Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chinese Lantern Plant

(posted; Japanese culture page)
       Have you ever played with Chinese Lantern Plant?

In Japanese, this plant is called "ホオズキ, hozuki", which almost sounds like made up with 2 Japanese words "cheek + stick out".
According to one of the theories, the name derived from the shape of the children's cheek get puffy when they play with it trying to whistle sound putting the emptied fruit into their mouth. It is the season of this plant in Japan and I remember having fun with it when young. My neighbor used to have the plant and let me pick it and use the fruit. Oh, I wonder if  the kids in my neighborhood have fun this.
        And this plant often brought to the family grave during Obon.

We have festivals in various places in Japan. Unfortunately not in my city. I thought you might be able to enjoy the feeling from the pics and a short video I found.

Now, for the last I'd like to add some history behind this plant in Japan, which I found from PC.  I myself learning my own culture ♪♪

The “Chinese Lantern” plant, was cultivated in Japan ever since the Edo period as a medicinal plant, believed to relieve fever and ease the discomfort felt by pregnant women. The belief originates in a 200 years old story that took place in the Seisho-ji Temple from Shiba (Minato-ku, Tokyo): 

One day during the Meiwa era (17th century) a worker found a pot of Hozuki while working in the temple’s garden. Then, he remembered that the night before he dreamed about Atago Gongen, the avatar of Bodhisattva Jizo. Inspired by the dream, he announced that by eating the fruits of Hozuki at the Atago Shrine on June 24, one could be relieved from health problems.   June 24 is a traditional festival day for Jizo, so some people followed his advice, declaring afterwards that the plant was really helpful… The story spread, so a Chinese Lantern plant fair (Hozuki Ichi), started taking place every year at the Seisho-ji Temple.

After a while, another Hozuki-ichi began at the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, on July 9 and 10 (during the Day of 46,000 Blessings), "based on the belief that a visit to the temple on this day gives worshippers the same number of lucky days"
      Wow, I will have to visit the temple someday!

Thank you very much for reading today's long post; I might take a bit of break from posting. (haha, I know what you may want to say♪)


  1. Ich mag diese kleinen Lampions, bei uns gibt es sie auch, aber nur selten...

    Lieben Gruß

  2. Another very intriguing post, my dear friend, Miyao. I so love reading about how things came to be and the reasons behind things. You do a fabulous job of putting everything together for us! Have a terrific day-

  3. Hozuki is one of the Obon-flowers around here,too. But I didn't know how to play with it and we can eat it. Thank you for sharing the interesting talk.

  4. My cousin used to grow a similar plant in her yard, at least we called them Chinese lanterns. You always do a great job of researching your topic, Miyako. I haven't posted in a while and am enjoying just visiting and commenting. I will be back soon. xo

  5. Dearest Miyako,

    You bring back vivid memories of my visit to Japan in July of 2007, during Obon so I've seen in Tokyo near the Sensoji temple.
    Very special and we even grow this lantern plant in our garden.
    Love to you,


  6. Oh my goodness, Miyako san!! I have forgotten about hozuki for a looooong time until I read your post today! Natsukashiii!
    I used to see hozuki during obon every year and loved them as they are so pretty and orange :-) As usual, I did not know the history about it..hehe. Thank you for sharing it with us! I've never been to hozuki ichi but would love to some day.

  7. such a beautiful plant!!
    i enjoyed the video so much!!
    your posts are always so lovely..I am learning so much from you my friend!!!thank you for taking the time to share Japan with us!!!
    hugs from "your California sister" !

  8. Dear Miyako,
    What a lovely and educational post. I always learn something new by visiting your blog, and I love it.
    I've seen this plant and these fruits before, but it was very nice to know the history behind it.
    Have a lovely evening over there.
    Big hugs

  9. Fiquei encantada com a beleza do seu blog.
    Gostei tanto do seus blog e do seu trabalho que ja estou te seguindo para voltar outras vezes pra ver e ler suas postagens.
    Grande abraço aqui do Brasil!

  10. Mam tą roślinę w ogródku, ale nie wiedziałam, że w Twoim kraju tyle znaczy. Pozdrawiam.
    I have this plant in your backyard, but did not know that in your country so much to say. Yours.

  11. This was very interesting for me I enjoyed reading about this plant not something I have never heard of.....

  12. Dearest Miyako sama,
    Totimo daisuki-na Hozuki desu.
    Watahushi tachine natu hasiii desu.
    Yahari watashi wa Japanese woman desu.
    Kangaeru kotoba ga Japanese lady no kawaii tatoe kata desu.
    Tanoshimi-ni when I be back next time.

  13. How interesting! We have something very similar but it's smaller and green. They are weeds here and nobody sells it for profit but I have eaten them before. It's other name is physalis. Hozuki in yr pictures are beautiful!

  14. What a beautiful plant and interesting history. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it. :D

  15. Oh Miyako, yes! I have grown this beautiful plant in my garden but we call it a "Tomatillo" and the fruit was so very sweet. The flowers always amazed me with their beautiful husks. I had no idea that this was their history or that they were called Chinese Lantern plants. Thank you so much for this information, my beautiful friend. Hugs, Mina