Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/209

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like to know the text of a certain Chinese official recognition of sundry butterflies as the spirits of an Emperor and of his attendants. …

Most of the Japanese literature about butterflies, excepting some poetry, appears to be of Chinese origin; and even that old national æsthetic feeling on the subject, which found such delightful expression in Japanese art and song and custom, may have been first developed under Chinese teaching. Chinese precedent doubtless explains why Japanese poets and painters chose so often for their geimyō, or professional appellations, such names as Chōmu (" Butterfly-Dream)," Ichō (" Solitary Butterfly)," etc. And even to this day such geimyō as Chōhana (" Butterfly-Blossom "), Chōkichi ("Butterfly-Luck"), or Chōnosuké ("Butterfly-Help "), are affected by dancing-girls. Besides artistic names having reference to butterflies, there are still in use real personal names (yobina) of this kind,—such as Kochō, or Chō, meaning " Butterfly." They are borne by women only, as a rule,—though there are some strange exceptions. … And here I may mention that, in the province of Mutsu, there still exists the curious old custom of calling the youngest daughter in a family Tekona,—which quaint word, obsolete elsewhere, signifies in