Microseason #3 of 72: 魚上氷 “Fish emerge from the ice” [58/365]

The first 節気 “sekki” division of the traditional Japanese calendar is:

the beginning of spring

The last of the three “kō” microseasons within this division is:

“uo kōri o izuru”
Fish emerge from the ice

That makes 魚上氷 the third microseason of the year!

It typically lasts 14~18 February.

This one is comprised from three quite common kanji:

[ギュ], (うお), (さかな)
“gyu”, “uo”, “sakana”

[ジュウ], [シュウ], (うえ), (かみ), (あ・げる), (あ・がる), (のぼ・る), (うわ)
“jū”, “shū”, “ue”, “kami”, “a・geru”, “a・garu”, “nobo・ru”, “uwa”
top, up, upper part, rise, go up, climb up

(こおり), (ひ), (ひょう)
“kōri”, “hi”, “hyō”

This is #3 in a regular subseries of 365 Days of Japanese, where every five or six days I post about a Japanese microseason that has begun around the same date as the entry. I am taking all information from the list in this article. There is also a 36 microseason list here, which may be more authentic (rather than being based primarily on Chinese sources).

Image credit: The University of Oregon article ‘Antifreeze’ in Antarctic fishes keeps internal ice from melting.


  1. I was curious about the phrase “uo kōri o izuru” so I did some searching. It seems that “izuru” is classic verb that means “deru”. This is interesting, since (as you mentioned) the kanji 上 of 魚上氷 (which is essentially a Chinese word/phrase) means more like “up” than “out”.

    While the reading “izuru” seems correct according to several sources, a few other sources say “haizuru” instead:


    In any case, the meaning described there––割れた氷の間から魚が飛び出る––is pretty much the same as what you said. This is odd, since 這いずる technically means more like “crawl”.

    One possibility is that the “は” is actually the particle, but “をは” is pretty unusual grammar.

    In terms of the big picture, I guess the Japanese explanation of 魚上氷 is just an interpretation, so there isn’t necessary one “right” one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a detailed comment. Very interesting about “izuru” – indeed I thought it was a little weird too but figured I shouldn’t editorialise on the list I was going from. Very cool to have such well-researched information from you about it!

      I totally agree about the Japanese explanations of these seasons being just interpretations. I suppose that makes it more interesting, but possibly a little less satisfying!

      Liked by 1 person

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