NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/2/13


獅子舞 Shishi-mai Shishi-mai Dance

Jp En

The Shishi-mai dance, which was imported from China, spread throughout Japan and has many variations depending on the area.

The shishi (lion) dances to lively music. It is said that there are two kinds of shishi-mai dance: one, unlike its Chinese counterpart, is the 'furyu' shishi-mai, which can only house a single performer instead of a line of men.

In Japan, there are many styles of shishi-mai, with no two styles resembling each other, including several different versions of the 'furyu' and 'kagura' dances.

The head of most shishi is made of wood, but some are made of rice paper or styrofoam. The old Chinese version of the dance originated long ago, while the current version originated in the Qing dynasty to become a competitive sport.

Shishi-mai is performed during every kind of event, including Chinese New Year and the opening ceremonies of new shops. Shishi-mai teams exist in every town.
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2007/2/6


えぼし岩 Eboshi-iwa Eboshi Rock

Jp En

Eboshi Rock (Eboshi: formal head gear worn by Japanese men from the Heian period to the modern era) is a 15m-high rock on the Chigasaki Coast of Kanagawa Prefecture. It is situated in the center of the 30 Ubashima Islands, and lies 1.2km off the coast.

Eboshi Rock is estimated to have been formed around 3~6 million years ago. The layer around Eboshi Rock is the oldest in the Chigasaki area, and seems to be an elevated layer that had accumulated at the bottom of the ocean.

The sea around Eboshi Rock has provided good fishing grounds for a long time, and there were even struggles between the fishermen of Izu and the local fishermen of Owada in the Edo period.

The tip of Eboshi Rock used to be much more like an 'eboshi' than today. The rock had its long tail to the west. However, that tip was lost when the rock was used as target practice by the U.S. army after the war.


Eboshi Rock is still loved by the people of Shounan, and is the symbol of Chigasaki.
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2007/1/25


かんこ踊り Kanko-odori The Kanko Odori Dance

Jp En

The Kanko Odori dance is performed during the Bon festival, at Ise, in Mie prefecture and surrounding areas. It is also known as the Shaguma Odori dance.

The Kanko Odori is basically a folk dance in which the dancers move and bang 'kanko' drums hanging from their chests. Their large and gorgeous headgear and decorations carried on their shoulders are the characteristic costumes of this elegant performance. 10 to 15 people form a circle in this Bon festival dance, which is carried out to commemorate ancestors.

There are two types of dance: one features the decorative headgear called 'shaguma'; the other features bamboo hats decorated with flowers and is an elegant dance. Shaguma is made from glued horsehair and is worn with a set of grass skirts, creating a beautiful and fascinating atmosphere.

The dancers in the Kanko Odori perform in parade, wearing white clothing, carrying the drums and banging them sometimes dancing energetically. The dance is very spectacular and dynamic.
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