What’s a Bagworm? and What Did a Raincoat Look Like in Japan in 1760?

So there’s this haiku by Buson:


like a bagworm   I’m all right   first winter rain

Another pretty good poet, Bashō, had written this:


first winter rain   the monkey too  wants a little raincoat

And Kikaku, Bashō’s disciple, wrote this:


donning a raincoat     this heron advances      evening winter rain

What all three of these haiku have in common is the central image of the traveler out of doors in late autumn or early winter, with the first, cold rain of the season starting to fall. Raincoats at the time were not much — bunches of straw woven together to hold off the rain.


But the image, in all three cases, equates the man in the straw raincoat with the animal.

Basho — macaque:


Kikaku — heron:


Buson — bagworm:


I’ll be sharing more of Buson’s haiku on Instagram: @turnipdiary. See you there!

photo credit: Jigokudani Yaen-Koen 2008-01-12 138 via photopin (license)

photo credit: Heron 2 via photopin (license)

photo credit: Man in traditional straw raincoat, Japan via photopin (license)

One comment on “What’s a Bagworm? and What Did a Raincoat Look Like in Japan in 1760?

  1. “Bagworms are certain moths in caterpillar phase. They stay in cases or cocoons for warmth in winter. They construct their cases by sticking silk threads together between leaves or branches. Females don’t have wings, and some simply wait inside their cocoons for males to come by to mate.”

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