Talk:Japanese calendar

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Yamara 14:45, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Lots of redundancy[edit]

There are several redundant lists and tables maintained for Japanese holidays and festivals. There is a list at the Japanese festivals article as well as a table at the Holidays of Japan article. This article (Japanese calendar) contains a list and a table for Japanese national holidays, and a list for Japanese festivals. Other redundancies seem to exist in this article. —Tokek 17:01, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

About the merger idea[edit]

Usually for each country, there is a "(Country)" article with a "History" sub-section, while there's also a separate "History of (Country)" article that is usually linked from the country article with a "See also... for more details" link, so maybe some level of redundancy is OK and good on Wikipedia as long as it's maintained properly. The Holidays of Japan article has a benefit of being concise without mentioning the other miscellaneous aspects of the Japanese calendar as it is done in this article (Japanese calendar). The Holidays of Japan is listed under the w:Category:Public holidays by country category. —Tokek 09:28, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

I am not against having duplicate information. For example, each month article like January has the name of the month in Japanese. However, currently both Holidays of Japan and Japanese festivals are fairly short, and they have overlaps. We can also add w:Category:Public holidays by country to this article, when the articles are merged. -- Taku 21:35, May 20, 2005 (UTC)
It is probably best to keep the list on the Japanese calendar page to only the "official" holidays, and a few of the large, nationally celebrated festivals, such as Tanabata. Then Holidays of Japan should be merged into Japanese festivals for a much large list that would include regional festivals, religious festivals, etc. The Japanese festivals page would, of course, include all the holidays mentioned on the Japanese calendar page. BlankVerse 04:51, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

I am not sure why. Clearly, National Foundation Day is not a festival, for one. I don't think Tanabata is a festival; it's more like an important date like Easter. Some people do celebrate that day, but some others don't. The fault is that Japanese festivals, despites its name, currently don't talk about festivals in Japan per se and more like annual events, which I think should be in this article. -- Taku 05:42, May 21, 2005 (UTC)

Well I am probably biased because I was recently contributing to the Holidays of Japan page, but if you think merger is a good idea, then maybe it is. I just cleaned up a bit on the Holidays section of the Japanese calendar article. —Tokek 06:52, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Update: I've incorporated essential content from Holidays of Japan to this article and think that page is ready to be turned into a redirect page. What do others think? —Tokek 23:36, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm in favor of a Holidays redirect to this calendar page. 09:09, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

As I said on the festivals page, I don't think it's a good idea to merge the festivals page with this calendar page. A lot can be written about Japanese festivals such as types of matsuri (mikoshi, parades, ceremonies, etc.), the history, and religious roots. You can write books about Japanese festivals. However, if you only want to include festival dates in Japanese calendar, no problem. But you have to decide which festivals to include. I would put priority on festivals/observances (separate from national holidays) which are celebrated on the national level such as hatsumode, hanami, obon, setsubun, shichigosan, and omisoka. Then perhaps includes dates of the most famous festivals like Kyoto Gion Matsuri, Aomori Nebuta, Fukuoka Dontaku, Sapporo Snow Festival, etc.

Dates I'd like to see on this page:

  • National holidays (done)
  • Popular national observances (which are not national holidays) like hatsumode, hanami, obon, etc.
  • Dates of major festivals (also explain that some festivals still abide by the lunar calendar)
  • Foreign holidays popularly celebrated in Japan (Chinese New Year's, Valentine's, Christmas, etc.) but not observed officially
  • Academic year dates
  • Vacation periods (New Year's/winter, GW, obon, etc.)
  • Other significant dates (April 1, etc.)

This page also needs a History section explaining the history of the Japanese calendar (ie, lunar calendar) before the Gregorian calendar was adopted. 09:09, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I am not against to have a separate dedicated to the way how Japanese people celebrate maturi and such. And I cannot think of who would. There are a lot that can be said about this; like clothes, music, food etc, etc. And those are clearly outside the scope of this article. I suggested a merger because there is (was?) a overlap. I guess the problem is that it is not clear (at least to me) the scope of Japanese festivals. Obviously, merely listing holidays and seasonal days creates the same page as this. -- Taku 09:28, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)


  • I added the rokuyō since they're still a fairly important part of the Japanese calendar (and are mentioned on the Japanese-language version of the page). They probably deserve their own article if someone has time.
  • Removed the line about shiwasu being the only month name still in use, wasn't sure what that was supposed to mean ... none of these 12 months are in "official" use, but most Japanese people could probably name most of the months anyway. I'm not sure why shiwasu was singled out.

CES 06:12, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Sekki and Zassetsu table[edit]

Currently the 24 Sekki and Zassetsu days are combined into one table, sorted chronologically. Should this list be split into two tables (Sekki table and Zassetsu table), remain merged, or should MORE days be merged into a single table (e.g. Sekki + Zassetsu + Sekku + festivals + National holidays + etc. etc.)? What do people think? — Tokek 19:22, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Tables are a nuisance to edit. Do they add any value to the article, or could the article be just as good without them? Fg2 20:59, Jun 7, 2005 (UTC)

Whether it be tables or lists, I was wondering about which groups of dates should be combined or separated. If Sekki and Zassetsu days were separated into two lists/tables, the information can be presented in a more minimal fashion because I wouldn't have to specify the type (Sekki or Zassetsu) for each entry. If there were benefits to combining the groups however, we should see if we should merge all types of dates.
Some benefits of tables are that it can reduce clutter, improve legibility, and display the same amount of information (date, kanji, romaji, type, comment) without having to take up as much vertical space as lists would. Plus Wikipedia tables are easy to maintain once it is set up -- often times cells are simply separated by " || ". For reference: WP:HTUT#When_tables_are_appropriate.
Tokek 23:24, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
What is your preference? I myself like to split the table. It looks cluttered now, and I don't see much need to have two kinds of date are put in one list. If no one opposes, I can go ahead spliting. -- Taku 23:34, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)
I only kept it merged because that's how it was before I made edits, but I don't mind if the table/list were to be split. I also have split versions already on my PC, so I can use that. I have both a split table version and a split list version. —Tokek 04:40, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Since no one seems to oppose, I think you can go ahead spliting. -- Taku 22:50, Jun 10, 2005 (UTC)
I went ahead and split it. W.r.t. tables versus lists, I see it as a tradeoff (one side has benefits the other side doesn't and vice versa) and I don't have a strong position on it. —Tokek 00:52, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)


24 Sekki is decided according to solar movement, and not fixed to day. (unsigned)

The current version notes this.—Tokek 19:22, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This entry lists the names of the months and holidays, but doesn't talk about the historical Japanese calendars that were adopted from the Chinese calendar and used before the Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1872.

Here is a good website that explains the history of the Japanese calendar:


I question the explanation given for this month (though it is a good one), since 師 doesn't mean "priest." It can mean "master" or "expert" as well as "teacher," but I was taught that this specifically referred to teachers. Anyone? Exploding Boy 17:46, Jun 13, 2005 (UTC)

Someone else [1] has already done some internet research on this. S/he lists about a dozen etymology theories found, and favors one of them: because "shihasu" appears in Man'yoshu, spelled as 十二月 with furigana シハス, 師走 must be a later ateji invention. S/he also points out how other theoreis have elements that sound fishy or have inherent contradictions. —Tokek 20:08, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That's certainly possible, but it doesn't really answer my question. 師 still doesn't mean priest. Exploding Boy 20:14, Jun 13, 2005 (UTC)
[2] word 1 def 2 says religious leader. However words can change in meaning and usage with time. —Tokek 00:43, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thanks. Exploding Boy 00:51, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)

More Rokuyou[edit]

I added a little more info about Rokuyou. My first edits, so hopefully I didn't screw anything up.

GaryKac 02:54, 19 November 2005 (UTC)


So, the term for this Japanese calendar (as opposed to the Western calendar Seireki), is "Wareki", right? I rarely see this term used, but "nengo" only refers to each imperial reign, does it not? Evan1975 01:34, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Nanuka, kokonuka[edit]

These spellings were added to the article as alternate names of nanoka and kokonoka. However, these two look like mis-romanizations of previous non-phonetic spellings used before WWII. —Tokek 11:55, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

They are romanizations of なぬか and ここぬか, which are still widely used pronunciations, especially in Western Japan. There are also listed as independent entries in kokugo dictionaries without notes to the effect that they are dialect. Given they that are common in conversation, they should remain in this article. What a "non-phonetic spelling" is, I have no idea; care to explain? Best regards, Jim_Lockhart 13:12, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
I have never heard of these pronounciations in Kanto or Kansai regions, however they do appear in dictionaries. Don't know why I didn't catch this fact before. Non-phonetic spelling: I was referring to pre-WWII historical kana usage. As hepburn is meant to be phonetic, if these were romanized directly, it would be an error.—Tokek 19:46, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Future Japanese dates[edit]

Please help resolve the issue raised in Talk:Heisei#Future Japanese dates. `'mikka (t) 15:26, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Fire horse[edit]

Is there anything on the great 1966 Fire Horse superstition (I can't find anything)? If so, it should be linked from here; if not, something should be added here... AnonMoos 17:36, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

P.S. See , , etc. AnonMoos 17:46, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Traditional calendar[edit]

This is a nice article, but I'm amazed there's no article on the traditional Japanese calendar. Admittedly, most or all of the content is already on Wikipedia, but it's split between Chinese calendar, Lunisolar calendar, and nengo, and doesn't exist in any single coherent article. LordAmeth 19:10, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Armand Baar, La Reforme du Calendrier, 1912, states that Japan adopted the gregorian calendar in 1909. Is this correct? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:43, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

No. The Gregorian calendar took effect on Jan. 1, 1873 (Meiji 6), the day after Meiji 5, 12m/2d. Look up the date on NengoCalc and you will see the Japanese and western dates are the same.--Stone-turner (talk) 01:57, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Need verification of traditional month names[edit]

I have a book (Japanese and English) about Japanese culture and it talks about the traditional month names, but its translations contradict what's being mentioned here. For example, the translation for minazuki (水無月) is listed as "no water month", and mentions nothing about the ateji meeting cited in the article. If there is a different etymology, the translator may simply have missed it, but what concerns me is that this Wikipedia article doesn't cite sources of the etymology listed here. So at the moment, I am inclined to side with the book, unless someone can back up what's in the article with a good citation. --Ph0kin (talk) 16:47, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

If you look at the edit history for Minazuki and 神無月 you can find this problem has come up before. Actually, lots of etymologies have been suggested for the various months. For Minazuki and 神無月both the na= "not" and na = "of" theories exist. See the Japanese Wikipedia articles for 6月 and 10月for some of the more standard theories. I looked up Minazuki in three regular Japanese dictionaries, including the 大辞林, and they all give "Mizu no tsuki" as the meaning, so that is obviously the standard explanation.--Stone-turner (talk) 09:26, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, you've done your homework. Can't argue with that. No complaints from me then. :) --Ph0kin (talk) 05:44, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

kisaragi/kinusaragi means "change clothes"?[edit]

I'm confused, in the 2nd month of the lunar calendar it says kisaragi/kinusaragi means "change clothes", but change to what? Are they putting on warmer clothes because it's a cold Winter or are they starting to wear Spring clothes? - Rolen47 (talk) 15:05, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

The article Kisaragi has a bit more explanation. If you feel it would be helpful to add more explanation to Japanese calendar, please feel free. Fg2 (talk) 15:20, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
The spring equinox was in the 2nd month of the lunar calendar, so if it has anything to do with clothes, presumably they are starting to wear spring clothes--Stone-turner (talk) 11:54, 30 July 2009 (UTC)


the correct spelling of the the word moon is "getsu" not "gatsu" please check your source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Both moon and month have the same character 月 which when used by itself is normally read "tsuki," the "kunyomi." But in many (not all) combinations it uses some Chinese reading (onyomi). Like very many characters, it has more than one onyomi, but which one you use depends on the word it is in--you cannot change back and forth freely. For 月 onyomi are getsu, gatsu, gachi, and gochi. The standard names of the months all use -gatsu. "Ichigatsu", etc. It doesn't matter how common getsu is, Ichigetsu, Nigetsu, etc. are wrong. But in other combinations that use the Chinese reading, getsu is normal, as 今月 kongetsu (this month), 月給 gekkyuu, monthly salary. I don't know of any use of gochi, and gachi is extremely rare.Stone-turner (talk) 03:54, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Rokuyô again[edit]

This section doesn't give any sources. In this case this is a problem, because it contradicts most online sources that turned up during my research on the subject. The paragraph gives a brief summary on how to determine, which day of the month is which rokuyô-day as follows: The first of January is senshô, the second of February is tomobiki and so on. This is IMO apparently wrong, for two reason: Firstly, according to this system the 1st of April will always be butsumetsu (the unlucky day). However, the 1st April (according to the section right below rokuyô) states, that April 1st is THE most important day in the japanese calendar. Secondly, if the aforementioned logic error doesn't convince you, there are also known alternative ways to determine which day of rokuyô any given day is, through a mathematical equation or purely by extrapolating from a day of which the rokuyô-day-type is known, by counting. Both do not and cannot correlate with the presented system. So an expert on the topic should either revise the paragraph according to his/her expertise or find a reliable source. (As I also may, of course, be horribly wrong, in which case I apologize to the person who wrote the paragraph in the first place.) -- Xander.v.D. (talk) 23:14, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Note that what the article says is Lunisolar January 1 (i.e. 旧暦1月1日), is senshô, etc. It is determined on the basis of the "old" calendar, not the current calendar. So the lunisolar "April 1" is not the April 1 of the next section, which is of course the Gregorian calendar. Rokuryô was not a standard divination method and did not become popular in Japan until after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, so the connection with the calendar is hidden. You said "there are also known alternative ways to determine which day of rokuyô any given day is, through a mathematical equation." Does this mean a given day in the Gregorian calendar? What is this mathematical formula? Stone-turner (talk) 03:40, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

"first/second month" etc,[edit]

According to the article, "The modern Japanese names for the months literally translate to "first month", "second month", and so on." I would like to ask whether the numerals in 一月, 二月, 三月 etc. are truly ordinal numbers as this statement implies. (talk) 02:29, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

There is no clear distinction between cardinal and ordinal numbers in Japanese like there is in English. That is your question, isn't it? Very literally it would be "one month," "two month," "three month," etc. But not lengths as "one month," "two months," "three months," etc., which are expressed another way. Whether a number is ordinal or cardinal is an English problem, not a Japanese one. Translating today's date of 平成24年 6月13日 3時 as "Heisei twenty-four year, six month, thirteen day, three hour" is hardly good English. You have to use ordinal numbers in English. "Three o'clock the 13th day of the 6th month of the 24th year of Heisei."Stone-turner (talk) 03:18, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

What about the ordinal number prefixes and suffixes, such as 第, 目 and 番? There are lots of Google hits for 第一月, for instance, which I would have guessed literally meant "first month". No? (talk) 17:31, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, 第一月 is literally "First month" or even more literally "Month number 1," but "第一の月 (dai-ichi no tsuki)"is also a translation used for "the first month." There is just not any one-to-one correspondence between English ordinal/cardinals and Japanese forms. The 3rd day of the month is mikka 三日, the third day of an arbitrary starting day is mikka-me 三日目, three days is mikka kan 三日間. Three months is san-ka-getsu 三ヶ月.
This year is 平成24年 (Heisei 24 nen [year]), the word "nen" is obligatory. Is the 24 ordinal or cardinal? For you, I automatically translated it above as an ordinal, "the 24th year of Heisei," but if I were talking in English with someone who knew Japan well I would say, "Now is Heisei twenty-four." --Stone-turner (talk) 12:43, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Introduction and History sections[edit]

At present the introduction reads "The Japanese calendar was officially established in 1873 when Japan |adopted the Gregorian calendar." This sounds like Japan had no official calendar before, which is clearly wrong. Also, strictly speaking, the Gregorian calendar was not adopted till 1898, so the introduction needs to be rewritten.

Another problem, which has been in the article for a long time, is that it does not distinguish between calendars in the strict sense, a system of determining months and years, as the Julian, Gregorian, Chinese-type calendars as the Jokyo calendar, etc., with year-naming sysmtem, as AD/BC, Selecod Era, naming by consuls, sexegenary cycle, era names, etc. For example, the Julian calendar has been used with many year-naming systems. In East Asian history, historians often use AD/BC with the Chinese calendar, while now Japan uses the Gregorian calendar with era names, so some distinctions are necessary.

I will try rewriting and slightly expanding those sections.Stone-turner (talk) 07:00, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

In the context established at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section, can we not agree that "the page title should be the subject of the first sentence"? In re-writing, we understand that decisions about adding citations are developed on a case-by-case basis. Questions and consensus about removing inline cite support are sometimes important. --Ansei (talk) 15:05, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't mind starting the article with "Japanese calendar" as the subject. But what are you thinking of by an "unofficial system"? The only one that I could find was the AD year count, which is not official (though certainly recognized). The other year systems and the calendars were officially established.
I don't have any trouble with citing Bramsen. But I think it would be best to avoid quoting the Japan Encyclopedia. The calendar article just has too many confusions, and how can one know if the information quoted from it is right or wrong? To name a few errors, it says dating from Jimmu was abandoned in 1873, while it was made official that year. The cycle was around long before 604--see Bramsen. Also there are earlier artifacts with the cyclic year written on them. There are ten stems ("jikkan"), not five. On the next page, he says eras now start on January 1, but they are definitely not retroactive. He seems to think "Kigen" and "Kôki" refer to the era system. He says September is "Kyûgatsu", not "Kugatsu." So, it is better not to cite it. By the way, Ansei san, you might be interested in the Encyclopedia's article on the "Ansei no Taigoku". Also, if you are into the Meiji period, an unusual take on Meiji Tennô in the article on him. Stone-turner (talk) 02:37, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Please notice that changes in inline cites here were made because of your concerns. In the opening paragraph, a popular online source has been married with Bransen. The word "unofficial" is verified because explains that "various features of the lunar calendar remain intact in today's Japan", including kichijitsu. The words "official and unofficial" are also supported by the sources cited in the articles which are in the Japanese calendars navbox at the bottom of the page.

I think I understand your complaints about the Louis-Frédéric work, but I wonder if each so-called "error" might be explained as a mis-reading? For example,

  • You write "... seems to think "Kigen" and "Kôki" refer to the era system."

    Louis-Frédéric's sentence is "The word kigen (or kôki) is used to distinguish the date of the era from the date on the Gregorian calendar." Japan Encyclopedia also has an entry about kigen here which presents greater detail. The "confusion" you encountered in this sentence is not enough to convince me to abandon the 1000+ pages of this book.

EXAMPLE showing kōki as "used to distinguish the date of the [Imperial reign] era from the date on the Gregorian calendar."

According to Eric Lacroix. (1997). "Table A.2. Japanese Dates," Japanese cruisers of the Pacific War, p. 700, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) used the Kōki system for identification. For example,

  • The IJA's Type 92 battalion gun was called "ninety-two" because its design was completed in 1932; and the 2592nd year since the first Emperor of Japan was 1932 (Kōki 2592).
  • The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was called the "Zero" because it entered service in 1940 (Kōki 2600).
Although I may not agree, I have no problem accepting your view that Louis-Frédéric's "calendar article just has too many confusions". For this reason, the Louis-Frédéric cite has been removed from the first paragraph. However, the Japan Enclcylopedia is still cited in the "History" section and the "Days of the week" sub-section. I hope this appears reasonable to you.

I agree with you that it is always valid to ask "how can one know if the information quoted from it is right or wrong?" As I understand Wikipedia:Five Pillars, we start with an assumption that each sentence in Japan Encyclopedia is correct because, in part, the book is published by Harvard University Press. If there appear to be any error, mistake, misprint, etc. -- or questions -- then we try to resolve all issues by cross-checking other reliable sources.

I hope you can agree that we are "on the same page" -- that is, we have the same information and we are thinking the same way. --Ansei (talk) 18:56, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, there is an obvious mistake in the entry for "Ansei no taigoku" in Japan Encyclopedia. Yes, I cannot explain "the first to be purged was Ii Naosuke"; however, I think the lead sentence and the remaining subordinate clause are helpful summaries of a complex subject. --Ansei (talk) 20:33, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for taking out Japan Encyclopedia from the introduction. But in the History section, that calendar article does not seem to support any statement about the Kôki system. In fact, the only thing he says about it, is that counting years from Jimmu was abandoned in 1873. So I took it out. Though a number of sources talk about use of Kigen in 1940, it was hard to find a source that says it was abandoned after WWII--it seem to be taken for granted--but I finally did, so I put it in.
As to kugatsu/kyûgatsu for 九月, I glanced through the link you gave for "kyûgatsu". Many of the 193 examples were duplicates (such as the 6-syllable haiku line "kyûgatsu no hi" for 九月の日), and many of the rest pointed out that "kyûgatsu" is wrong. In any case, I looked up 九月 in three standard Japanese dictionaries, and they all gave "くがつ (kugatsu)" as the only reading. So Kyûgatsu is definitely wrong.
"The word kigen (or kôki) is used to distinguish the date of the era from the date on the Gregorian calendar." In the rest of that paragraph he uses "era" to mean "nengô," and he does not say anywhere in the article what "kôki" is. One would have to assume that he meant "era" in this sentence also to refer to nengô; certainly the reader would assume so. It looks like he found the sentence somewhere and not knowing what it meant assumed it was talking about "nengo" and put it here. Just because he got it right one place does not mean he understood it here, as he often has contradictory material in various articles. Much of the book seems reasonable, but it is peppered with errors, and then you have shockers like the statement that Aso -san killed hundreds of people when it erupted in 1979; the Japanese Meteorological Agency says three were killed [3]. It is too bad the book is so unreliable.Stone-turner (talk) 09:27, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

How many days a month last?[edit]

How many days a month last? -- (talk) 23:12, 1 August 2015 (UTC)