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Why Persimmons?

Why Persimmons?

Well, for one, they’re gorgeous orange, and two, they’re delicious! This odd little fruit has captured our hearts and our eyes many times, particularly when in Japan in the Autumn months…

Visit the hut called Rakushi-sha outside of Kyoto, and you will hear the story of Kyorai, a disciple of the poet Basho, and his persimmons: Kyorai had in his garden about forty persimmon trees, the fruit of which he hoped to sell to make a little money. One day, a merchant came along and bought the rights to the fruit with the intent to come back and harvest it the next day. Kyorai was self-satisfied in his good fortune. That night, a large storm came down from the mountain, Arashiyama, and in the morning, there was not a persimmon left in the tree and all were scattered on the ground. Both Kyorai and the merchant were vexed by this, but, being a poet and a Buddhist, Kyorai instead turned his misfortune into enlightenment. He named his hut Rakushi-sha, the hut of the fallen persimmon, and carved into a stone there the following haiku to remind himself to be humble:

Kakinushi ya
kozue wa chikaki
Arashiyama

Master of Persimmons / Treetops are close to / Arashiyama (stormy mountain)

In addition to a history of enlightening Buddhist poets, persimmons have also long been known as a tricky fruit. Plucked at just the right moment, they are luscious, juicy, and sweet… but a moment too soon and they are bitter and inedible, and a moment too late they have fallen from the tree to rot on the ground. We see persimmons as the fruit of photography, the ideal moment, plucked from a string of moments that are either too soon or too late makes the perfect photograph, sweet and satisfying.

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