NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/3/25


注連飾り(東北地方) Shimekazari(Touhoku-Chihou ) Shimekazari (Tohoku region)

Jp En

Shimekazari is said to come from shimenawa rope which is used in shrines to mark the boundaries of a sacred area.
In welcoming the New Year, it is hung over the front of the house to mark it as a sacred area. It is also used as a lucky charm to prevent misfortune or evil spirits from entering the house, or to bring long life and bumper crops.
Many areas in the Tohoku region still preserve customs that use, along with shide and daidai, some food to decorate for shimekazari.  This may include such things as mochi (sticky rice), Konbu (kelp), pine needles and fish.
Konbu stands for joy as it sounds similar to the word, yorokobu, (to be happy). Fish is used to pray for good health for the family and, in some cases, to indicate the elevated  social rank of the house’s occupants.  It is also believed to summon a big catch of fish.
The food used in shimekazari indicates appreciation for a rich harvest in the past year as well as hopes for the same in the coming year.
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注連飾り(福岡、宮崎) Shimekazari(Fukuoka,Miyazaki) Shimekazari (Fukuoka, Miyazaki)

Jp En

Shimekazari is said to come from shimenawa rope which is used in shrines to mark the boundaries of a sacred area.
In welcoming the  New Year, it is hung over the front of the house to mark it as a sacred space. It is also used  as a lucky charm to prevent misfortune or evil spirits from entering.
In Kyuushuu, especially in the Fukuoka and Miyazaki regions, the crane is often used as a design on shimekazari. Radially spread bundles of straw are positioned to indicate the wings and tail of a crane and the part that represents the beak is often colored in red. In rare cases, shimekazari may also have a turtle design.
Since ancient times, both the crane and the turtle have been valued as animals that bring good fortune and a long life. Their design has been a fixture at celebratory occasions. Pine, bamboo and plum trees as well as treasure ships are also added to the decoration of the shimekazari, combining, strong wishes for both a happy New Year and a long, healthy life.
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注連飾り(島根、山口) Shimekazari(Shimane,Yamaguchi) Shimekazari (Shimane, Yamaguchi)

Jp En

Shimekazari, a New Year’s decoration, in some parts of the Chugoku region often uses red chilies along with shide, a zigzag-shaped paper streamer, and a bitter orange called daidai.
Chili has been  used as a charm against evil sprits in many regions of the world. In Japan, it is hung over the front door of the house to prevent malicious spirits from entering.  
Plants with thorns or a strong smell are also believed to work against evil spirits. In Setsubun, a spring ritual to drive devils away, some regions have the custom of inserting branches of the holly tree and a sardine head in the front door of the house. Shide are also hung to absorb misfortune and danger from the outside.
The “Shime” of shimekazari means “to occupy” and the shimenawa rope is used to mark the boundary of a sacred area where a God resides and to prevent impurities such as epidemics  from entering it.  It is also used as a seal to prevent good fortune from leaving the same area
The concept of Shimekazari is said to derive from this creation of a sacred space using the shimenawa.
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2007/5/22


うさぎの吊るし飾り Usagi no tsurushi-kazari Rabbit Hanging Ornament

Jp En

Hanging ornaments such as these are known as 'tsurushi (hanging) kazari' or 'tsurushi hina'. These ornaments have been part of traditional culture since the Edo period, and the custom is rooted in the Izu-Inatori Onsen region. During the Hina (Girls) Festival, parents prayed for their daughter's happiness through a thread taken from a piece of old clothing. It is this hina hanging ornament that swings from both sides of the tiered stand used for the presentation of the hina dolls.
   This custom is called 'sagemon' in Yanagawa, Kyushu, 'kasafuku' in Sakata, Yamagata, and 'hanging hina' in Izu-Inatori. Only these three districts have inherited this historical patrimony, documents and photos.
   People entrust their wishes to the ornament. Some 110 ornaments have separate meanings. For example, the red eyes of a rabbit are supposed to have the power of causing and curing diseases. A rabbit is said to be the servant of a deity.
   It is lots of fun to decorate with ornaments that suit each season. Your favorite small objects will colour your life and enrichen your heart.
Magic Garden
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