NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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絹の道 Kinu-no-michi Silk Road

Jp En

Kinu no Michi, or Japanese Silk Road, is a highway connecting Hachiouji City to Tokyo and Yokohama City of Kanagawa Prefecture and it follows the same journey as today’s Route 16.
Hachiouji City had been known as Souto (translated as the city of mulberry) since old times and thrived with the production of raw silk. In 1859, as Yokohama opened its port to limited foreign trade, raw silk became an important export and Hachiouji became a vital hub for raw silk merchants from Nagano and Yamanashi area.
The road frequently used for the raw silk trade was called Yarimizu-kaidou or Hama-kaidou, but because the road was what the Silk Road was to the Asian continent, it later became known as Kinu no Michi, or Japanese Silk Road.
The road has been recognized for its historical importance and some parts of the road and vicinity were restored and preserved. In Yarimizu region of Hachiouji, there is the Silk Road Museum built inside the ruins of the mansion of a famous raw silk merchant.
The Silk Road is a valuable historical record that has many stories to tell of the silk trade merchants in late Edo period and the Meiji era to this day.
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林家舞楽 Hayashi-ke-bugaku Hayashi-ke Bugaku

Jp En

Hayashi-ke Bugaku (Hayashi Family Court Dancing) is a type of 'kagura' (Shinto music and dance) taught and handed down from generation to generation in the valleys of Nishimurayama County in Yamagata Prefecture. Along with Miyanaka, Osaka Shitennouji, and Naranangungakusho, it is one of the four major kagura, and is designated as an Intangible Cultural Treasure by the country.

First introduced to Japan along with Buddhism via the Silk Road, this dance form took more than two centuries, from the 6th to the 8th, to root itself. Having adopted instruments, flamboyant (usually red) costumes, as well as vibrant masks and vigorous dance steps, kagura was mainly used in Buddhist rites. Hayashi-ke Bugaku is said to be of a 'Tennouji type'.

The master Shoutoku Daishi taught kagura from Nanba Tennouji Temple, and granted surnames to a limited number of kagura performers. 'Hayashi' was one of the surnames. One branch of the Hayashi family moved to the mountains of Yamagata and were chosen to perform rites at Zennon Temple and Tateishi Temple. Far removed from the capital, the style of kagura they performed remained truer to its origins. Even today, after more than 1100 years, Hayashi-ke Bugaku reflects influences from its route to Japan along the Silk Road.
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