Tanabata Terror!

Noooo! I was just going to write a little article for the local Shire of Cum an Iolair newsletter about the Tanabata festival. I figured I’d mention a few period celebratory practices, and of course I want to cite where I found them. Problem is…Tanabata was POPULAR. I’ve found mentions in at least 5 diaries, plus it looks like Tale of Genji has something, and I’m betting Eiga Monogatari does also, but of course it doesn’t have a subject index. Found an article on JSTOR arguing that Tanabata came to Japan _before_ the commonly-stated date of 755 AD, based on the number of poems in the Man’yoshu (the last of which is dated 759 AD). And poems! Lots of poems. Man’yoshu, Kokinshu, probably more. Lady Daibu’s diary has an entire chapter of poems devoted to Tanabata (51 poems!) And there’s a Noh play on the subject, too.

This is just supposed to be a little write-up about the festival. I think I’ll keep it simple, but there’s enough here for a decent research paper.

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