NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/8/13


くしふる神社 Kushifuru-Jinja Kurufushi Shrine

Jp En

Kurufushi Shrine is located in Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture.  The shrine is dedicated to Amatsuhikohikohono-niniginomikoto.
In earlier days when there was no building erected on the site, the mountain itself was the subject of worship and it was counted as one of the Eighty Eight Takachiho Shrines.  In 1694, the shrine was built by the lord of the Nobeoka Clan and the people of the village, who were deeply devoted to their faith.
According to Kojiki, the oldest surviving book, Niniginomikoto descended to the top of “Mount Kujifuru” in Takachiho. This Mount Kujifuru is believed to be today’s Mount Kurufuru where, halfway up the side, the Kurufushi Shrine stands.  In the vicinity are some other mythological sites including Shioujiga-mine which is said to be the birth place of Emperor Jinmu’s brothers, as well as theTakamagaharayouhaisho and Takachioho-hi Monument.
Kurufushi Shrine is a tranquil place surrounded by woods. Visiting this shrine, along with theTakachiho Shrine and the Amanoiwato Shrine is called sansha mairi (three shrines visit) and the practice has been popular since the old days.  
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2008/7/28


オオタスセリ Oota Suseri Suseri Oota

Jp En

Suseri Oota is an entertainer born in the Kanagawa Prefecture. Her stage name, also Suseri Oota, is written only in katakana characters, instead of the kanji characters of  her real name. The name, Suseri, came from Princess Suseri, a legendary figure who appeared in the book Kojiki (680 A.D.). The Suseri of legend was known to have been driven to pursue whatever she wanted.
Suseri Oota left university before completing her course to become an actor and she began to study acting at Gekidan En Kenkyuujo. After finishing her studies there, she formed a comic duo. When her partner got married and left the duo, she became a solo performer, often accompanying herself on guitar. She loved to perform on stage but she is also highly regarded as a film and TV actor, scenario writer and essayist. Her most successful book is Dekai Onna (Large Woman).
Suseri is 176cm tall and her shoe size is 26cm.  This stands out from other Japanese women whose average height is 159cm. Her stature adds uniqueness to her image and it gives her a sharp eye for details in everyday life which many people overlook. She strives to free herself and others from social and aesthetic stereotypes.
Suseri Oota is a performer and an artist who is a person of action and who is not afraid to reveal herself to the public.  She is a modern version of the Princess Suseri written about in ancient times.  Her uniqueness and courage have set the course for great success in the future.
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2007/10/1


猿投神社 Sanage-jinja Sanage Shrine

Jp En

Sanage Shrine in Toyota City, Aich Prefecture, is a historic shrine pertaining to the legends referred to in Kojiki (the Records of Ancient Matters) and Nihon Shoki (the Chronicles of Japan). It is said that the shrine was founded in 192 during the reign of Emperor Chuai, but it is not historically verified. The oldest existing record about the shrine says that the deity of this shrine was ranked Ju-goi-no-ge (the second rank of the fith class) in 851. The shrine was the 3rd largest shrine in the Mikawa province in the old times.

The enshrined deity is Ousu no Mikoto, who is a twin brother of Yamato Takeru no Mikoto. According to Nihon Shoki, when Emperor Keiko ordered Ousu no Mikoto to set out for the eastern land to put down the barbarians, he refused it. According to Kojiki, he was killed by his brother Yamato Takeru because he committed a lot of wrongful acts. However, the shrine record says that Ousu no Mikoto was bitten by a poisonous snake and dead in the mountain of Sanage, where he was buried. The shrine also enshrined a left-handed scythe because Ousu no Mikoto was a left-handed person.

The main shrine is located at the foot of Mt. Sanage, 629 m above sea level. Together with the east shrine in the east peak and the west shrine in the west peak, they were generically called Sanage Sanja (three shrines) Daimyojin. The dedication of “Bo-no-te,” a kind of the martial arts using a stick, is held in October every year.
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2007/7/31


榊流永代神楽 Sakaki-ryuu-eidai-kagura Eidai Kagura in the Sakaki Style

Jp En

Eidai Kagura in the Sakaki Style is a traditional folk performing art handed down in the Ogame area in Tomiya Town, Miyagi Prefecture. This kagura has its origin in Aoso Kagura in the Sakaki Style handed down at Aoso Shrine in present-day Miyagino-ku in Sendai City. It is said that it was introduced to this area in 1848. Since then it has been dedicated to the deities at Kashima Atariwake Shrine, or popularly called Ogame Shrine, on the 3rd Sunday of April every year.

In this kagura dance, neither dialogues nor words are employed and everything is expressed only by movements. Dancers wear the Heian-period court dresses and hats and dance elegantly in Kyoto style. The repertoire includes 14 dances about sacred myths in Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) such as “Yamata no Orochi Taiji (Susanoo’s slayer of the eight-headed serpent)” and “Umisachihiko and Yamasachihiko.” The music ensemble is simply composed of Odaiko (a big drum), Kodaiko (a small drum) and a seven-holed Japanese flute.

There is a tradition that only the people living in the Ogame area are allowed to dance. Keeping up this tradition, the dance has been handed down to only 23 families in the area for 200 years until today. It really is a secret dance.
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樫崎法印神楽 Kashizaki-houin-kagura Kashizaki Hoin Kagura

Jp En

Kashizaki Hoin Kagura is a traditional folk performing art handed down in Kashizaki in Monou Town, Ishinomaki City Miyagi Prefecture. It is designated as a prefecture’s folk cultural property.

Hoin Kagura was a genre of the traditional kagura dances performed by the Shugendo practitioners as a part of their ascetic training. Its artistic charm fascinated village people and it became a popular event at the festivals of local shrines when entertainment was scarce.

After the Meiji period, young village people began to perform the kagura dance themselves. As entertainment was still scarce, the dramatic element of Hoin Kagura attracted attention of villagers and it rapidly spread all over the country.

According to word of mouth, Kashizaki Hoin Kagura originates in the kagura performed at Kashima Shrine in Kami Town during the Horeki era (1751-1763). The repertoire includes mythical stories from Kojiki (the Records of Ancient Matters) and Nihon Shoki (the Chronicles of Japan). The music ensemble is composed only of one drummer and one Japanese flute player. The main feature is Himemai (literally meaning “princess dances”) performed by male dancers acting female roles. The elegant dancing of mythical goddess delights the spectators.
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2007/5/11


白兎神社 Hakuto-jinja Hakuto Shrine

Jp En

Hakuto (White Rabbit) Shrine in Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture is a small shrine pertaining to the legend of the White Rabbit in Inaba. The legend has it that once upon a time, a rabbit, who was washed away to the sea by a flood, wished to go back to his hometown, Inaba. He deceived the sharks playing in the sea and almost succeeded in going back home, when he made a slip of the tongue and got all of his fur plucked out by the angry shark. When he was crying, Okuninushi no Mikoto passed by and told him how to cure his wounds. The enshrined deity at this shrine is this white rabbit, or Toyotamahime no Mikoto. The pond in the precinct is believed to be where the rabbit rinsed the seawater away from his body according to Okuninushi‘s advice.

The foundation time of the shrine is unknown but the present shrine building was built in 1896. Covered with the evergreen virgin forest of shii-trees, tabu-trees and ivy trees, the precinct has a mysterious atmosphere. The forest is a nationally designated Natural Monument as the primary forest where the plant life in the coastal area along the Sea of Japan has been well preserved.
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2007/4/16


比婆山連峰 Hibayama-renhou The Hibayama Mountains

Jp En

The Hibayama mountains located in the middle of Chugoku Range and on the border of Hiroshima and Shimane prefectures consist of the mountains with more than 1,200 m above sea level. These mountains and the surrounding areas are known for rare grassland plants and rich natural forest.
The main peak, Mt. Hibayama, has been the object of worship since the ancient times, because it is believed that the tomb of Izanami no Mikoto, a goddess of creation and death written in Kojiki, is located at the top of this mountain. With a pair of yew trees standing as the gate at the south front, the tomb, “Goryo,” gives a solemn and holy impression.
Mt. Hibayama is also a treasure trove of plants. The rich forest includes beech and oak trees. Hydrangea serrata, Japanese hydrangea vine and Tricyrtis affinis come into flower in summer, while Kawaranadeshiko (Dianthus superbus) and Tsuriganeninjin (Adenophora triphylla var. japonica) bloom one after another from summer through fall. As it is very cool even in summer (10 ℃ on the average), the Hibayama mountains are visited by a lot of hikers.
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2007/3/9


垂仁天皇陵 Suinin-tennou-ryou Suinin Tenno-ryo, Emperor Suinin’s Tomb

Jp En

Suinin Tenno-ryo located in Amagatsuji Nishi-machi, Nara City, Nara Pref. is presumed to be the tomb of Emperor Suinin, who was the 11th emperor of Japan referred to in Kojiki and Nihonshoki. The formal name of the tomb is “Sugawara Fushimi Higashi Ryo Horai-yama Kofun.” Although different Chinese characters are used now, the name “Horai” originally derives from Mt. Horai, where sages enjoy eternal life. The town to the north of the tomb is also named “Horai-cho.”The tomb is a keyhole-shaped kofun (Imperial tomb) with a square front and round back. The total length is 227 m. Surrounded by the water moats, the hill of the kofun looks very beautiful. A small islet in the south is said to be the tomb of Tajima-mori, who the emperor sent to Hitachi province to fetch everlasting fruit. This is the place filled with mystery and wonder of Japan’s mythological ages.
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