Hahakigi (broom tree) (帚木)
Hokigi (broom tree)
A plant of Chenopodiaceous family. Its stalk is dried to make brooms (hoki) and its seeds are called "tonburi" and are used as food. Also called Hokigusa or Kokia.
A Japanese cypress tree in Fuseya of Sonohara, Shinano Province. Described below.
Hahakigi (The Tale of Genji)
One of the 54 chapters in "The Tale of Genji." It is the second chapter. This chapter is famous for 'appraisal on a rainy night' where the nobilities hold a discussion about women.
Hahakigi was a tree in Fuseya of Sonohara, Shinano Province. It was a legendary tree that looked like a standing broom when one saw it from a distance, but went out of sight as one neared it.
The tree became widely known due to SAKANOUE no Korenori's poem in "Kokin Wakashu" (A Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry): 'Sonohara ya Fuseya ni ouru Hahakigi no Aritote yukedo Awanu Kimi kana (As the broom tree that grows by the lowly hut on Sonohara Plain, manifest to the eye, but beyond arms' reach are you, my love).'
This poem became a metaphor for a lover who pay attention to you even when you came close or a lover you seemed you would meet but you couldn't, and the word "Hahakigi" became the title of the second chapter of "The Tale of Genji" (where the lover Genji couldn't see was Utsusemi (the Lady of the Locust Shell). See 'Hahakigi' (Tale of Genji)). In addition, 'ha-ha' in Hahakigi shares the same sound with 'haha' (Mother), so it was used as a metaphor for a mother that one never met.
The cypress tree named Hahakigi actually existed; today, only the bottom of the trunk can be seen at the back of Tsukimi-do (regarded as the site of Kojo-in Temple built by Saicho (Dengyo Daishi)) in Sonohara, Achi-mura, Nagano Prefecture.