NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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大阪三味線 Osaka-Shamisen Shamisen 

Jp En

The shamisen came to Osaka district from the Ryukyu Islands in 1562. Originally the snake-skin was used to cover the part called do (the body). After arriving in Osaka various remodeling was made in its shape, size, and bachi (a large pick). The covering material was also changed to dog or cat skin. Over the course of time many more improvements and contrivances are made to fit the Japanese genres of music. In the Edo period the shamisen was introduced to Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) and began to be used all over the nation by the middle of the Edo period. Since Osaka was a town full of theatrical arts, the shamisen became a popular instrument for theatrical performances including Kabuki, and wealthy merchants’ wives and daughters also began to learn the shamisen. The wooden materials used for the shamisen are rosewood, Chinese quince or redsander. In Osaka each process of the making is still done by hand. Here the cultural climate and people’s lives have fostered the tradition and it has been handed down for 400 years.
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愚陀仏庵 Gudabutsu-an Gudabutsuan 

Jp En

Gudabutsuan is a historical place associated with Soseki Natsume. It is a two-story-house located in Matsuyama City, Ehime Pref., which Soseki rented in 1893 when he came to teach English at Matsuyama junior high school. A poet Shiki Masaoka also stayed with Soseki in this house because they were good friends. The house was removed and reconstructed in the back of Matuyama Municipal Shiki-Memorial Museum and Bansui-so. Shiki called the house Gudabutsuan, which means a stupid Buddha in Japanese. Many friends who were enthusiastic haiku poets visited Shiki there, and they had haiku gatherings led by Shiki. Soseki also joined them and he was also very enthusiastic about haiku writing. Shiki taught how to write a good haiku to the members of Shofu-kai Haiku School. For Soseki, who was hovering as a literator at this time, haiku was a soft target of his literary expression. Later in 1905, he published his first novel “I Am a Cat” and started to take steps on the way to the great author. We can say the Soseki’s first step to his writing was made from Gudabutsuan.
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日光東照宮(世界遺産) Nikkou-Toushougu(Sekai-isan) Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the World Heritage

Jp En

Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Tochigi Pref. was built in 1617 by the 2nd Successive Shogun Hidetada to enshrine Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. 20 years after its establishment, the 3rd successive Shogun Iemitsu reformed the shrine into today’s gorgeous complex of the buildings. 42 buildings are now designated as National Treasures or national Important Cultural Properties, among which are 35 buildings built at Iemitsu’s modification work, including Honsha (central shrine) and Yomeimon Gate, and many other buildings built before or after the modification or dedicated later by feudal lords, including Five Storied Pagoda and stone Torii Gate. Toshogu was registered as a World Heritage in 1999 as a part of “Shrines and Temples of Nikko.” There are also a lot of famous paintings and sculptures including the “Nakiryu (Crying Dragon)”, a painting on the ceiling which makes a sound like a crying when people clap their hands under the dragon, the “Sleeping Cat,” the most famous sculpture made by Jingoro Hidari. Sculptures of “Sansaru (Three Monkeys)” are put on the crossbar of the Shinkyu (sacred stable), where the horses Ieyasu used in the Battle of Sekigahara are enshrined. A monkey has been thought to be a guardian of a horse since early days. The Three Monkeys hiding each respectively their ears, eyes and mouth, representing the Buddhist doctrine “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” have become a symbol of Nikko.
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