Friday, January 29, 2010

The Moon: Man, Rabbit and Eyebrows

I saw today that tonight's full moon will apparently be the biggest and brightest of the year, so in honor of that here are a few interesting facts about the moon and Japan:

-Unlike many other mythological systems, in Japan the Sun was believed to be a woman and the Moon a man, her brother. "Amaterasu (oomikami)" 天照大神 and "Tsukuyomi (no mikoto)" ツクヨミ, as they were known, had a huge fight at one point and Amaterasu moved as far away from him as she could get, to the other side of the sky. The photo shows his shrine in Kyoto.

-The patterns on the moon's face: Whereas you might have grown up hearing about the "man in the moon", in Japan the patterns on the moon are often said to be a rabbit.

-"Bigetsu", 眉月 an old name for a slender crescent moon, means "eyebrow moon."

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