NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

2007/1/15

露 Tsuyu Tsuyu

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The Japanese word 'tsuyu' will remind you of 'dew', as in 'morning dew' or 'night dew'. But, there are other usages for this word that should be familiar to you.

For example, tsuyu can mean 'little', as in 'I do not doubt it a little (tsuyu)'. Tsuyu also means 'frail or easy to fade'. Generally, tsuyu carries the meanings of 'short', 'little' and 'sad'.

It is true that dew makes you think of graceful moisture, which will soon disappear if the sun shines or the wind blows. This might be why 'tsuyu' gained new meanings.

In addition, in 'New Collections of Ancient and Modern Times' (a collection of 'waka' poems from 1205), tsuyu means 'tears'; the drops to express sadness. People in the past seemed to have used the word as a sentimental expression. Now, tsuyu is rarely used in haiku poetry to describe the frailty of life.

The sensibility of people living in times when the earth was full of abundant nature is quite different from ours today.

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