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Motif Information
Rōmaji Hamaguri
English Clam Shells
Kana はまぐり
Season Spring
Seasonal Exceptions #
Auspicious Yes
Motif Type Natural

Hamaguri are the shells of the common orient clam (Meretrix lusoria). Found throughout Japan, they are eaten in the spring when they are easily harvested from beaches during spring high tides. Their shells can be made into go stones or hinged containers for cosmetics.

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Hamaguri are especially associated with Hina Matsuri when they are placed as offerings on the the dais before the dolls and also consumed as ushiojiru, a salty soup containing hamaguri still in their shells.

Motif Connotations & Symbolism

Hamaguri are a symbol of marital harmony, as only the two shells that were originally paired together will fit tightly. This property was also used in kai awase, the shell matching game popular in the Heian into Kamakura periods.

Auspicious Nature

Hamaguri are a popular motif at weddings and at Hina Matsuri due to their auspicious meaning of meeting one's destined match.

Common Motif Pairings

Identification & Style Variations

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Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

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In Poetry

Article Notes

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Image Credits

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Authors & Contributors

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