The Glossary serves as translation notes to help the reader understand certain terms, phrases or popular culture media.
The Glossary entries are gradually unlocked as one progresses through the story.
The First Night
Mesomeso [meh-so-meh-so] is the sound of someone sobbing, usually after losing their self-respect or from having low self-esteem. Often the head hangs limply as the person cries.
In Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni, Mesomeso is given the Japanese honorific suffix '–san' (Mesomeso-san), which is often comparable to the English Mr., Mrs., or Ms.. Others include '-chan' a childish suffix, '-kun' a slightly masculine suffix that is used by teachers on students regardless of gender, and '-sama' a suffix denoting respect.
Whether mischievous or malicious, youkai [yoh-kye] are supernatural demons, ghosts, and monsters from Japanese folklore and horror stories. The term youkai covers a wide range of beings from ghosts disguised as beautiful women to colossal centipedes.
The most common youkai are:
tengu – long-nosed demons
oni – ogres
kappa – humanoid turtles
kitsune – fox spirits.
Although some youkai can be beneficial like rain spirits. Generally they exist to cause humans misery either through trickery or fear.
The Seven Mysteries is a Japanese concept birthed from the importance of the number 7. (E.G. 7 days in a week, 7 wonders in the world, 7 deadly sins).
This concept became popular in the Edo period of Japanese history (1600-1868) with tales of unexplained phenomena that turned into urban legends. These tales usually took place in a single area and comprised of 7 phenomena. E.G. 7 Mysteries of Suwa Shrine.
This trend became popular in Japanese schools and seven school mysteries is a popular concept that has been explored in TV dramas, anime, and manga.
Since the 1960s, Bell Marks have been embedded in Japanese elementary school as a popular activity.
Bell Marks can be found on many products, and students can cut them out and gather them to turn in to their teachers at the end of the month. Depending on how many bell marks students turn in, the school benefits by receiving funds from the Bell Mark Foundation, and they can use those funds on school supplies and equipment.
Glass Mask is a popular shoujo manga written by Suzue Miuchi that has been in circulation since 1976. The story revolves around Maya Kitajima and her pursuit of her dream to become an actress. In Chapter 3 of Higanbana, Midori refers to the extreme training methods in the story.
Local deities, guardian spirits or tutelary gods are common in the animistic Japanese religion of Shinto. Spirits such as these typically act as guardians for a local area, keeping evil spirits at bay. Often in Japan on the roadsides one can find hokora, miniature Shinto shrines, dedicated to folk deities like guardian spirits. These shrines typically have tiny doors that represent the closed house of the deity, or are marked off with rope and white paper showing the shrine as sacred space.
Chrysanthemums in Japanese culture, especially if they are white or yellow, are used at wakes and funerals usually for bereavement purposes.
In Chapter 4 of Higanbana, Michiru is implying that there may end up being a potential memorial service in the classroom should anyone end up dying from the Guardian Deity's curse - thus the classroom filled with chrysanthemums.
Higanbana are red spider lilies. They are named thusly because they bloom around the time of the Higan memorial week. Higan can also be read as ka no kishi, which means 'other shore' and refers to englightenment or the after life. Higan is unique to Japanese buddhism and occurs during the vernal and autumn equinoxes. For a week families pay their respects to the dead by visiting graveyards and attending memorial services. Higanbana are ominous flowers in Japan with nicknames like the flower of the dead (shibitobana), the flower of hell (jigokubana), and the phantom flower (yuureibana).
Omikuji are paper fortunes at Japanese Shinto shrines. Fortunes start with a general fortune which can vary from very good luck to very bad luck. After the general fortune, there is usually a series of fortunes about that person’s luck in business, love, directions, and so forth. If the fortune is bad, it’s usually tied to a tree to keep their bad luck at the shrine, and if it’s good, it’s also tied to the tree to give it a boost, or they can keep it for good luck.
Jizo is a Buddhist bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be, comparable to saints in Catholicism) who assists the Amida Buddha (the Buddha of the Western Paradise). Jizo is extremely popular in Japan, and countless varieties of statues dedicated to him line the roadsides. He saves children that have died before their parents from the underworld: such as aborted fetuses, miscarriages, or still births. Often parents will give offerings to the Jizo in the form of red bibs, caps, and toys.