Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tonbo トンボ(蜻蛉)

A rather large damselfly, a very close relative to the dragonfly, among the Sakura blossoms - the modern name for the dragonfly is tombo (tonbo is damselfly) but the more traditional name is kachimushi which literally means "victory bug". During the 11th century noble Japanese families used the dragonfly as ornamentation on everything from furnishings to textiles and was a fairly common motif on samurai swords, armor and uniforms. One reason for this is because a dragonfly always flies forward and seemingly never retreats and consequently became associated with strength, courage, success and victory. Japanese legend has it that an Emperor was bitten by a horsefly which, in turn, was eaten by a dragonfly. The Emperor honored the dragonfly by naming what is now Japan “Akitsushima” which (during that time) translated to “Isle of the Dragonfly”.


  1. I'm learning a lot through your very informative comments! Never noticed that the dragonfly was so highly regarded in Japanese culture. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your welcome, thanks for commenting! The posting is giving me a chance to share and also pushes me to learn about my surroundings and to keep my eyes open to as much as possible.