Japanese Folktale Review: Orihime and Hikoboshi-Tanabata

Sunday, June 21, 2020


Orihime and Hikoboshi - Tanabata
In this article I'll give my opinion on the Japanese Folktale called Orihime and Hikoboshi- Tanabata.

If you want to read the original story, please check this:
  Orihime and Hikoboshi-Tanabata >>

Summary of Orihime and Hikoboshi-Tanabata

This story starts off with an Ancient civilization. This Ancient Civilization saw the Milky way and thought that it resembled a river. The people thought that a God lived near the Milky way. This God had a daughter named Orihime. Orihime worked extremely hard weaving clothes for the Gods of the heavenly world.
The God loved his daughter so much, that one day he decided that he would find a husband for her. He heard about a very hard-working young man named Hikoboshi. Hikoboshi was a kindhearted man who lived near the Milky way, and who raised cattle.
The father introduced Orihime and Hikoboshi. Luckily, it was love at first sight! They got married soon after. After they got married, they were so very happy together. However, there was just one issue. They liked spending a little too much time together. They became too consumed with one another and going out and having fun. They started to neglect their duties and only focused on each other.
Since Orihime stopped making her clothes, the Gods couldn’t find clothes. And since Hikoboshi stopped tending to his cattle, they became very weak. Orihime's father heard about this and became very angry. He pulled them apart. Separating them, having one go east of the Milky way, and the other going west of the Milky way.
The Milky way is a BIG river; therefore, they could no longer see one another. They both became very depressed. Orihime would cry every day and still wouldn't weave the clothes. Hikoboshi was so depressed that he didn't leave his house, which made the cows even weaker.
Orihime's father was so worried. Therefore, he allowed them to see each other only once a year. That day is July 7th. Since they knew they could see each other once a year, they both began to work hard again. Orihime worked hard weaving clothes, and Hikoboshi worked hard to tend to the cows.
On the night of July 7th, every year, magpie birds make a bridge over the Milky way for Orihime and Hikoboshi to meet. They are so happy to be reunited each time. Thus, Tanabata was created. The end.

My Thoughts

I do quite enjoy this folktale because it relates to a holiday in Japan. It's like one of the ONLY folktales that does. So, for me it's pretty great to learn about a Japanese custom.
I wanted to write about this folktale because Tanabata is just in a couple of weeks. My nursery is preparing for a Tanabata festival for the kids. At my old nursery, the kids all got dressed up in their little kimonos and yukatas to celebrate. It was quite cute.
Tanabata is a big festival in Japan. It is a holiday and festival based on love, so usually couples go out together. When I lived in Kanto, I would see cute high school and university students dressed up for the occasion. The girls would dress up in a kimono, and the boys would dress up in yukatas. As with most Japanese summer festivals, fireworks are definitely involved.


I do feel like there is a takeaway from this story. Can you guess what it is? When I thought about it, it's a very Japanese lesson to be learned here...Well sort of. You CAN argue that it's good lesson for everyone in the world to learn lol.
I think the takeaway is, don't neglect your responsibilities when you fall in love. Don't become so consumed with someone else that you forget everything else in the world. Even though it may be very tempting, try to keep your feet on the ground.
I think it is a very important lesson to learn, especially for young adults. The reason why I say it is a very Japanese lesson, sort of, was because of the punishment. I feel that the punishment doesn't fit the crime. The father separated them and wouldn't allow them to see one another, EXCEPT once a year. ONCE A YEAR. In my opinion, that it ridiculous. He didn't even give them a chance to try to prove that they could work and still live with each other. Instead, he said you must remain separated, work hard, and you can still only see each other once a year.
It's kind of sad if you ask me, and I don't think it's a good deal at all. But that's not for me to really say, I guess. I hope you enjoyed this review.
Please try to read using Kanji, Hiragana, Romaji, and English! See you soon!