In Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short story "In a Grove", the monk talks about the girl on the horse wearing a type of hat called a 牟子 with the furigana むし. However, this word is not in the dictionary. But I have seen other readings of it as ぼうし。 Could this be the origin of the word 帽子? Or, perhaps 帽子 just overtook 牟子.

I did find the word 眸子 read ぼうし, but it means 瞳孔.

Is there any real connection between these words? Since, 眸子 is written similarly to 牟子 and has the same pronunciation as 帽子. And, both 帽子 and 牟子 basically mean "hat" or at least a type of hat.

  • Not an answer to the question but the pinyin for 牟子 is móu zǐ and it is the name of an ancient Chinese philosopher. むし and ぼうし could be just alternative readings (むし being obsolete nowadays)
    – siikamiika
    Apr 9, 2017 at 9:59
  • That's interesting. móu zǐ does sound (if you stretch it) sort of similar to むし.
    – rgolden
    Apr 9, 2017 at 11:04
  • Didn't notice this before but in kotobank.jp/word/%E7%89%9F%E5%AD%90-1205233#sekai_refs there's a definition of 牟子{むし} as a "hat" quoted from 世界大百科事典
    – siikamiika
    Apr 9, 2017 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


牟子(むし) is a conical hat of straw or reeds with a gauze veil hanging from the brim. The veil is the defining feature: in the story the priest says 「女は牟子を垂れて居りましたから、顔はわたしにはわかりません」 "The woman was wearing a hat with a veil, so I don't know what she looked like". Note that instead of the verb かぶる , which you would expect with headgear, he uses たれる , [transitive] "hang down", which can only apply to the veil. The breeze which momentarily lifts the veil, affording the bandit Tajomaru a glimpse of the woman's face, triggers the action of the story - whatever that may be! I don't think this mushi is related to 帽子 , but in the story the woman's husband is wearing an 烏帽子 (えぼし) "raven hat", so called because it is lacquered black, the colour of the raven

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