Hasegawa Eiga and "Japanese Beauty"


Fringed Pink

Nadeshiko, or fringed pink, is one of the seven herbs of autumn. For a long period of time from summer to autumn, fringed pink bears an abundance of neat, pale pink flowers.


The eulogistic term of Japanese women “Yamato Nadeshiko” originated exactly from this flower. The term was used to refer to women not only from the sweetness of the flower, but also because the word “nadeshiko” could be understood as “naderu ko,” meaning a lovable person to caress and care for. A number of poems that compare women to fringed pink are included in Man’yoshu and Kokin-wakashu, anthologies of Japanese waka poems compiled in the 8th to 10th centuries.


The famous Sei-shonagon was one of the authors who were very fond of fringed pink flowers. Chapter 64 of her collection of essays, Makura-no-soushi, starts with the sentence, “Of all flowers, fringed pink is the most beautiful.”