NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/8/1


佐渡 たらい舟 Sado Tarai-bune Sado Tarai-bune (Tub Boat)

Jp En


Sado Tarai-bune or tub boat is a traditional fishing boat that was developed in Sado city, Niigata prefecture. It was in the early Meiji period when tarai-bune, made from a washtub, first appeared and they are still used for fishing in some places, although they are regarded as quite unusual among the fishing boats used in coastal areas.
The coastline of the Ogi peninsula in Sado is covered with many sunken rocks and small inlets and it has long been a source of kelp and turbans. There tarai-bune have been especially effective as they have a tight turning circle.  In this area, tarai-bune were once so important that they would be part of a bride’s wedding trousseau.
At Yogi Port, there are some tarai-bune for tourists to ride or row.
When operating the boat, people are advised to stand the T-shaped paddle upright and, while looking at the desired destination, row the paddle as if they were drawing the number eight.
Sado tarai-bune are a traditional and practical fishing boats that were born of necessity,  in response to local geographical features.  

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2007/10/9


功雲寺 Kouun-ji Kounji Temple

Jp En

Kounji Temple located in Tsukui-cho, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. In 1408, a small hermitage named “Koun-an” was founded in a village of Oi (present-day Tsukui-cho Oi) behind Tsukui Castle (present-day Tsukuiko-Shiroyama Prefectural Park). Later in the Warring States period (1493-1573), Naito Kagesada, the castellan of Tsukui Castle, relocated it to the present place and built the temple. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Kounji Temple was a sub-branch temple of Soneiji Temple, which was appointed as the registrar (Kanto Sorokushi) and the head of the three head administrative temples (Kan-Sansatsu) of the Soto sect in the Kanto region. The temple was so flourished as to be feoffed with the land of 50 koku of rice and the Main Hall, Kaizando Hall, Hakusando Hall and the bell tower stood in the large precinct.

In back of the Main Hall are Muhoto pagodas (priests’ tombs) with Hokyointo (three-tiered stupa pagoda) in the center, which is supposed to be the tomb of Kagesada and his wife. The pagodas are surrounded with the toms of the family of Moriya Sadaiyu, the local governor, Baba Sado, the castle substitute, and Shimazaki Norinao, a former retainer and Sodai-Nanushi (the officer delegating nearby villages) of Tsukui area. Kagesada’s tomb is designated as a Cultural Property of the town.
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2007/9/4


無名異焼 Mumyoui-yaki Mumyoi Ware

Jp En

Mumyoi ware is a type of pottery made of mumyoi clay, which contains ferrous oxide and is obtained near the ancient goldmine on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture. Originally, mumyoi was used for medical purposes such as relieving symptoms of palsy, digestive problems, burns, and helping to stop bleeding.

The pottery was first produced in 1819, when they were fired at relatively low temperature. The large-scale production adopting high-temperature firing was started in 1857. Unlike other clay wares, Mumyoi ware requires extra processing efforts such as raw-polish, a process that polishes the products with cotton cloth before firing, and a process of polishing with sand after firing.

As Mumyoi pottery is fired in a kiln at a high temperature, it becomes exceptionally hard. It is well-known that Mumyoi ware produces a clear metallic sound when tapped. The more it is used, the glossier it becomes. Mumyoi ware is more suitable for daily use rather than for decorative purposes.
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2007/7/23


天領まつり Tenryou-matsuri Tenryo Festival

Jp En

Izumozaki Town in Niigata Prefecture was under direct Tokugawa supervision as “tenryo (Tokugawa Shogunate landholdings)” during the Edo period (1603-1868). It was a prosperous town as the landing port of gold that was mined from Sado Island as well as the traffic center of the Hokkoku Kaido Road that connected Edo and Sado Island.

Tenryo Festival held in October every year in Izumozaki is a gorgeous festival redolent of the prosperity of the town in the old times. A variety of events including the stall food court are held in the area of streets temporarily closed to vehicular traffic. The old houses in tsumairi-style (with an entrance in a gable end) typical to the Edo-period townscape in this area are preserved in a good state in this area.

The main event of the festival is a reenactment of a procession of “Junkenshi (representatives of the Shogun).” On the way of the procession, Junkenshi inspect the disembarkation of gold and silver that was brought from Sado Island and bringing the load into the storehouse and they set off for Edo via Hokkoku Kaido Road on the next day to bring it back to the Shogun.
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2007/1/24


見附島 Mitsuke-jima Mitsukejima Island

Jp En

Mitsukejima Island is a small island, about 30m high, situated off the eastern shores of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture.

Because the island looks like the prow of a ship, it is also nicknamed 'gunkan (battleship) island'. When the tide is out, it is possible to cross to the island on foot. The name 'mitsuke' relates to a story in which the famous monk Kōbō Daishi was traveling through Sado on his way to Noto. The first object that met his eyes was this island. In Japanese, 'mitsuke' means 'found or saw', hence its name.

A shrine located on the peak attracts people involved with fishery. There used to be a spring festival, however it no longer takes place these days. Camping sites and bathing beaches are available near the island. Today, Mitsukejima Island is known both as a sightseeing spot and as a beach for leisure activities.
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2006/12/23


小比叡 蓮華峰寺 Kobiei Renge-buji Kobiei Rengebuji Temple

Jp En

Rengebuji-temple is used by the Chizan sect of the Shingon religion, located in Sado City, Nigata prefecture. It is said that in the first year of the Daido period, 806, Kukai, who started the Shingon religion, established the temple. It is located facing the Demon Gate direction of Mt.Hiei in Kyoto, the northeast direction and considered unlucky, so he named the temple 'small-Mt.Hiei' in order to pacify the spirits. It is one of the three most important sanctuaries of the Shingon, the others being Kingou Temple and Muro Temple. It is said that Saga Emperor in the Heian period prayed there.

In Tokugawa period, it was the biggest temple on Sado island. It is said that mining officials from the Aikawa domain visited to pray there. The gold part of the temple was built in the Muromachi period, and is designated as a national important cultural property along with Kouhou and Kotu.

In the grounds of the so-called Hydrangea temple, about seven thousand hydrangea plants grow.
From June to July every year, the flowers are in full bloom and the view is very beautiful with water lilies and many tourists visit the temple.
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2006/12/20


北国街道 Kokkoku-kaidou The Hokkoku Kaido Road

Jp En

The Hokkoku Kaido Road is the generic name of the main roads in Hokuriku region in the Edo period. There were actually three roads running through this region; the Hokuriku-do Highway, which went to the west from Naoetsu (present Niigata Pref.), the Hokkoku Nishi Kaido (West Road), which linked Seba (present Shiojiri City) on the Nakasendo Road and Tanbajima (present Nagano City), and the Hokkoku Waki Okan (Byroad of the Hokkoku Highway). At the present, this byroad is often referred to as the Hokkoku Kaido Road. The road with a total length of 140 km crossed the whole area of Shinshu region and linked Oiwake (present Karuizawa) on the Nakasendo Highway and Takada (present Joetsu City) on the Hokuriku Highway. This road connecting the Pacific side and the Northern coastal side of the country played an important role as the gold route that carried the gold mined at Sado Gold Mine and the sankin kotai (the system of “alternate attendance”) route of the feudal lords including that of Maeda clan, who were given the fiefs in the Hokuriku region. It was also used for carrying commodities from the Hokuriku region to the Kanto region. The road was sometimes called “Zenkoji Kaido,” because it was used by the pilgrims visiting Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City. At the present, Route 18 traces about the same route as the Edo period Hokkoku Kaido.
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2006/12/18


無名異 伊藤赤水(人間国宝) Mumyoi Itou Sekisui(Ningen-kokuhou) Mumyoui Sekisui Itou

Jp En

Born 1941, Sado Island. Mr. Itou is the fifth generation of his family working with the Sekisui kiln. Today the kiln maintains its long tradition of producing “Mumyoui-yaki” (Mumyoui porcelain), a unique pottery that originated in Sado Island and has nearly 200 years of history beginning in the late Edo period. “Mumyoui” is fine and delicate clay with a reddish brown color extracted from the gold mines of the Sado mountain. Historically the clay has also been used for medicinal purposes. Sekisui Itou (known also as Sekisui V), not being satisfied with the traditional pottery world, developed new clay working techniques that became highly regarded worldwide. The basis of his methods are two unique techniques: Youhen, in which the flame direction is altered to bring about the black and red contrasts and Neriage, the layering of different colors of clay, that produces his signature look. He has been awarded the Prize of the Prince Takamatsu’s  Memorial in the Exhibition of Japanese Traditional Art Crafts and the Prince Chichibu Trophy in the Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition. He was designated as a Living National Treasure and the pottery Mumyoui as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by the Japanese government in 2003. His works are exhibited in many museums worldwide including the Smithsonian Institute and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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