Setsugetsuka (雪月花)

Setsugetsuka (or pronounced as Yuki Tsuki Hana (Snow, the Moon and Flowers)), is a word from the phrase, 'Setsugetsuka no toki mottomo kimi wo omou (I remember you especially when snow, the moon or flowers are beautiful)' in an old Chinese poem, 'In Kyoritsu ni yosu (A poem sent to In Kyoritsu)' composed by Juyi BAI. "Setsugetsuka (snow, the moon, and flower)" is a collective word to refer to beautiful objects of nature. In Japan, the word 'setsugetsuka' became very popular, and has been used by itself, having acquired some new meanings as shown below. Setsugetsuka' is also a music title.

When he was in Jiangnan, Juyi BAI had a subordinate, In Kyoritsu; later when Juyi BAI moved to Changan, he sent the above poem to In. The original meaning of the phrase 'time of setsugetsuka' in the poem was the time when snow, the moon, or flowers are beautiful, that is, different seasons of a year. In the poem he described that at different times of the year, when nature is beautiful, he thought about In Kyoritsu, who was far away in Jiangnan.

In Japanese poetry, on the other hand, 'setsugetsuka' is sometimes used to describe scenery or an object which contains all three natural elements, snow, the moon, and flowers, at the same time. The earliest appearance of setsugetsuka in Japanese language is in one of Yakamochi OTOMO' s poem, which was selected in "Manyoshu" (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves). At celebration banquets, poetry was composed on fixed topics including "setsugetsubaika" (snow, the moon, plums and flowers). Waka poems were composed under a playful setting where the object, consisting of the elements of snow and flowers, is presented under the moonlight. This combination was mentioned in a paragraph of "Makura no Soshi (The Pillow Book)" as an anecdote about Emperor Murakami; the combination was preferred by the aristocrats in Japan as an unusual combination, or as a word that is reminiscent of the phrase "I remember you especially."
Together with the preceding line, 'Setsugetsuka no toki mottomo kimi o omou' is inluded in the Chapter of Friendship in "Wakan Roeishu" (Japanese and Chinese poems to sing); and the anecdote about Emperor Murakami mentioned above also was based on the association between 'setsugetsuka no toki' and 'mottomo kimi o omou.'

Later on, "setsugetsuka" was recognized primarily as the combination of snow, the moon, and cherry blossoms; "setsugetsuka" referred to these three objects themselves, or further included the elegant stances themselves when enjoing these objects. These include the three most scenic spots and three outstanding gardens in Japan.

The three most scenic spots in Japan: snow in Amanohashidate; the moon in Matsushima; and flowers in Miyajima (autumn leaves are likened to flowers). The three outstanding gardens in Japan: snow in Kenroku-en garden; the moon in Koraku-en garden; and flowers (Japanese plums) in Kairaku-en garden.

There are several pieces of music about setsugetsuka.

"Setsugetsuka" (kotokumiuta, or koto suites of songs, composed by Kengyo MITSUHASHI)

"Shin-setsugetsuka" (koto music, composed by Kengyo YOSHIZAWA)

Today "setsugetsuka" is used in poems, popular songs, or Japanese cuisine restaurant names to add the feeling of traditional senses of Japanese beauty.

Takarazuka Revue, that became renowned as one of the major entertaining groups since the establishment in 1914, has three groups: Flower, Moon, and Snow, which also derived from setsugetsuka.

Print Club (generally called Pricla, or Pri) Kacho-fugetsu Series 'Setsugetsuka,' 'Setsugetsuka 2' and 'Setsugetsuka 3' are released from Bandai Namco Games, mostly limited-time offer; the series is very poplular vying with Hanafubuki Series (Hanafubuki, Hanafubuki 2, and Hanafubuki New) for the top sales.

[Original Japanese]