Sei Shonagon/清少納言

Hotaru (fireflies) are still around even into the late evening, although they are not so abundant. I am still captive to their little lantern lights.

Sei Shonagon in her Pillow Book, (Makura no Shoushi /枕草子) mentions them in her description of summer:


Natsu wa yoru, tsuki no koro wa sara nari, yami monaho hotaru tobichiga hitaru, ame nado no furusahe o kashi.

In summer the nights. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is!  (translation by Ivan Morris)

Some of the words in this reading are:

(夏) なつ・ natsu – summer, () よる・yoru – night, (月) つき・tsuki – moon, (蛍) ほたる・hotaru – fireflies and (雨)あめ・ame – rain

I’m finding in my research that there are variations in the text (even in Japanese!), but the main idea is still there.


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