EP5 Weaver of Heaven


Show Notes for EP5 of our Podcast – Tanabata – Weaver of Heaven.

Story and Song Notes


The festival of Tanabata can trace it origins to the Empress Koken when it was adopted by Japan from the Heian Period. The festival has lasted to this day.

The story of the festival relates to the Goddess known as Orihime (the Weaving Princess). She was the daughter of the God Tentei, and Orihime spent her days weaving beautiful clothes along the shores of the Amanogawa (Milky Way)

Orihime knew how much her father loved the items she wove, and so she worked tirelessly everyday to make more for him. But, due to this she would never fall in love.

Her father eventually grew concerned for her, wanting her to find love and a husband and so he arranged for her to meet with the God known as Hikoboshi (Cowman/Boy Star) who at the time lived on the other side of the Amanogawa.

Her father was happy to see that when the two of them met they both instantly fell in love with one another.

However, his happiness grew sour soon after. Now that they had married, Orihime no longer had time to weave her beautiful things for her father and so in his anger he separated the two of them at opposite sides of the Amanogawa and forbid them from ever seeing one another again.

His daughter was heart broken, and grew mournful, her tears raining down.

She asked her father if she could please see him again, and he relented, allowing them to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month as long as she worked hard with her weaving.

She worked hard until the time came for them to meet, only to find that there was no bridge across the Amanogawa for them to meet. Orihime cried and cried, until a flock of magpies took note and offered their aid. They promised they would make a bridge for her every year with their wings so that she may walk across them to see her husband.

It is said on the years when it should rain on this day, the magpies are unable to form a bridge because the river would rise and it would be too dangerous for them to form a bridge for the two lovers.

The traditional song of the Tanabata festival goes as follows:

笹の葉 さらさら
退き葉に 揺れる
お星様 きらきら
金銀 砂ご
五色の 短冊
私が 書いた
お星様 きらきら
空から  見てる

Sasa no ha sara-sara
Nokiba ni yureru
Ohoshi-sama kira-kira
Kingin sunago
Goshiki no tanzaku
Watashi ga kaita
Ohoshi-sama kirakira
Sora kara miteru

The bamboo leaves rustle,
shaking away in the leaves.
The stars twinkle
on the gold and silver grains of sand.
The five-color paper strips
I have already written.
The stars twinkle,
and there they will watch us.

Feature Image: Orihime and Hikoboshi from animeclick.it

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Heavenly Spear