Straw bag (kamasu)


Straw bag (kamasu)

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


straw bag, kamasu、かます 、 
(the kanji was made in Japan, also written 蒲簀)

© PHOTO : kagawa museum of tools

It kind of bag was used to transport many things, from salt to rice grains to goods used during warfare in the Edo period. Also for collecting mulberry leaves to feed the silk worms.

"Straw bag" does also have the meaning of bribes and corruption.


Among packages that are made of straw, there are bales ("tawara") and straw bags ("kamasu") that were most familiar to people's lives. "Kamasu" is a bag which is made of matting by folding it in half and sealing both sides, and it was used to preserve rice and vegetables like bales.

At that time, the quality of rice was said to be determined by the quality of the straw that was used for its straw bags and bales and the method by which they were woven. It is said that people selected fine quality straw and tried to weave and construct each bag and bale very carefully. Straw was without a doubt one of the best materials to use to preserve carefully grown crops for as long and as freshly as possible.

Read more about the history of straw packing in Japan
... /www.tetrapak.co.jp/


Cocoon of the Mountain Moth (yama kamasu)

© Photo: at.webry.info

"straw bag of the mountains", yama kamasu 山叺
hanging straw bag, tsuri kamasu 吊り(釣)叺

One more photo
CLICK for original LINK / takao-san
© takao-san

. WKD : Straw (wara) and related KIGO  

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Tobacco pouch

This word was also used for a small waterproof pouch to carry cut tobacco during the Edo period, sometimes made from animal skin or waterproof paper.

CLICK for more photos

Kamasu and Tobacco


kogarashi ya kamasu kite yuku hakone yama

winter wind--
wearing a straw bag
on Mount Hakone

toshi no ichi kamasu kabutte tôri keri

year's end fair--
a straw bag on her head
she passes

© Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

Related words

***** Pacific Sandeel (ikanago イカナゴ(玉筋魚、鮊子)
sand lance, Pacific barracuda, Ammodytes personatus
this fish was also called "kamasu" or "kamasugo" カマスゴ(加末須古).
kigo for late spring

shiwa ikanago しわ鮊子(しわいかなご)、
boat for fishing, ikanago bune いかなご舟(いかなごぶね)
drying sandeel, ikanago hosu 鮊子干す(いかなごほす)

CLICK for more photos

sand lance in frost, shimofuri kamasu
霜降かます (しもふりかます)

kigo for early winter

いかなごに まづ箸おろし 母恋し   

to eat sand lance
first I put my chopsticks down -
I long for mother
Takahama Kyoshi 高浜虚子

いかなごや 凪浪遊ぶ 磯馴松(ソナレマツ)   
Nomura Kibune 能村喜舟

鉄枴の下に いかなご すなどれり        
Awano Seiho 阿波野青畝

いかなごが 烏の嘴に 生きてをり   
ikanago ga tori no shibashi ni ikite ori

a sand lance
in the bill of a bird
still alive

Hoshino Tatsuko 星野立子

一舟そこに さすらうごとし こうなご漁     
Kaneko Tohta 金子兜太

一網のいかなご まざりものあらず  
hito ami no ikanago mazari mono arazu

one net full of sand lance
there is nothing better than this

Ibaragi Kazuo 茨木和生

ikanago haiku and senryu
Tr. Gabi Greve

. Hakone and Haiku .


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