NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/3/5


月のお皿 Tsukino-osara Moon Plate

Jp En

Originally Japan had many words to describe the moon according to its changing shape through waxing and waning. They are all elegantly named for the different phases: Shin-getsu (new moon), San-getsu (very fine moon of 2nd day), Mika-zuki (crescent, 3rd day ), Jougen no tsuki (bow shape moon of 7th day), Komochi-zuki (near full moon of 14th day), Tachimachi-zuki ( standing and waiting for the moon to appear, 17th day), Nemachi-zuki (Laying down and waiting for the moon to appear, 19th day), Ariake-zuki (morning moon, 26th day or general name after 16th) and so on.

The Moon Plate created by Mutsuko Shibata is a simple but imposing plate with a beautiful gold drizzled pattern. It has strength in its stillness. With a variety of food and seasonal ingredients available, you can enjoy the rich compliment of the two faces of the plate and food, a luxury in daily life.

You can arrange food to look like a hazy moon, or see a beam from the moon light in the golden drops. Besides being perfect to serve guests, the plate is also a good everyday item.

Dimensions:
Large  W 27 cm x D 27 cmx H 2.5 cm
Small   W 15 cm x D 15 cm x H 2 cm
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2007/12/21


尾張 大野城跡 Owari Oono-jou-ato Ono Castle Ruins in Owari

Jp En

Ono Castle, also called Miyayama Castle, was located at the top of Mt. Seikai in Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture. The castle was resided first by the Ono clan, the descendant of the Owari-Genji family, then the Isshiki clan, and finally the four generations of the Saji clan.

The Saji clan built up Chita Suigun (the naval forces) and played an important role in promoting maritime trade and controlling marine transportation in Ise Bay. Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi placed great importance on their naval power and Nobunaga’s sister and niece were married off to the Saji clan.

Nobunaga’s niece, Ogo (or Oeyo), whose mother is Nobunaga’s sister Oichi, was married to Saji Kazunari, the 4th head of the Saji clan, by the order of Hideyoshi. However, when Kazunari sided with the Tokugawa and Oda allied forces later, Hideyoshi got angry and made the couple get divorced in 1584. Later in 1595, she remarried Tokugawa Hidetada, the 3rd son of Ieyasu and later the 2nd Tokugawa Shogun, and became the mother of his successor, Iemitsu.

The castle ruins site has been arranged into the park, where the two-story donjon and the castle gate were newly constructed. You can command a wonderful view of Ise Bay from the observatory deck on the donjon. The Saji clan is enshrined at Saji Shrine in the ruins site of the watch tower.
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2007/11/15


宝船熊手 Takarabune-kumade Takarabune-kumade (Treasure Ship Rakes)

Jp En

Tori no Ichi, or Tori Fair, is a religious fair that takes place every November and is believed to have originally started at Ootori Shrine in Asakusa. Takarabune-kumade, or Treasure ship rake, is a harbinger of good luck, coming from a belief that rakes gather up good luck and prosperity, and they are available only at the Tori Fair of Ootori Shrine. The Takarabune rakes are currently made only in Yoshida store in Asakusa. The size of the rakes varies from 6cm to 3.4m. The store starts making the rakes immediately after the fair, taking a whole year to prepare for the following years event.
At first, paper is cut using a pattern, then lines are drawn followed by coloring. After the faces of Shichifukujin or the Seven Deities of Good Fortune, are drawn, they are inserted into the treasure ship with other decorations and finely balanced to finish. Drawing faces with their unique looks for the seven deities is the most difficult part. This hand drawing technique has been passed down for years since the Edo period. It is now practiced by Keiko Yoshida, head of Yoshida store, and her daughter, Kyoko.
Takarabune-kumade has brightly colored decorations of the seven deities, treasures and a sea bream. Although it is a rake with the tip of a straw festoon arranged to look more like a bow of a ship, it is created to have the look of a treasure ship. The rake, with its dominant red color, is referred to as a “red type” amulet. Takarabune-kumade is one of the most popular good luck charms in the Tori Fair of Ootori Shrine.
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2007/10/5


秋葉まつり Akiba-matsuri Akiba Festival

Jp En

Popularly called “Chiryu Daimyojin,” Chiryu Shrine in Chiryu City, Aichi Prefecture, was one of the three distinctive shrines on the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). The shrine possesses a lot of precious cultural properties including the Tahoto pagoda, which is thought to have been built in the Muromachi period (1336-1573) and masks for Maigaku (court music), Noh plays and Shishi-mai (lion dance).

Among the renowned festivals held at this shrine, Akiba (Autumn Leaf) Festival in September every year serves as the annual festival of Akiba Shrine, a sub-shrine located in the precinct of Chiryu Shrine. According to the shrine festival record written in 1758, the kagura dance and ningyo-joruri (doll plays) were dedicated as the autumn festival in conformity to the Grand Festival of the main shrine in spring,

The main feature of Akiba Festival today is the display of tube fireworks, which started to be dedicated in 1907. During the day, young men of six towns of the city shoulder the box called “Tama-bako (ball case),” in which the stone representing a firework ball is placed, and valiantly parade through the city, singing “Nagamochi-uta.” When they return to the shrine in the evening, they stand in circle and display dynamic tube fireworks.
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2007/9/13


熊野本宮社 Kumano-honguu-sha Kumano Hongusha Shrine in Natori

Jp En

Kumano Hongusha Shrine in Takadate, Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a shrine associated with Kumano Worship. What is called Kumano Worship is the faith in Kumano Sanzan, a set of three Grand Shrines located in the southeastern part of the Kii Mountain Range in Wakayama Prefecture; Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha. It had spread all over the country in the late Heian period and onward.

Kumano Shrines have become located in various parts of Japan as Kumano Worship spread in the country; however, Natori is the only the place that has three Kumano Grand Shrines. It is said that in the late Heian period, a mountain practitioner visited an old shrine priestess in Natori and passed on a message from Kumano Gongen, the deity of Kumano Sanzan. To hear this, she decided to found the three Kumano Great shrines in Natori in 1123.

Comparing Mt. Takadate (Mt. Natori) to the Kumano Mountains, the Natori River to the Kumano River and Sendai Bay to the Kumanonada Sea, Natori Kumano Sanzan has become the largest-scaled sacred site of Kumano Worship in the Tohoku region.

Kumano Hongusha Shrine is located in the northernmost of the three shrines. Honden (the main hall) is a stately building with a Kokera-buki (thin wooden shingles) roof.

A Deer Dance, which is designated as an intangible cultural property of Natori City, has been handed down at this shrine. It is a traditional dance, in which dancers wear a deer head and carry the red and the yellow flags on their backs. The name of the shrine is written on the red flag, while the four-character idiom of kanji meaning “Hope for a rich harvest” is written on the yellow one.
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神寺不動尊 松景院 Kamitera-fudou-son Shoukei-in Kamitera Fudoson Shokeiin Temple

Jp En

Kamitera Fudoson Shokeiin is a temple of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. It was founded in 1591 by the priest Jitsuetsu.

In those days, there was a pine grove with old palm trees in the area around the temple, which was located between the Tajiri River and the Bijo River. Likening the buds coming out from the ground by the river to bamboo trees, Jitsuetsu said, “This is a very celebrated place, where pine, bamboo and palm trees grow together. I am going to build a temple for ridding people’s bud luck and bringing them better luck,” and named the temple “Baikozan Shokeiin,” which literally means “Pine Landscape Temple in Palm Light Mountain.”

The temple was called Kamitera (God’s Temple) because the ascetic training in the Shugendo method (mountain practice in which Shinto and Buddhism were mixed together) has been performed at this temple. Even after the Meiji period (1868-1912), when the movement of Haibutsu Kishaku (the anti-Buddhism movement) arose, the tradition of Shinbutsu Shugo (fusion of Shinto and Buddhism) has been uniquely handed down at this temple.

The principal image of worship, Kamitera Fudoson, is about 7 m tall and weighs 40 tons. It is the world’s largest clay statue. The statue is made of clay in which the ashes of 210,000 prayer sticks, which were burned for 21 days in the Goma fire kept burning by the priest who was observing a fast, were mixed.
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日向十五夜祭り Hyuuga-jyuugoya-matsuri Jugoya Festival (Moon Festival) in Hyuga

Jp En

Jugoya Festival (Moon Festival), or popularly called “Jugoya-san,” is held on around the 15th day of the 8th lunar month every year in Hyuga City, Miyazaki Prefecture. The whole city is wrapped in a festival mood with a lot of tourists from inside and outside the prefecture.

It is said that this festival originates in the festival of Tomitaka Hachimangu Shrine, which was founded by Nasu no Yoichi and Kudo Suketsune to bolster the morale of the soldiers of their troops, who had come to Kyushu in pursuit of the Heike warriors having escaped from the battle field at Dannoura. The enshrined deity at this shrine was transferred from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura at this time.

On the festival day, the parade of Mitate-zaiku, the flower floats and the dancing teams walk through the city. In the recent years, Hyuga Jugoya-daiko drum performance is added to the festival program, which further warms up the festival mood in the streets.
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2007/8/2


鹽竈神社嘉津良比祭 Shiogama-jinja-katsurai-sai Katsurai Festival at Shiogama Shrine

Jp En

Katsurai Festival is held on December 1 every year at Shiogama Shrine, which used to be listed as the highest-ranked shrine in the southern part of the Tohoku region.

As is also called “Kamimukae-sai (the festival to invite deities),” it originates in the ritual to invite Take Mikazuchi no Kami and Futsunushi no Kami and celebrate their feat of having brought peace and stability to the Tohoku region. Since then, Date Masamune and other powerful warriors who fought for the stability of the region dedicated the rice cake named “Katsurai-mochi” when they made triumphant returns.

Today, the rice cake called “Kabuto-mochi (the rice cake in the shape of a warrior’s helmet)” together with Zoi fish, abalone, pheasant and dried persimmon is offered to the deities and the Yamatomai kagura dance is dedicated. People bring a piece of Kabuto-mochi to their home as a talisman to prevent fires and bad luck and bring safe travels.

At “Naorai,” the feast in which the consecrated offerings of food and drink are consumed by priests and laymen, attendants were served with Zoni (the rice cake soup) with Kiji-mochi, which is made to resemble pheasant meat.
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