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I often hear 春風【はるかぜ】(or, much less often, 春風【しゅんぷう】) used to describe the characteristically windy weather of early Spring.

I was also certain I had heard it used on occasions as a figurative expression, to mean something akin to "Spring cleaning" or "Spring renewal".

However, when I look in both bilingual or Japanese dictionaries, I cannot find any such additional definition.

EDICT gives:

春風 [はるかぜ] (n) spring breeze

春風 [しゅんぷう] (n) spring breeze

And Wikipedia:

春風(はるかぜ)は、春に吹く風のこと。

Did I dream this figurative meaning? Is it merely understood and self-explanatory, but not widely accepted as part of the definition? Has anybody ran into a non-meteorological use of the expression?

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Where did you hear it? Do you mean the discounts at shops that you frequently see in spring? –  sawa Apr 4 '12 at 1:13
    
@sawa: not really sure where and how. Which is why I was trying to track down a reference. I guess discount signs might be one possibility... –  Dave Apr 4 '12 at 1:17
    
For consideration: In Chinese there is one poem and there is one part: 野火烧不尽,春风吹又生. Which roughly translates to "is unable to be completely destroyed by fire; it grows again as the spring breeze comes." This matches your understanding of "spring renewal". –  Flaw Apr 4 '12 at 2:58
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I am not familiar with the English expressions you mentioned. Does “spring cleaning” refer to “the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house in the springtime” as stated in the Wikipedia article? If so, I do not think that the Japanese word 春風 has that meaning. In Japan, thorough cleaning of a house (大掃除) is usually associated to the end of year, not springtime. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Apr 4 '12 at 11:46
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From just searching around online... it does look like 春風 can be used in combination with something like 新しい+名詞 to convey the sense of "a new beginning." If I can find a more formal example of this... I'll try writing an answer later. –  summea Apr 4 '12 at 20:25
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It might not quite be the same figurative use... but according to goo辞書, 春風 (at least when paired with 駘蕩{たいとう} [peaceful or calm],) can also imply a sort of refreshing calm, peaceful state:

2 物事に動じないで余裕のあるさま。ゆったりとのんびりしているさま。1

1 goo dictionary source

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