|sci.lang.japan FAQ / 12. Numbers, counting, and dates|
Japanese has names for the months, but these have fallen into disuse. The month names, when used with the old-style Japanese calendar, don't correspond to the modern months, which are equivalent to January, February, etc., but to the old-style lunisolar calendar (kyureki) months based on the moon. (See 12.6. What Western dates correspond to what Japanese dates?) Thus the eighth month is "falling leaves" (nearer to September) and the sixth month is "no water" (nearer to July).
In the original lunisolar calendar, there was also an extra "leap month" which was used when the year needed to have thirteen rather than twelve months, to keep pace with the seasons. See 12.6. What Western dates correspond to what Japanese dates?
|Old name (romanized)||Old name (kanji)||Meaning of old name||New name (romanized)||New name (kanji)|
|Mutsuki||睦月||Month of harmony||Ichigatsu||一月|
|Kisaragi||如月||Month of wearing extra layers of clothes||Nigatsu||ニ月|
|Yayoi||弥生||Month of growth||Sangatsu||三月|
|Uzuki||卯月||Month in which unohana (卯の花) blooms||Shigatsu||四月|
|Month of planting rice sprouts||Gogatsu||五月|
|Minazuki||水無月||Month of no water||Rokugatsu||六月|
|Fumizuki, Fuzuki||文月||Month of letters||Shichigatsu||七月|
|Hazuki||葉月||Month of leaves||Hachigatsu||八月|
|Nagatsuki||長月||Autumn long month||Kugatsu||九月|
|Kannazuki, Kaminazuki||神無月||Month of no gods. Called kamiarizuki (神在月) in Izumo (Tottori prefecture) because the gods were said to gather there.||Jūgatsu||十月|
|Shimotsuki||霜月||Month of frost||Jūichigatsu||十一月|
|Shiwasu||師走||Month of busy priests||Jūnigatsu||十二月|
|Uruuzuki, Jungetsu||閏月||Leap month|
From NAKANO Yasuaki:
It has been very popular in Japan to name the months by numbers. Months in the old calendar had their own names, such as Mutsuki, Kisaragi, etc., but these names appeared only in novels, poems or literary expressions. I think the official documents called months by numbers (in very ancient ages they might have been named using the Chinese zoological sequence).
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