If you’ve done any research at all about Oku Hanako, you’re bound to have come across the number 09875 at least once. But what does it mean?
The number 09875 bugged me for months. Imagine my relief when my friend finally figured it out!
It turns out that ‘09875’ spells out Oku Hanako. It’s a popular thing in Japan to use numbers to cleverly spell out words. In this particular case, you’d take the first syllable of a certain reading of each number, and put together, it spells out “Oku Hanako”:
- 0: o / お ; borrowed from English
- 9: ku / く ; from ku / く / 九
- 8: ha / は ; from hachi / はち / 八
- 7: na / な ; from nana / なな / 七
- 5: go / ご ; from go / ご / 五
“O KU HA NA GO” = “Oku Hanako”. go / ご is just a voiced ko / こ (more about voicing in a future post about kana); it’s close enough.
There you have it: 09875 is a clever way of writing “Oku Hanako”.
It finally makes sense now why the “875 BOX” special edition of the Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters- collection was referred to as the “Hanako box”.
Hanabi / 花火 , her indies single originally limitedly released in 2004, was re-released on August 7, 2009 at 5pm (09/08/07 5pm). That day was called Oku Hanako Day[jp] (“Oku Hanako Festival celebrated every 100 years!”), for an obvious reason. The day featured a live concert as well as the re-release of Hanabi.
The next Oku Hanako Day is purportedly July 5, 2098 (2098-07-05).
09875 is used everywhere. Now you can look at that number and smile, because now you know its clever meaning.