NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/3/7


木ノ下駒 Kinoshita-goma Kinoshita-koma Wooden Horse Toys

Jp En

The Kinoshita-koma wooden horse toy is a traditional handicraft handed down in Kinoshita in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. Kinoshita-koma, along with Yawata-goma of Aomori Prefecture and Miharu-goma of Fukushima Prefecture, are known as the three best wooden horse toys of Japan.

The origin of the Kinoshita-koma wooden horse toy dates back to the Heian period (794-1192). The Tohoku region has traditionally been a horse-breeding area and horses were indispensable for military affairs and agriculture in the old days. It is said that the provincial governors of this region always dedicated horses to the Imperial court whenever Komahiki (the horse exhibition) was held at the Imperial palace. When a horse was dedicated, a horse-shaped wooden ornament was put on the harness around the neck. Later, people began to make wooden horses modeling after this ornament.

Thos wooden horses were sold at the festivals of Mutsu Kokubunji Temple or Hakusan Shrine as the talisman to protect horses and drive away evils. Gradually, they became a popular souvenir item for temple and shrine visitors and farmers began to make them during the agricultural off-season. Their cute figures attracted attention of travelers and they became known all over the country.
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2008/1/28


揖宿神社 Ibusuki-jinja Ibusuki Shrine

Jp En

Ibusuki Shrine is located in Higashikata, Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The enshrined deity is OOhirumemuchi-no-mikoto.
According to the shrine’s record, the shrine’s history dates back to 706 when a shrine was built to honor the visit of Emperor Tenchi and was named Katsuragi Palace.
In 874, due to the great eruption of Mt. Kaimondake, the spirit of the shrine was transferred to Hirasaki Shrine and was renamed Montake-shinguu or Montake New Palace. It was after the Meiji Restoration that the palace received its current name, Ibusuki Shrine.
The shrine has been worshiped as the general shrine deity of Yabusuki area, primary deity of local reclamation and guardian deity of sailing and business prosperity.
The main building seen today was built by Shimazu Narioki in 1847.
In the precinct stand eight gigantic camphor trees which are estimated to be over 700 years old. The whole area is known as Ibusuki’ god forest and designated as a natural monument by Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ibusuki Shrine is the historical shrine that had been deeply venerated by the successive heads of the Satsuma Clan.
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2007/12/25


CARNA Kaana Carna Folding WheelChair

Jp En

Carna was named after the Roman goddess who had power over entrances and exits and was considered a guardian angel of daily life.
Carna folding wheelchair, which was completed after eights years of prototyping, has a jaunty and stylish design giving it a feeling more like the newest pair of sneakers. With light weight titanium being utilized for the frame, the Carna can be folded down into a compact size. It is designed to be finely adjustable to fit different needs and body sizes. Above all, a user will be comfortable using the chair for extended periods of time. It can be said that this wheelchair becomes the legs of the user.
Carna folding wheelchair is the permanent collection of Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
The Carna will become like a trusted guardian and it plays an important role to support the user’s everyday life, just as the word means.    
■Carna
・H86 x W61 x D90 cm
・9.5kg (seat 3kg)
■Design Director
Kazuo Kawasaki
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2007/10/15


金刀比羅宮 Kotohiraguu Kotohira-guu Shrine

Jp En

     Konhira-guu is a shrine built halfway up Zouzui-zan Mountain in Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa Prefecture.
     Like Oise-mairi, which was a pilgrimage to Ise Shrine and a popular leisure time activity among common people during the Edo period,  Konhira-mairi also drew many visitors from all over the nation.
     Konhira-guu Shrine is worshiped as a deity of shipping and seafarers and dedicated to Oomononushino-kami.
     Konhira-guu was recognized as a shrine in 1010 following the restoration of its main building and torii by Fujiwara Saneaki by order of the emperor.  The shrine was known as Konhira-daigongen prior to the Meiji period.
     In the middle of the path to the shrine stands a grand gate built by Matsudaira Yorishige, an elder brother of Mito Mitsukuni and the first lord of the Takamatsu Clan.  After the gate there is a stone stairway with 365 steps leading up to the shrine.
     Inside the shrine is Asahino-yashiro, made from Keyaki trees which has Dou-gawarabuki tiles and a Nisou-irimoya style roof. The building is a designated Important Cultural Property. After passing Yashiro visitors arrive at the imposing main shrine.
Konhira-guu is one of the most famous sites in Shikoku.
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2007/10/4


大瀬神社 Ose-jinja Ose Shrine

Jp En

Ose Shrine is in Nishiura Enashi in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. As it enshrines Hikitajikara no Mikoto, it is formally named Hikitajikara no Mikoto Shrine. It is also called Ose Myojin Shrine.

The origin of the shrine is not identified, but, according to one story, the shrine was founded because, when an island called Biwashima emerged by the elevation of the sea bottom due to a big earthquake in 684, the local people believed that the god had pulled land from Tosa province (present-day Kochi Prefecture), where a lot of land sank into the sea by the same earthquake.

The enshrined deity, Hikitajikara no Mikoto, is known as the guardian god of the sea and has been worshipped by fishermen in Suruga Bay. A lot of Ema-plates depicting fishing activities in the old days and model fishing-ships made by ancient fishing people preserved at the shrine. These votive items are considered historically precious and prefecturally designated as a tangible folk cultural property.

Kami-ike Pond in the precinct is counted as one of the Seven Wonders in Izu because it is a fresh-water pond in spite of being located just by the sea.
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2007/8/30


大洗磯前神社 Ooarai-isozaki-jinjya Oarai Isozaki Shrine

Jp En

Oarai Isozaki Shrine located in Oarai-machi, Ibaraki Pref. is said to have been founded in 856, when political turmoil and frequent earthquakes confused people, Okuninushi no Kami descended to this place to cease the turbulence and build a peaceful nation. During the Eiroku era (1558-1569) all the buildings were destroyed by a war fire. Later in 1690, the reconstruction works stared under the order of Tokugawa Mitsukuni, and during the rule of his son, Tsunaeda, all the structures including the Main Hall, Haiden Hall (oratory) and Shin-mon Gate were completed. The present halls and the gate have existed since this reconstruction, which are considered to be the precious cultural properties to represent the early Edo-styled architecture. Enshrined Okuninushi no Kami is worshipped as the deity of business success, family safety, traffic safety, evil avoidance and bringing happiness, attainment of desires, and the deity of sake brewing and healing illness.
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2007/8/9


今山八幡宮 Imayama-hachiman-guu Imayama Hachimangu Shrine

Jp En

Imayama Hachimangu Shrine is located at the top of a hill, which commands a view of Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Enshrining 10 deities, the shrine is worshipped by local people as the guardian god of the city. It is the largest shrine in the northern part of the prefecture

Going along the front approach, which is surrounded with densely grown trees, you will see the two-storied vermillion main gate standing atop the steep stone steps. The huge precinct is dotted with several historic shrine buildings including the impressive Honden hall. The stone statues of Chinese lion-dogs on either side of the entrance of the main hall tell of the shrine’s long history.

It is said that Tsuchimochi Naotsuna, the local lord of this area transferred the deity of Usa Hachimangu Shrine (in present-day Oita Prefecture) and founded this shrine in 750 as the god to guard the ominous direction of the Castle. According to the book “Usa Kagami,” this area was a part of the territory possessed by Usa Hachimangu Shrine and annual tribute was collected by the shrine. As Usa was far away from the town and it was very difficult for local people to visit Usa Hachimangu Shrine, the foundation of Imayama Shrine was welcomed by local people. The shrine had been protected by the successive lords of the domain during the Edo period (1603-1868).
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2007/8/7


仙台 東照宮 Sendai Toushou-guu Toshogu Shrine in Sendai

Jp En

Toshogu Shrine in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, was founded in 1654 by Date Tadamune, the 2nd lord of the Sendai domain. Enshrined deity is Tosho Daigongen, namely Tokugawa Ieyasu.

In 1649, Tadamune applied for the permission to build a Toshogu shrine to the 3rd Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, to express his gratitude to the Shogunate for having lent 18,900 kg of silver when the domain was suffered from a catastrophic flood. He decided on the present place as the construction site because it was where Tokugawa Ieyasu stayed with Date Masamune, the founder of the Sendai domain, in 1591, when they were on their way back home from the inspection tour on the rebellion by the Kasai and Osaki clans.

Toshogu Shrine was worshipped as the guardian god of the Date family during the Edo period (1603-1868) and given generous protection from the domain as the second most important shrine after Shiogama Shrine.

The historic importance of the structures such as Honden (the main hall), the Karamon gate, the see-through fence, the stone torii gate, the stone lantern and the Zuishinmon gate is highly esteemed and all are nationally designated as Important Cultural Properties. The beauty of these structures is known nationwide and a lot of tourists come to visit the shrine especially on the anniversary of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s death, April 17, when the annual festival is held at the shrine.
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