NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/7/28


鎮西大社 諏訪神社 Chinzeitaisha-Suwa-jinja Chinzeitaisha Suwa Shrine

Jp En



Suwa Shrine is located in Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, and it is also commonly known as Chinzeitaisha.  This shrine is the main shrine in Nagasaki that honors the Suwa, Morisaki and Sumiyoshi Deities.
    During the Koji Period (1555~1557), a part of the holy spirit of the deity at Suwa Shrine in the Shino region was transferred to a newly-built Suwa Shrine in Nagasaki.  Oomura Sumitada, the local lord, who had been converted to Christianity, however, had donated the City of Nagasaki to the Society of Jesus and so he destroyed almost all the Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in the city.   In 624, due to the efforts of Aoki Kensei, the chief priest of a shrine in the Hizen Karatsu region, the Suwa, Morisaki and Sumiyoshi Shrines were all combined into one shrine.  It was in 1648 that this shrine was built at its current location.  It was destroyed by fire in 1857, but it then restored in 1869 after 10 years of rebuilding. The shrine became as we see it today in 1984, when major repairs were done to commemorate its 360th anniversary.  
The Suwa shrine was affectionately called “Osuwa-sama” by the locals and every autumn it holds the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, one of the Three Greatest Festivals in Japan.
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2007/7/23


竹ン芸 Taken-gei Takengei Bamboo Performance

Jp En

Takengei is a traditional folk performance handed down for 250 years in Irabayashi Town in Nagasaki City. It is a series of acrobatic performance on bamboo poles given at the annual autumn festival of Wakamiya Inari Shrine in October.

Accompanied by the festival music of the drums and Japanese flutes, young men wearing white male and female fox costumes climb 10 meter tall bamboo poles and perform acrobatic dances. They do a headstand by putting their legs around the pole, sprawl atop the pole with arms and legs outstretched, or give other fantastic performances one after another. This is the reenactment of foxes, the messenger of the Inari god, becoming lighthearted by the rhythms of the festival music and playing merrily.

The foxes throw down pieces of red and white rice cake and living chickens as the bringers of good luck, at which the spectators rush to pick them up. At the climax scene, one of the male foxes slips off the pole with his head down. As there are no nets or any other protection underneath, all the spectators watch it breathlessly. There are day and night performances given five times for two days in total. Tourists are fascinated by the mystic atmosphere of the night performance.
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2007/7/19


福江みなとまつり Fukue-minato-matsuri Fukue Harbor Festival

Jp En

Fukue Harbor Festival is held on September 30 and October 1 every year on Fukue Island, the largest land mass in the Goto Archipelago in Nagasaki Prefecture. The festival features a variety of events such as the Goto Haiya Soran Dance parade of the citizens, the Enjo-Daiko drum performance and the fireworks display. The highlight is the Goto Nebuta Parade, in which 3,000 citizens and more than ten Nebuta lantern floats participate to attract the spectators along the streets.

The Nebuta Festival on Fukue Island was introduced from Aomori Prefecture in 1977. Since then, a variety of lantern floats such as “The Boat of the Envoys to Tang China” and “Japanese Pirates’ Ship” have been made to join the parade. These themes are peculiar to the Goto Archipelago, where international exchange with China had been promoted since the 16th century. The Nebuta Parade starts at 7:00 PM with the powerful call of “Rasse! Rasse! Rasse-ra!” The group of people called “Haneto” jump and dance around each float.
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2007/5/14


立川裕大 TachikawaYudai YudaiTachikawa

Jp En

Born 1965 in Nagasaki pref. President of t.c.k.w inc.
 
Yudai Tachikawa is a design director who supports the overall design
strategy for many companies as an outside creative consultant. With a base
of product planning and development relating to the field of interiors such
as furniture, lighting and household electrics, he handles the overall
process necessary for design to find its way to the consumer, including
designer selection, marketing research, promotion and publicity.
 
Through his own company he started a ground-breaking project called
“ubushina”  which fuses Japanese traditional handicrafts such as lacquer
ware and bamboo craft with the flair of modern design, producing novel and
original products. He also runs “MD salon”, a member’s trade fair site,
in which buyers can view products primarily submitted by its own designers.
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2007/3/5


さばくさらかし岩 Saba-kusarakashi-iwa Mackerel Rotten Rock

Jp En

A long time ago, a fisherman from Togitsu Beach caught a great amount of mackerels and decided to go to Nagasaki to sell them. When the fisherman was about to pass under this rock, he thought: 'This rock might fall any moment, so I shall wait until it falls'. He waited for a while. And as he waited, the mackerels slowly began to rot. The name 'Mackerel Rotten Rock' comes from this story.

This rock is of hornblende andesitic volcanic propylite. Appearing at any moment to fall, the rock changes its appearance in every season. Today, incidentally, the rock is fixed in concrete, so it will never fall.
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ねはん像 Nehan-zou Statue of the Reclining Buddha

Jp En

Koutou Temple, where this statue of the reclining Buddha reposes, was built for the Arima clan in 1558 (Eiroku). However, the temple was moved to Shimabara when Shimabara Castle was constructed, and became the temple of the Matsukura Family.

The present temple was rebuilt in 1790 (Kansei 2), and there is a painting of the reclining Buddha, which was dedicated as a celebration of the reconstruction. Today's statue of the reclining Buddha was made in 1957 (Showa 32), after the painting's dedication.

The reclining Buddha is 8.6m long from head to toe, and 2.12m high. 'Nehan' is the Japanese word for Nirvana and refers to a spiritual state where the fire of worldly desire has disappeared and wisdom has been accomplished. It is also used as an expression for the dying Buddha (Buddha entering into parnirvana), which is known as the 'reclining Buddha'.

The statue of the reclining Buddha portrays Buddha preaching to his pupils on his deathbed under the paired sal trees of Kusinara, which was near his hometown.
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2007/1/9


長崎 精霊流し Nagasaki Syourounagasi Nagasaki Shourounagashi

Jp En

Shourounagashi (Floating Lanterns for the Souls of the Departed) is a traditional event held in Nagasaki during the Bon Festival (annual Buddhist event commemorating ancestors, July 15th). It is held to send off the souls of the departed on spirit boats.

There are several versions as to the origin of this tradition. The most commonly held one is that it derives from the Chinese Saishunagashi (floating boat) festival. Saishunagashi was an annual ceremony held by Chinese voyagers and navigators who had come to Nagasaki. At this time, they prayed for the repose of the dead.

In Nagasaki, the family of someone recently deceased makes a large spirit boat, which is then carried to the 'passing point' accompanied by banging gongs and firecrackers. The men carrying the boat shout “Doui!Doui!” as they make their way.

These boats used to be sent off to the sea, but this  is no longer practiced today because of environmental problems.

The influence of China on this tradition is very clear. Many people plug their ears because of the earsplitting sounds of the firecrackers. It is also said that the image presented in the well-known song 'Shourounagashi' by Sadamasashi (a famous Japanese artist) differs considerably from the actual event itself.
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2006/12/18


大浦天主堂(国宝) Ooura-tensyu-dou Ooura Cathedral, National Treasure

Jp En

Ooura-tenshudo, or Ooura Cathedral, is the only church designated as a National Treasure and is the oldest remaining wooden gothic-style church in Japan. It is officially named “Church of the twenty-six Saints of Japan” and faces Nishizaka Hill. At this location in 1597, by order of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the absolute ruler of Japan at the time who outlawed Catholicism and persecuted Christians, twenty Japanese Christians and six European missionaries were crucified. Later in 1862, these Martyrs of Japan were canonized by the Catholic Church and remembered by other Christians worldwide. To commemorate the Saints, Ooura Cathedral was built under the direction of the French priest, Bernard Petitjean. When the Cathedral was originally built in a gothic style with three steeples, it had some unusual features such as its front center wall being baroque style and the outer walls being decorated with Namako-kabe style, geometrical patterns of white and darker colors. It was reconstructed in 1879 when all the outer walls were replaced with brick, converting it solely into a gothic-style building.
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