K-12 Outreach for Japanese Culture: 11月 / November

This guide is designed for K to 12 instructors who teach Japanese culture and traditions.

初亥の日 / Hatsu-I-no-Hi (The First Day of Day of the Boar)




Each of the twelve Chinese zodiacal symbols is given an animal. The twelfth animal is the boar or "I." In the old lunar calendar, the 10th Month was regarded as the month of boar, and this day was regarded as the day to prepare for winter. During the Edo period (1603-1868), it was believed that if people took out the kotatsu (traditional Japanese heater-table) on this day, people would be able to prevent fire. 

According to Chinese superstition, people could prevent illnesses by eating seven-colored mochi mixed with soybeans, azuki beans and other ingredients in the time period between 10 pm to 12 pm. This belief was adopted by the Japanese Imperial Court during the Heian period (794-1185), and eventually became a ritual to pray for good health and fertility. Another symbol for fertility is the wild boar. The boars are a symbol for fertility from the sheer amount of babies a mother can give birth to.

The fertility was connected to good harvest among farmers, and prosperity among the merchants. Therefore, in farming villages, this day is celebrated for good harvest, and among merchants, this day is celebrated for good business.

亥の子 / Baby boars

こたつ / Kotatsu

亥の子祭り / Day of the Boar Festival

亥の日と亥の子餅 / I-no-Hi to I-no-ko Mochi (The Day of Boar and Young Boar Dumplings)


On the day of "I no Hi, (Day of the Boar), traditionally, people ate “i-no-ko mochi” or “young boar’s dumplings," wishing for fertility and good health. This sweet is made from freshly harvested rice and was originally consumed within two hours starting from the “Hour of the Boar,” which was around 10:00 in the evening. 
I-no-ko mochi is shaped to look like a baby boar by using techniques such as the use of sweet beans for the coloring and burning the top of the mochi to look like a tiny boar. The center of the mochi is a ball of sweet azuki beans.  

亥の子祭り / I-no-ko Matsuri (Day of the Boar Festival)

The tradition to celebrate Boar's Day Festival is often seen in western Japan. In these festivals, people chant about boars and i-no-ko mochi while a ground of kids hold a string with i-no-ko ishi or a rock in the center and hit on the ground as if they were making i-no-ko mochi. The songs will vary depending on the state and city. In this video, the festival is held in Hiroshima city.

亥の子石 / I-no-ko ishi rock

*Again this song will not be the same in other cities*

いーのこ いのこ (Ī no ko I no ko)

いのこ餅ついて (I-no-ko mochi Tsuite) 

繁盛せい 繁盛せい (Hanjyo sei Hanjyo sei)

よい よい よーい (Yoi Yoi Yōi)


Baby boar, Baby boar

Let's make baby boar mochi

And make some money, make some money

Yoi Yoi Yōi