無 is the first character form of 舞 ‘dance.’ When following the classification of the traditional ‘Six Categories or Scripts of Characters,’ 無 is regarded as a ‘loan character’ which shares the same on-reading with another character. As, however, the classification method if the ‘Six Categories or Scripts of Characters’ was created to analyze the corrupt forms of the Chinese characters a thousand years after their origination, to think they were invented along these guidelines is a mistaken conclusion.
As the very first stage of Kanji is pictographic, it is obvious that on this stage the meaning ‘nothing’ cannot be expressed. With thought becoming more abstract in later times, therefore, ‘loan characters’ were very useful. Rather than naturally developing, however, ‘loan characters’ are a group of characters that receive their meaning by convention and custom. That 無 is the first character form of 舞 can be known from the tortoise plastron and bone characters. There, it actually is the form of a dancing human being with decorations hanging from both sleeves.
The Lun Yu of Confucius, Chapter 12, has “ … went to the 舞雩 ‘rain altar.’ ”
雩, read ‘u’ in Japanese, means a place for rain dance rituals or sacred music. The meaning ‘nothing, not’ can also be regarded as having its origin in the state of having ‘no rain.’ If understood this way, there is no need anymore to rely on the notion of ‘loan character’ for 無.
Anyway, explanations like “It shows a house burning down thus resulting in the meaning ‘nothing at all’,” which the author once heard in China, are misleading.
Akihisa Kominato is a Shakuhachi player and the third successor to the head of Japanese folk music Kominato Style. He was born in 1978 in Fukushima and is the eldest son of the head family of the Kominato Style. His father is Mitsuru Kominato, a folk singer, and his elder sister is Miwa Kominato, also a singer. He started learning to sing age 5 with his father and soon began playing regularly on stage. In his teens, he studied the traditional shakuhachi playing style called Kinko and, in 1995, began studying under the late National Living Treasure, Goro Yamaguchi. Age 20, he became the third Kominato preserving the Traditional Folk Kominato Style. After graduating from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music majoring in Shakuhachi, he began performing not only Japanese traditional music but also international music such as fusion and bossa nova.
In 2004, he formed a band called ZAN featuring Japanese traditional instruments and made his debut on the mainstream music scene. With the techniques he learned through his association with folk singing and shakuhachi performance, he is pursuing new avenues of expression for shakuhachi players. Also through his involvement with other bands such as AEKA, Priest and Hannya Teikoku he is further expanding his scope and activities. He also plays overseas regularly.
EIZO LCD TV, which has become popular with its simple yet finely refined design and high quality, launched their new line of color LCD HDTV, under the brand name of FORIS.
FORIS HD can be used as both a television and computer monitor. It has a high resolution of more than 720 lines with an aspect ratio is 16:9. Accompanying its high definition, EIZO has developed new techniques which enable FORIS monitors to present a picture which is gentle on the viewer’s eyes.
By applying Pythagoras’ Theorem (3:4:5) to its sound technology, EIZO has succeeded in developing a highly effective and superb quality in both the bass and treble ranges.
It has vivid vermilion Bengal color on its side which is traditionally considered a noble color, making a definite mark of Japanese manufacture.
It is the further evolution of a new information terminal fusing the television and computer.
Yosakoi Matsuri is a relatively new festival. It was created by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kochi Prefecture to cast off economic recession after the Second World War and was started in 1954. It was created with influence from Awa-odori (Awa Dance Festival) in Tokushima Prefecture.
In the festival, Naruko, a percussion instrument used to scare off birds in crop fields, was introduced during the dance performance and became an essential part of the Yosakoi Festival to this day.
In the beginning, the dance followed the Japanese traditional dancing style, but Eisaku Takemae, who was a noted music composer and supervised the festival music, encouraged a variety of arrangements in music and many different musical styles have started to appear. Nowadays, each team devises their own original piece with influences coming from many different genres including samba, rock, hip hop, Japanese Enka, flamenco and Hula dance, which, along with more traditional performances, greatly entertain the audiences.
The word, Yosakoi, is derived from an archaic word of Yosari Koi (Come in the evening).
Chiringashima and Kojima are uninhabited islands floating in the cobalt blue ocean of Kagoshima Bay, to the north of Cape Tara in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. They are a part of Kirishima-Yaku National Park.
Chiringashima is a small island with a circumference of 3 km. During low tide, you can walk to the island via sand bridge. There used to be a dense forest of Japanese black pine trees along the coastline of the island, most of which were damaged by pine wood nematode. It is said that as the pine needles blown in the sea breeze sounded CLINK, CLINK, which is translated as CHIRIN, CHIRIN in Japanese, the island was named Chirin-ga-shima.
Kojima is far smaller island, 320 m away from Chiringashima. Here, a fine black pine forest remains. The sea around the island is a popular fishing spot.
The Homei Shijuhattaki (Forty-eight) Falls is on the upstream of the Hirose River, which runs through Wakaba-ku in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. Water flows down the terraced rocky slopes one after another, forming a basin on every stage. The largest flow was once called “the Bomeki-no-taki Waterfall.” The origin of its name “Homei (Phoenix’s Cry)” is obscure, but there are several theories. One theory states that it was because the overlapping sounds of the waterfall sounded like a cry of a Chinese phoenix.
Off the road from National Route 48, the waterfall is surrounded with densely grown trees. As the waterfall flows at the bottom of the sheer cliffs, only the cool sound of flowing water can be heard from the hiking trail. If you want to see the whole picture of the waterfall, you have to pluck up the courage to lean forward and look down.
The upper part of the waterfall consists of several stages, each of which has a large basin. You will never get tired of looking at the water flowing from one basin down to another, creating the flow of white bubbles. There is a legend that, once upon a time, a heavenly maiden descended from the sky and danced beside the waterfall. Looking at the beautiful flow of water, you might think that it really happened.
There is a pond named Hataorinuma in a quiet atmosphere of the rural suburb in Towa Town, Miyagi Prefecture. The pond was considered a holy place in the old times and neither people nor boat was allowed to get into the pond.
The area was ruled by Nishigori Shinzaemon in the late Azuchi-Momoyama period. He resided in Kosui Castle constructed on a flat hill to the southwest of the pond. In 1590, when the Kasai and Osaki clans rebelled against Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Shinzaemon fought on the side of the Kasai clan and was killed at Sanuma Castle during the battle with the Date clan.
To hear this and holding it disdain to be captured by the enemy, his wife, Nishiki-no-mae, set fire on the castle and walked into the pond and died. Later on fine and windless days, villagers heard the sound of weaving night and day and they began to say a person who heard the sound would suffer from bad luck. Thinking that the late Nishiki-no-mae, who was a good weaver, was weaving at her loom, villagers built a Benzaiten Hall on the side of the pond and prayed for her soul. Since then the sound stopped, it is said.
Today the tragic atmosphere has been completely wiped away and the pond is visited by anglers all through the year.
Three-Storied Waterfall (Sandan-no-Taki) is located in Rarumanai Nature Park in Eniwa, Hokkaido, and is the lowest of three waterfalls in the park.
The waterfall is fed by a mountain stream that comes down from Mt Shimamatsu. From the Rarumanai River the water drops 20m down a cliff, whose three steps give the waterfall its name. While not so big, the waterfall carries a high volume of water and appears powerful. This area was originally a valley, so the sound of the waterfall is amplified to give it a greater roar.
You can see the whole waterfall from a nearby bridge but if you want to enjoy a panorama, you should go down to the lowest dry riverbed. At the riverbed, it is true that you cannot see the first step of the falls, but the overwhelming sight is very refreshing. In autumn, the maple leaves redden and you can appreciate a spectacular and gorgeous view.