The moon is the subject in art, poetry, legends and various art forms in numerous cultures. Japan is no exception to this and the appreciation and significance of the moon dates back for centuries.
Tsukuyomi is the name of the moon god in the Shinto faith, and is said to embody positivity, spirituality, dreams and the balance of energy. In zen buddhism, the moon represents enlightenment. Regardless of religion, generally the moon is appreciated as a positive force in the Japanese culture.
Canal by Moonlight by Koho Shoda (ca 1920)
One of the traditional pastimes in japan is "tsukimi" which literally means the viewing of the moon. Taking place in the autumn, as this is the season where the Japanese considered the moon to be the most beautiful, it is the act of honouring the moon, and is a practice that dates as far back as the Nara period (710AD-794AD).
Boats at Shinagawa At Night by Tsuchiya Koitsu (ca 1930)
In this image by Koitsu, we encounter a moon that is offering a guiding light to the boats making their way home. The boats represent adventure and also signify our ability to sail over emotions, “staying afloat,” moving in the direction of our destinies, using the moon as a guide.