Ondrej Hybl was born in 1977 in Czech Republic. He studied Kyogen Ookura style, the traditional Japanese theater, under the influence of Shigeyama Sengorou. In 2000, he started studying at Charles University Graduate School of Philosophy. In 2002, he enrolled in Doshisha University Graduate School of Letters as an exchange student. He began studying Kyogen under Kyogen Master, Shime Shigeyama.
After graduating with a master’s degree from Doshisha University in 2005, he further moved his study and is currently studying for his doctorate at Oosaka University Graduate School of Letters. At EXPO 2005, Mr. Hybl was recognized by the Czech Republic government for his work and contribution as a representative of Czech Republic.
Mr. Hybl, who became fascinated with the Kyogen world which is a quintessential traditional Japanese performing art, became the first Czech Kyogen pupil.
He says that Kyogen requires technique to make people laugh, but that the laughter is not cheap. It is a humor that is kind to people.
Mr Hybyl adds “When people laugh, the boundary between countries disappears. Now that Kyogen is recognized as a world heritage art form, Kyogen has become a valuable asset for people all over the world. Kyogen, which has deep roots in the ancient Japanese world, has the potential to make people in the world rich inside.”
The character 羊 shows the form of a 'sheep.' It can often be seen as an element in Kanji. The reason for this is that in antiquity sheep were often used in rites. 'Sheep' stands out among Kanji with abstract meanings like 善 'good,' 美 'beauty,' and 義 'justice.' The character 'bi' 美 ('beauty') shows the whole body of a sheep. While 羊 shows the upper part of a sheep including the horns, in 美, its lower body including the hind legs are added. A person who possessed sheep was already considerably wealthy.
In the world of polytheism one tries to receive the favor of gods by beautiful and precious offerings. It was believed that offering a dog to the highest god was most effective. Offers to receive godly favor became especially important at the time of trials. As trials took the form of an ordeal by the gods, both parties submitted a sheep to be variously tested by the gods.
The origin of Shirakawa Kanji science follows the idea that characters were formed and developed as a means of communication between gods and man. From this standpoint, beauty has to be acceptable to the gods, or warranted by the gods. Interestingly, the Biblical idea of offering a sheep to God can also be found in Gospel St John 1, 29 and I Corinthians 1, 7.
Oi-ike Pond is a 9.2 hectare artificial pond located in Okusa in Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture. The water is fed from the Hirota River, a tributary of the Yahagi River. Constructed in 1943, it is the largest agricultural irrigation pond in the prefecture.
There is a golf driving range on the side of the pond, where golfers can enjoy dynamic shooting toward the water of the pond. The area around the pond is a famous cherry blossom viewing spot. The upstream area of the river is dotted with mudslide control dams.
The pond is not only used for agriculture but also provides disaster control measures, habitat of various wildlife, the communication place for local people and the place to get contact with natural water. It is a precious municipal property that is indispensable for the local communities.
Hakone wood mosaic work and wood marquetry are craftwork made in Hakone-machi, Kanagawa Pref. This craft began at a village in the mountains of Hakone in the late Edo period. Later in the middle of the 19th century, the skills to create the repeated geometric patterns of the marquetry were established. This marquetry is well known for its extremely fine handwork and also as the only craft of its kind in Japan. The mountains in Hakone are one of the few places in Japan where there are so many different species of trees. The rich variety of timbers and the natural color of each wood are fully utilized to create geometric patterns of the mosaic work. In the marquetry, natural wood with different colors are joined to express various pictorial patterns. At the present there aren’t many craftsmen who have mastered this skill, and most of the items are made by some government recognized Master Craftsmen. Hakone Wood Mosaic Work and Wood Marquetry are the traditional handicraft unique to this area and at the same time very precious cultural property.
Jyuroku-rakan-iwa (16 Rakan Rocks) is an area of huge statues carved from rock in the Yuza district of Akumi in Yamagata Prefecture. It has been designated as one of Japan's top 100 historic cultural treasures by the Japanese Fisheries Agency.
Jyuroku-rakan-iwa is carved from volcanic rock that erupted many thousands of years ago from Mt Chokai, a mountain that spans Yamagata and Akita prefectures. Lava from the cone of the volcano flowed into the Sea of Japan and hardened. It was not until many years later that statues were carved out of the rock.
The idea of the statues came from Osho Kankai of Kaizenji Temple who wished for a memorial and a monument to pray for the safety of fishermen and for the peace of the souls of those who had died at sea. The statues were carved by local stonemasons over 5 years. Of the 22 statues, 16 are called 'rakan' (Buddhist disciples) while the rest are Kannon and Buddha.
Because the rock protrudes into the Sea of Japan, they are heavily weathered by wave, wind and snow. But this again may be why the statues make the observer feel the long history and mysteriousness of the guardian gods.
Fishermen's Memorial (Gyomin Gijinzuka), located in the town of Minato, Imizu, Toyama prefecture, is dedicated to the memory of two Hojozu fishermen, Saganoya Kuemon and Arashiya Shirobe, who died for a just cause.
The history of this memorial dates back to the Edo period when unscrupulous merchants dominated the fishing business for their own profit. Kuemon and Shirobe with 400 fishermen complained to the government. Later these two were executed as so-called ringleaders of this 'Bandori Revolt'. Their revolt did lead, however, to an improvement in the treatment of fishermen and this memorial was built to commemorate the two 'Sons of Righteousness who reformed the society'.
The memorial has been designated as one of 100 Historical Cultural Assets of Fishing Villages that Should Be Protected for the Future, by the Fisheries Agency in 2006.
The House for Castle Guards (Oshiroban Yashiki) was a residence for samurais of the Kishu domain. It is located in the town of Tono, Matsuzaka City, Mie prefecture.
The House for Castle Guards was built in the third year of the Bunkyu period and 20 guards of Matsuzaka Castle and their families lived there. It consists of two main buildings, a front garden, a patch, Nanryu Shrine and a mud-walled warehouse, surrounded by Maki-fences.
The two main buildings of the house are designated as an Important Cultural Asset. The mud-walled warehouse is a Cultural Asset designated by Mie prefecture.
The descendants have maintained the house and they actually live there. There are very few samurai group houses still existing in Japan and no other has the structure of two buildings with a lane between them.
Matsuzaka City has borrowed one building and renovated it, and it has been open to the public since 1990. This is an unusual historical space that has been silently passed down to us complete with Maki-fences and stone paving. Row houses such as these are often seen in samurai dramas, and show that the taste of the Edo period is still attractive today.
The region around Hikita, Higashikagawa, Kagawa Prefecture, formerly a castle town, was where Hikita castle once stood.
Hikita Castle was built by Ikoma Chikamasa, a general who played an active part during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Today, only the slight remains of the castle walls are evident at the site.
Hikita is known for its manufacturing of soy sauce. The Sano Family's Izutsuya store, the Okada Family's Kamebishiya store and the Kusaka Family's Daishoya store were run by three successful and wealthy merchant families who were called the Hikita Gosanke (Hikita's big three merchants). The estates of these three merchants and private houses from the Edo period still remain. Many kinds of stores can be seen within the renovated kyuu-Izutsu-yashiki. A Kamebishiya, situated to the north of the Izutsu-yashiki, stands out from the rest of the buildings with its tiled roof and red walls. By walking to the south of the town, the majestic gate to the estate of the Hikita family can be seen, and in front of that, is the old Hikita post office. Compared to the long row houses seen in the town, the post office is built in a Taisho modern style, with its distinct octagonal windows positioned in an orderly line.
The scenery and the distinct atmosphere created by the buildings of Hikita help communicate the history of the town without leaving anything behind.