Mooning over those who are absent


Literally: wind – moon – (mysterious) – (degree)

Alternately: Thinking of someone you haven’t seen in a long time; missing a good friend due to long separation. By extension, thinking about or even mourning the death of someone exceptional.


This is a bit of a special case; while 風月 is a standard phrase describing the beauty of nature (specifically a refreshing breeze and bright, beautiful moonlight), 玄度 is actually a person’s name!

This phrase reportedly comes from an early 5th century CE collection of anecdotes, A New Account of the Tales of the World, Chinese Shih-shuo hsin-yu (Japanese 『世説新語』 = Sesetsu shingo). The story is that Liu Yan, invited to a party held by Emperor Jianwen of Jin, commented that it was a shame that the person in question (Chinese pronunciation Xuan Du?) wasn’t present on such a splendid evening.



About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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