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Heian Calendar

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  • m_martin85
    I ve been trying to match up the Heian lunar calendar with the modern calendar, and I m have a bit of trouble. Does it follow the lunar calendar in that a
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 25, 2013
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      I've been trying to match up the Heian lunar calendar with the modern calendar, and I'm have a bit of trouble. Does it follow the lunar calendar in that a month is one new moon to the next, or was it set at exactly 30 days for every month? When exactly was the new year? I've seen both one and two new moons after the winter solstice cited, as well as "when the sun enters the sign of the fish" on Sengoku Daimyo, but I have no idea how to tell exactly when that is. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated, I'm having a lot of trouble hammering things out.
    • LJonthebay
      http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Japanese_calendar may be of help. Saionji no Hana, look at the TIME! I m going to bed.
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 25, 2013
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        http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Japanese_calendar may be of help.

        Saionji no Hana, look at the TIME! I'm going to bed.
      • JL Badgley
        The link Saionji Shonagon posted is a good discussion on the Japanese calendar. It comes down to the fact that calculating the calendar each year was its own
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 26, 2013
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          The link Saionji Shonagon posted is a good discussion on the Japanese calendar.  It comes down to the fact that calculating the calendar each year was its own discipline, and even today scholars struggle with Japanese dates.

          For a simple hack, you can use modern Japanese shrine calendars, if you can find them.  You can pick them up at any temple, but you should be able to find them online.  Shinto shrines still use a lunar calendar to figure out holy, auspicious, and inauspicious days.  It is not exactly the Heian methodology, but it is close enough.

          Ii

          On Sep 26, 2013 2:37 AM, <m_martin85@...> wrote:


          I've been trying to match up the Heian lunar calendar with the modern calendar, and I'm have a bit of trouble. Does it follow the lunar calendar in that a month is one new moon to the next, or was it set at exactly 30 days for every month? When exactly was the new year? I've seen both one and two new moons after the winter solstice cited, as well as "when the sun enters the sign of the fish" on Sengoku Daimyo, but I have no idea how to tell exactly when that is. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated, I'm having a lot of trouble hammering things out.

        • Kevin
          For the Heian calendar: 1) days start at local midnight 2) months start on the day of the new moon, whether it occurs at 12:01 am or 11:59 pm 3) months are
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 26, 2013
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            For the Heian calendar:

            1) days start at local midnight
            2) months start on the day of the new moon, whether it occurs at 12:01 am or 11:59 pm
            3) months are variable in length
            4) the start of the year is also the beginning of a month
            5) the seasonal component is divided into 24 solar terms, 4 of which begin approximately on the solstices/equinoxes, and four of which occur at the midway points
            6) the midway points are the beginning of the four seasons (so spring is at the beginning of February)
            7) the winter solstice always occurs during the 11th month
            8) each month contains exactly 1 of the odd (I think) numbered solar terms
            9) if a month does not contain an odd numbered solar term, it is an intercalary month and treated as if it were part of the previous month

            The main difference between the Heian calendar and the modern Chinese calendar is the method for calculating the solar term (in Heian, it was equal length, but modern is equal arc of orbit).  This results in the intercalary month shifting on occasion.  The rest of the differences are for other celestial events (predicting eclipses, planetary positions, etc.)
          • Solveig Throndardottir
            Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... As already mentioned, calendric science was its own discipline at the imperial university. That said, are you trying
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 26, 2013
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              Noble Cousin!

              Greetings from Solveig!

              > I've been trying to match up the Heian lunar calendar with the modern calendar, and I'm have a bit of trouble. Does it follow the lunar calendar in that a month is one new moon to the next, or was it set at exactly 30 days for every month? When exactly was the new year? I've seen both one and two new moons after the winter solstice cited, as well as "when the sun enters the sign of the fish" on Sengoku Daimyo, but I have no idea how to tell exactly when that is. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated, I'm having a lot of trouble hammering things out.

              As already mentioned, calendric science was its own discipline at the imperial university. That said, are you trying to interpret Heian dates? In that case there is a book which translates historical dates into modern Gregorian dates. For modern times, the Japanese abandoned the lunar calendar in favor of the Gregorian calendar back in the Meiji period. As already mentioned, some shrines may still be publishing calendars with traditional dates.

              Some months are 29 days long and others are 30. There are also intercalary months which can appear pretty much at any time during the year.

              See: Japanese chronological tables, from 601 to 1872 Paul Yachita Tsuchi
              Published by: Monumenta Nipponica -- Sophia University, Tokyo

              There is an abbreviated table at: http://mercury.lcs.mit.edu/~jnc/prints/calendar.html

              > The pattern of long and short months changes from year to year, for religious reasons, and in fact there was a bias toward using a pattern which had not previously been used (although some patterns were re-used). Thus, it is necessary to consult a table (a partial one is given at the end of this page) to discover the pattern of long and short months for any given year.

              From: http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/dates.html

              > In 864, Japan adopted one of the Chinese calendars in which a year was defined as 365.2446 days. This calendar was used until 1699. Meanwhile in China, a more accurate calendar was invented, where a year was defined as 365.2425 days, just the same as the Gregorian calendar. Because of the error in the former calendar the season drifted slightly, so in 1700 Japan invented her own calendar based on her own astronomic observations. The principle, however, was the luni-solar one,the same as the Chinese one.

              Your Humble Servant
              Solveig Throndardottir
              Amateur Scholar
            • Kevin Vicklund
              ... My apologies, it is even-numbered solar terms.  The first solar term is the beginning of Japanese spring, around February 4th (often as not, this falls
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 26, 2013
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                >>>8) each month contains exactly 1 of the odd (I think) numbered solar terms
                >>>9) if a month does not contain an odd numbered solar term, it is an intercalary month and treated as if it were part of the previous month

                My apologies, it is even-numbered solar terms.  The first solar term is the beginning of Japanese spring, around February 4th (often as not, this falls after the New Year).  The winter solstice is the 22nd solar term.  Note that if you divide the even-numbered term by two, you get the number of the month in which it falls.  Also, if there are twelve new moons between two winter solstices, there will be an intercalary month sometime during that span.

                -Sugawara no Tokihira
              • m_martin85
                Thank you, everyone! Everything here has been really helpful, and has definitely made a few things click for me that I was struggling with before. ---In
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 26, 2013
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                  Thank you, everyone! Everything here has been really helpful, and has definitely made a few things click for me that I was struggling with before.



                  ---In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, <kvicklund@...> wrote:

                  >>>8) each month contains exactly 1 of the odd (I think) numbered solar terms
                  >>>9) if a month does not contain an odd numbered solar term, it is an intercalary month and treated as if it were part of the previous month

                  My apologies, it is even-numbered solar terms.  The first solar term is the beginning of Japanese spring, around February 4th (often as not, this falls after the New Year).  The winter solstice is the 22nd solar term.  Note that if you divide the even-numbered term by two, you get the number of the month in which it falls.  Also, if there are twelve new moons between two winter solstices, there will be an intercalary month sometime during that span.

                  -Sugawara no Tokihira
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