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So, I was watching an anime, whereupon I found the following text (cf. screencap):


This text appears in the context of the character 夜ト trying to find work. I'm having difficulty figuring out what 春夏冬 means. If you just glue the on readings for those three characters together, you get しゅんかとう, which only seems to appear as the name of various establishments. I also found that this can apparently be read in a punny way as あきない (since 春夏冬 is all the seasons but 秋).

I'm guessing that the correct reading of 春夏冬 in this context is あきない since しゅんかとう doesn't fit. But what does that actually mean? I doubt it's 秋がない / 秋ではない / "not autumn", given that that doesn't make sense in context.

This term doesn't seem to appear in any of the standard online dictionary searches (kotobank,, weblio, nor even in zokugo-dict), so I'm kind of at a loss here.

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You should try searching for 春夏冬中. –  Zhen Lin Jan 7 '14 at 9:32
@ZhenLin Ah. That explains it. 春夏冬中 → あきない中 → 商い中 = "doing business". Thanks! –  senshin Jan 7 '14 at 9:49

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The following answer is based on information taken from an earlier answer written by Tokyo Nagoya, which has been deleted by the author.

As you point out, 春夏秋冬{じゅんかしゅうとう} is a reference to the four seasons, and in the case of 春夏冬中, 秋 has cleverly been left off (and a 中 added). Your intuition about the あきない part meaning that there is no autumn is correct. When you add the 中{ちゅう} at the end you get あきないちゅう, which is a homophone of 商い中. This is synonymous with 営業中{えいぎょうちゅう}, or "in business"/"open." It's a kanji pun saying that his business is open.

So we go 秋がない→秋ない→あきない→商{あきな}い+中

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@snailplane So, plagiarism is legal here? –  l'électeur Feb 13 '14 at 3:25
@TokyoNagoya As the bottom of the page says, everything on SE is licensed under Creative Commons with attribution required. That means people can base answers on information from other people, but they must give credit. Plagiarism is not okay. –  snailboat Feb 13 '14 at 4:12

The content below is an exact copy of a deleted answer by user l'electeur.

This is based on the premise that it is a pun. DO NOT read seriously because if it is not a pun, this will be the wrong "answer".

Normally, we say (and we often do) 「[春夏秋冬]{しゅんかしゅうとう}」 to refer to the four seasons, but we have a 春夏冬中 here ---with no [秋]{あき} and an additional 「中」.


商い means "business", "trade", etc. And we still have a 中 to think about.

商い中(あきないちゅう) means "We are open." as you can see below. 「[営業中]{えいぎょうちゅう}」 is its synonym.

So, 夜ト is saying that he is open for business.

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Why did you feel this exact answer needed to be resurrected against the wishes of the author? As far as I can see, ssb's answer covered the same ground. –  jkerian Jan 26 at 2:27
@jkerian This is one of multiple presumable rage-deletions of answers to questions I have posted. On either this post or (I forget which), you as a moderator will be able to see deleted comments as further evidence of the same. If the author has some good reason for wanting this content gone, I'll delete it, but if not, I'd prefer that it stay here where <2k users can read it. –  senshin Jan 26 at 2:35
Does this actually add anything to this specific topic? From what I can see, the answer is 'no'. –  jkerian Jan 26 at 3:02

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