Nape of the neck



Base of the nape (bon no kubo)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


nape of the neck, bon no kubo 盆の窪 (ぼんのくぼ)
..... bon no kubi ぼんの首

"nape" means "back of the neck".

... ... ...

Some Japanese theories about this expression

bon 盆 written with kanji for "tray" is maybe short for boozu 坊主, a bald priest head, where the nape can be seen very clearly.

The hairstyle of children in the Edo time with a little tuft seems not be be related to this BON. This BON ぼん is written with hiragana.

Another theory says BON is a sloppy pronounciation of HONE ほね, bones. 骨窪

Here is more in Japanese.


the hair stand up on the back of our necks!

It is quit untreatable.
We Japanese could sympathize with your phrase.
[Bon no kubo] is basically fear. And when we feel fear all hairs on our head stand vertically up. In this state we say "zotto suru ぞっとする".

I think if person understand this state of mind, any reference of this part of the body is all suitable to be used.

Nakamura Sakuo

zotto suru ぞっとする :
 © tomomi965


Nape at the hollow of the neck:
A baby's head was shaved, but if a small tuft of hair was left growing at the nape it too was known as bon no kubo.

Prints by Kunisada

Here are two details from prints by Kunisada.
Notice the subtle indications of the areas at the back of the the head at the nape where the hair has been allowed to grow.
© JAPANESE PRINTS / Jerry Vegder 070715


Worldwide use

Things found on the way


zunzun to bon no kubo kara samusa kana

from the nape of my neck
chilling, chilling, chilling ...
the cold

First tentative version by Gabi

More translations by Michael Haldane
Translating Haiku Forum


More haiku by Issa

bon no kubo yûhi ni mukete hibachi kana

on the nape
of my neck, setting sun
and hibachi


temakura ya bon no kubo yori tobu hotaru

hands for a pillow--
from the nape of my neck
a firefly flits


tsuribito no bon no kubo yori kaeru kari

behind the fisherman's neck


yami no yo no hatsu yuki rashi ya bon no kubo

dark night--
the first snowflakes
hit my neck


hana tsumu ya ôgi wo choi to bon no kubo

picking flowers--
his paper fan stowed
behind his neck


bonokubo ni ôgi o choi to ko bôzu

he stows his fan
behind his neck...
little boy


no-botoke no bon no kubo yori ume no hana

from the nape
of the field Buddha's neck...
plum blossoms


kawahori ya yotaka ga bon no kubomi yori

and behind my neck
a nighthawk


bon no kubo kara hiyashi keri ama no kawa

on the nape of my neck
a chill...
Heaven's River

© Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

Tr. David Lanoue

Related words

***** More Haiku by Issa and Japanese Culture



Unknown said...



Anonymous said...

Gabi san,

Enjoyed these bon no kubo/neck haiku very much. Thanks for introducing.

Here is my version...

chillier and chillier
from the nape of my neck...
this winter cold