the river. Even in riverbeds that are flooded by heavy rain, their suppleness allows them to continue to take root. I think it’s a fairly strong plant, but what we Japanese people think of willow as are ghosts and loaches.

The loach comes from a proverb. In Japan, trying to do the second time in a way that happens to work the first time is called “aiming at the second loach under the willow”. In English, I heard that “Try to catch lightning in a bottle twice”. This is absolutely impossible even to try one time. I want to  know how to express in Chinese.

As for ghosts, it seems that paintings combined with willows became popular as a talisman in the early modern period. However, I do not know the reason why the willow that originally grows in bright places was adopted. But by any reasons, we Japanese all think that the feeling of hanging branches matches the ghost and have never felt unnatural.


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