Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A seasonal safety tip from the silk industry

Thundershower at Tateishi
Woodprint by Takahashi Hiroaki (Shotei), 1871-1945

In connexion with the silk industry, the chief celebration is that of the “God of Hailstones”, when in May the farmer resorts to the village shrine to petition protection of his precious mulberry trees from the dreaded scourge. 

These trees are believed to be always immune from lightning, and a man caught unprotected in the open in a thunderstorm has only to call out “Kuwabara”, i.e., “I am in a mulberry grove”, to ensure the prophylactic benefits of the tree invoked. 


Quoted from Walter Weston, A Wayfarer in Unfamiliar Japan, Methuen & Co, 1925

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