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Kigo Quiz: Test your Knowledge of Poetic Season Words

Season words (kigo) are of central importance in Japanese poetry such as haiku. Often it is clear what season is intended: ‘swimming’ indicates summer; ‘snow’, winter. But sometimes it is less than obvious: ‘moon’, for example, indicates autumn, because this is the traditional season for moon-viewing parties; and sometimes it is downright counter-intuitive – there’s an example of one of those in the quiz below, so I’ll say no more about that ? This is a fun quiz. Have a go even if you never read a poem in your life!

It may help to know that in the Japanese poetic calendar, the seasons are allocated approximately as follows:

Spring: February–April; Summer: May–July; Autumn: August–October; Winter: November–February.

If you like this quiz, be sure to check out my 99 Amazing Quizzes on a Wide Variety of Topics! – “Guaranteed to make you smarter!” 

  • Cherry blossom-viewing (hanami)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Fallen leaves (ochiba)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Air conditioning (reibo)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Peach (momo)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Milky Way (amanogawa)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Hazy moon (oborozuki)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Warm (atatakashi)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Basho’s Memorial Day (bashoki)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Withered pampas grass (kareobana)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Waterfall (taki)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Frogs (kawazu)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Blowfish soup (fugujiru)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Cool (suzushi)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Nap (hirune)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Red leaves (momiji)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter
  • Calendar vendor (koyomiuri)

    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Autumn
    • Winter

What do you think?

24 points

33 Comments

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    • That’s a very valid point, Trenna. These season-words were codified in Japan, but even there, because the country extends quite far from north to south, they had to agree that it was the situation in Kyoto that would define the validity and value of any kigo. I’ve been involved for years in international collaborations involving seasonal poetry; you can’t even begin to imagine the amount of ‘ironing-out’ and heated disagreements I’ve had to deal with 🙂
      Glad you had fun!

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