In my first post in this blog, I mentioned that this blog originally started on another website as a joke. On New Years Day of 2013, I posted a thread for Japanese speakers, and those learning Japanese that simply said, ‘Happy Himehajime!’

There are numerous manga cartoons that make jokes of himehajime, but I don’t know if anybody ever wishes anyone a Happy Himehajime. You see—in Japan, everything done for the first time of the year is special—in fact it has a sacred quality about it. For example, Hatsuyu refers to the first time you boil water in the year. Hime means princess, and hajime means first, or beginning—so it is literally, First Princess. But it actually means to have sex for the first time of the year, so you could say, First Sex, First Congress, First Lovemaking, etc.

Here is the second post I did on that thread:
Over the years, I have composed numerous haiku about himehajime. I will have to find those—However my first haiku of the year (Hatsuku-or–hakku), coincidentally is on the same subject, and goes:


姫初め 也


Asa hayai
hataraku yuna
himehajime ya.


Early in the morning
the working bath house prostitute


On the surface, this is Senryu, or satirical haiku. But deeper down, it has numerous other layers of meaning which touch upon a sad and often ignored pathos of life. The bath-house prostitute in old Japan was, among prostitutes, nothing like the courtesans or geisha, but rather a low ranking prostitute. My impression is that she did not even have the status, nor possibly even the skill of today’s Soapland women, the skillful prostitutes at what used to be known as Turkish Baths (Turkey took offense and forced Japan to change the name from Toruko—which meant Turkish Bath, but which also means Turkey).

So here you have a sacred act, or at least special act, being performed in the vulgar, by a girl who provides this service, easily multiple times a day. I also wrote:




Ganjitsu ni
hataraku yuna
himehajime ya


On the first day of the year
the working bath house prostitute


But this is too blatant perhaps? Early in the morning, in light of himehajime, already implies January First. This is the most important and special day of the year in Japan. It is a time for family, relaxing, eating good food… But a bath is also very important–and for the poor who cannot afford their own bath, the bath house must stay open. So even on this special sacred day, this sacred act was performed by the vulgar. One must wonder, if that particular copulation is special for either participant. Perhaps through the day and weeks, she would provide the himehajime to many lonely men. But what about her own family? Her own ability to share this once a year moment with a lover who makes her whole? And was that first customer that was her himehajime, even worthy of such an honor? Alas, she most likely had no choice in the matter—–reflecting that typical Japanese fatalism that defines the plot of so many Japanese stories…


Here is one from a few years ago:




Yuki furi furi ni
baba to jiji


As the snow falling, falling
the old lady, and the old man


One thought on “HAPPY FIRST TIME

  1. Liza says:

    Thanks for finally talking about >HAPPY FIRST TIME | Haiku by David Anderson <Loved it!

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