Astronomy in Japan
Japanese Astronomy

Welcome to the Astronomy in Japan Home Page

Japanese Starlore and Astronomical History

Astronomy Activities and Articles of Human Interest

Astronomy Sites in Japan with Pages in English

Sites of Interest in History of Astronomy and Cultural Astronomy

Purposes and Goals of this Page

Frequently (and not so Frequently) Asked Questions

何故このホ?[ムペ?[ジは英語のみで?曹ゥれているのですか?H (In Japanese)

Last Updated January, 2014

Griffith Observatory Award Study Web Award Planetarium Net Award Britannica Award Science Web Award


Japanese Starlore and Astronomical History

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[Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu]

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!
The Sun, the Moon, and Happy New Year in Japan

(Revised January 2014)

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[Oni Icon]

Get Out Ogre! Come In Happiness!
Setsubun in Japan; A Lunar "New Years' Eve"

(Revised January 2014)

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[Small Leonid Watch]

Tani Jinzan and A Leonid Conflagration
Earthly and Celestial Events "Meet" in Tokugawa Japan

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[Small Orihime]

Orihime, Kengyuu, and Tanabata
Japanese Traditions and Values Reflected in a Summer Festival Based on an Ancient Chinese Star Legend

Images of Tanabata 2000

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[Small Tsuzumi]

Yowatashi Boshi
Passing the Winter Nights with Japanese Star Lore of Orion

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[Small Takamatsu]

Takamatsu Zuka Kofun
An Ancient View of the Sky from a Tomb in Asuka, Japan

Controversy Continues

(Supplement added April 3, 1997)

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[Kitora Icon]

Kitora Kofun
A Detailed Astronomical Star Chart in an Ancient Japanese Tomb

(Revised September 2002)

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[Small Align]

Aligning Earth and Sky
Ancient Astronomy in the Kinki Area of Japan
(Material Added September, 2002)

Ancient Astronomy and Geomancy in Kyoto

Geomancy and Imperial Position in Nara

Astronomy Among Ancient Tombs and Relics in Asuka

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[Small Clock]

Marking the Noon Hour
A "Sun Clock" at Kochi Castle, Japan

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[Small Chart]

Star Charts and Moon Stations

"Seiryuu" (Azure Dragon) of the East (Spring)

"Genbu" (Black Tortoise) of the North (Winter)

"Byakko" (White Tiger) of the West (Fall)

"Suzaku" (Red Bird) of the South (Summer)

Moon Station Figures for The Sky Level IV Version 5

(Material Added October 16, 1999)

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[Small Star Shrine]

Star Shrines in Japan
Shrines Dedicated to "Stones from Heaven"

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[Small Instrument]

The Lunar Calendar in Japan
Brief Explanation and History of the Lunar Calendar in Japan

(Revised February 22, 2010)

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Modern Japanese Names for Constellations

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[Small Mata]

The Tiger Tail Star: Matasaburou and Comet C/1664 W1
The Diary of a young 17th century Kochi resident who observed and drew pictures of Comet C/1664 W1.

(Revised January 26, 1996)

Part 1: December 16-19, 1664

Part 2: December 21-31, 1664

Part 3: January 3 - February 6, 1665

References

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[Small Daub]

A Brush Daub on the Heavens
Japanese Starlore concerning the Pleiades (Subaru).

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[Small Guma]

Cornering the Bear
Historical Japanese names for Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.


Astronomy Activities and Articles of Human Interest

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A Tribute to Houei Nojiri
Gentleman, Scholar, and Eclectic Ethnoastronomer

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The Milky Way Train: Celebrating Kenji Miyazawa
A famous Japanese writer and amateur astronomer honored in 1996.

(Material Added October 16, 1999)

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A Brief History of Amateur Astronomy in Japan
A Culture's Heritage with the Sky

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The 50th Anniversary of the Science Council of Japan
Commemorative Stamp with a Rainbow of Development

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Super Nova Discoveries by Japanese Amateurs
Three Different Modes of Observation

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Seki's 52nd Asteroid
Tsutomu Seki and the Discovery of Asteroid Torahiko

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How Hyakutake Found Comet 1996 B1
Masaki Okamoto shares an article from Gekkan Tenmon

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Anamizu and Percival Lowell
Masaki Okamoto tells about a Japanese rural festival named after a U.S astronomer.

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Yuji Hyakutake and Comet C/1995 Y1
Masaki Okamoto shares an article from Tenmon Guide.

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Three Comet Hunters from Japan
Three amateurs from Japan who recovered Comet DeVico.

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Minoru Yamamoto and Nova Cas 1995
How Yamamoto discovered Nova Cas 1995.

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Keiichiro Okamura and Tosa Astronomy
A brief profile of Amateur Astronomer and Historian Keiichiro Okamura.


Astronomy Sites in Japan with Pages in English

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Here are links to a some other sites in Japan that have pages in English. Some may also have Kanji (Chinese Characters) in EUC JIS or Shift JIS coding. If your browser does not support these characters or you cannot read Japanese, don't worry. Just click on "English", and you will be connected to a page in that language. There are many avid amateur astronomers here in Japan, and many pages are under construction. Some amateurs are developing pages in English, and those that are appropriate will be added to these links in the future.

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General Data and Information on Astronomy


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Observatories and Agencies

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Amateurs, Groups, and Pages of Special Interest


Sites of Interest in History of Astronomy and Cultural Astronomy

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While not directly concentrating on Japanese or Asian astronomical study, the following sites support scholarly activity in the History of Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy, and Astronomy in Culture. Many carry articles or links of interest to readers involved in Asian studies.


Purposes and Goals of This Page

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This page is written in English and designed primarily to give people who do not speak Japanese a window into one of the most interesting and fascinating aspects of Japanese culture. Please feel free to link to and use material from this site; please cite materials and articles appropriately and observe any copyrights. No advertising is accepted on this site. While articles will be posted in English, they may be submitted in English or Japanese. Submissions would especially be appropriate in the following areas:

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Thank you for visiting.

Please send submissions, suggestions, or comments to
Steve Renshaw

We try to keep links up-to-date. However, if you are continually unable to connect to a site, we would appreciate you letting us know.