NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/8/22


樺崎砲台跡 Kabasaki-houdai-ato The Remains of Kabasaki Battery Fortress

Jp En

The Kabasaki battery fortress was built in 1855, after clearing a mountain and reclaiming the land for construction.  It was built to protect Uwajima Bay. The battery was believed to have been planned and designed by Oomura Masujirou, who is also known as Murata Kuraroku.  He was originally a medical doctor and he later took an active role as a military leader in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate.
After the Ansei Purge, the ports of Japan were opened to foreign trade ships and, as a variety of foreign ships began to arrive at the ports around Setonaikai Inland Sea, neighboring clans were alerted and urged to protect their coast. Among them, the Uwajima clan and the lord Date Mumenari were especially eager to promote Fukoku Kyouhei policy.  This policy seeks to enrich the country and modernize and strengthen its military. The Kabasaki battery was one of the western style batteries constructed for this purpose.
Reclaiming the land from the sea to create the foundation for the battery involved a considerable amount of hard labor.  The fortress covers 505 square meters, with 73 square meters being a storehouse for machinery.  It includes facilities for the firing and storage of explosives as well as five big bronze batteries.
What remains of the fortress is preserved next to the Uwajima City History Museum at Uwajima airport.  This airport was built on land that was reclaimed from the sea in the Showa Period (1985~1988).  The Uwajima City History Museum was once a police station and it was built in the characteristic architectural style of the Meiji Period.
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2007/9/7


福岡の鹿踊・剣舞 Fukuoka-no-shishi-odori Ken-bai The Deer Dance and the Sword Dance in Fukuoka

Jp En

The deer dance and the sword dance are traditional folk performing arts handed down in Izumi-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. The sword dance was introduced to this area in 1649 and the deer dance in 1792. The two dances have been handed down as one set of performing art.

Originally, both of the dances were performed to pray for the repose of ancestors’ souls, but later the deer dance has come to be danced for prevention of natural disasters and a rich harvest and the sword dance for driving away evils and bringing peace and stability to their land.

Several features of the old Shugendo religious style can be found in costumes, ohayashi music, dancing, chanting and movements of these dances. It is said that many of the similar dances spreading in the southern part of Iwate Prefecture and the northern part of Miyagi Prefecture have their origins in these dances. A lot of same features can be also seen in the deer dance handed down in Uwajima City in Ehime Prefecture, which was introduced by Date Hidemune, who was transferred to the Uwajima domain in 1615.
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2006/11/29


天赦園 Tensha-en Tensha-en

Jp En

Tensha-en is a Chisenkaiyu style garden which is a beautiful rock garden with a pond that you can stroll around. The seventh Uwajima Domain head in the Edo period, Date Munetada built this beautiful oasis for his retirement.  Uwajima is located in Aichi prefecture.

The name of Tensha-en, literally “heaven forgives” garden, derives from the Chinese poem Date Masamune, who was the commander in the Sengoku period, composed after his retirement.

'I spent my younger days on a horseNow the world is peaceful and my hair has turned grayMy aging body exists here because God in heaven forgave me and let me liveBut I cannot enjoy living now. Why?'

There are many Fujidana, frames for wisteria flowers to twine around and bloom, in the garden.  Especially beautiful are the white wisteria twining on Fujidana that are also on the Taiko-bridge, the semicircular bridge that looks like a drum. In connection with the Date family insignia, 'Bamboo with Sparrow', many unusual kinds of bamboo are planted around the pond and it is a wonderful sight. At the beginning of June, you can see calamus gest in full bloom. After that, calamus colors the garden. You can enjoy the beautiful flora changing through the four seasons and experience the history with your five senses.

While strolling in the garden, you can take a rest at 'Senei-kan', the place to drink some Japanese tea, which is built in Shoin style, the tea house style established in the Muromachi period.  In the 11th year of Taisho, Showa Emperor, when he was the crown prince, visited here.
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