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Fight with ‘devil’ will eventually end, bringing in spring’s warmth

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In old Japan, the term “ume no hana” (ume Japanese apricot blossoms) meant “hakubai” (white ume blossoms) not “kobai” (red ones), according to Naoto Yoshikai, an expert on Japanese literature.

To support this assertion, Yoshikai referred to a poem in Kokin Wakashu (Collection of Japanese Poems from Ancient and Modern Times), an anthology of “waka” poetry completed in the 10th century.

Haru tateba/ hana to ya miramu/ shirayuki no/ kakareru eda ni/ uguisu no naku (Now that spring [the first day of spring by the lunar calendar] has come, does he mistake them for flowers, the warbler singing among branches deep-laden with mounds of snowy white flakes?)

It was composed by Sosei Hoshi, a Buddhist priest who died in 910.

The poet likened snow piled up on ume tree branches to........

© The Asahi Shimbun