NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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【秋・龝】 Shuu Autumn

Jp En

This character means the season called autumn. The same in antiquity as now, its characteristic, the harvest is which is reflected in the grain-classifier. The part of the character apart from the left part shows the burning of harmful insects.
In the original character form, the fire is positioned below. It is the most effective position for exposing the larvae or insect’s eggs to fire. The original character form can be seen for the first time in the tortoise plastron and bone characters. The proper original character has the 灬 four dots fire element below the 龜 ‘insect’ of 龝 but has now come to be called ‘variant character’ (with a nuance of abnormality). Nevertheless, it shows the original meaning of the character more clearly. From the present Common Use Kanji 秋 the mutual relation of the character elements cannot be correctly understood. It has become an abbreviation which completely excludes the fire’s role of burning harmful insects. In the original character the four dots fire element is appropriately positioned below the character element representing the insect. Agriculture had already considerably developed in the Yīn (Shāng) period, and ashes and excrements were already used as manure. Rice stem borers and locusts could not be ignored. As grown insects easily flee, the fire most probably was rather directed at the larvae adhering to the rice plants or crops. The original character form also conveys a certain symbolic meaning as, there seems to have been a profound relationship to a seasonal ritual.
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滝山寺 鬼まつり Takisan-ji Oni-matsuri Oni Matsuri (Ogre Festival) at Takisanji Temple

Jp En

Takisanji Temple in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. The principal object of worship is Sho Kannon. Oni Matsuri (Ogre Festival) is held to pray for peaceful life and a good harvest in the coming year. It is held on the Saturday closest to February 7th as this is the New Year in the old Lunar Calendar. The festival is famous in the Mikawa region as a traditional religious ceremony to greet the beginning of spring.

It originates in the prayer service performed for Minamoto no Yoritomo in the Kamakura period (1192-1333). The festival was discontinued for some time and revived as an official event of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the era ruled by the 3rd Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu in the early Edo period (1603-1868).

The highlight of the festival is a valiant fire ceremony, in which the demons are being chased away with fire and noise. The men in white clothes are chasing the demons around the main hall while hitting the burning torches hard against the balustrades of the decks. The big bamboo torch placed in the center of the precinct bursts with big noises and fire sparks are falling like powder snow. The fire on the big torch is flaming up as if it is going to burn the main hall. The dance performed by the demons is very gallant. After the ceremony, people pick up the burned-out bamboo branches and bring them home as a talisman to get rid of ill-luck.
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飯坂けんか祭り Iizaka-kenka-matsuri Iizaka Kenka Festival

Jp En

Iizaka Kenka Festival is held for three days from October 1 to 3 every year at Hachiman Shrine in the town of Iizaka in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture. This event has a history of around 300 years. Together with Danjiri Festival in Kishiwada in Osaka and Oyama-Bayashi in Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture, this festival is regarded as one of the “big three” kenka (literally meaning “a fight”) festivals in Japan.

The highlight of the festival is the Miyairi (entering the shrine) held on the 2nd. At the sign of fireworks displayed at 7:00 PM, six festival floats decorated with colorful lanterns gathered from all parts of town and follow the two mikoshi (portable shrine) that start from the tentative shrine called “Otabisho.” Then the mikoshi and floats go through the town accompanied by gallant beat of the drums and powerful calls of the carriers.

The most spectacular point in the parade is kenka (fight). When the mikoshi enter the shrine precinct, the floats deliberately run towards each other and collide to prevent the mikoshi procession. Intense clash of the floats in the repeated violent beats of the drums is a striking spectacle for visitors.
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大入島 神の井 Ohnyu-jima kami-no-i Onyu Island Kaminoi Well

Jp En

Kaminoi is a well in Hyugadomari on Onyu Island, in Saiki Bay, Oita Prefecture. The well is submerged at high tide, but it is a spring of clear water.
Jinmu Emperor stopped at Mimitsu Port in Hyuga during his anabasis to the east. He asked the people there for water but they complained of a shortage of water on the island. Then, the Emperor struck his bow in the ground and said 'Come out, water!'. Surprisingly, clear water began to gush out. This is the origin of the Kaminoi well.

The people of Onyu Island appreciated the water and made a fire tower on the shore to see off the Emperor's ship in the night. This is said to be the origin of the Onyu Island Tondo Fire Festival. This festival is still held every January to pray for everyone's sound health. Torches, over 10m high, are set in the ground and their fierce flames give off strong light making a magnificent sight.
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ヤセの断崖 Yase-no-dangai Yase Cliff

Jp En

The coasts facing the open sea of Noto Peninsula are wild and masculine. There are also a lot of bold cliffs. Among them is Yase Cliff located in Sasanami, Shika-cho, Hakui-gun, Ishikawa Pref. The ledge outstanding over the sea has the height of 55 m. The promenade is arranged along the cliff but there is no banister or anything else to lean on. It looks as if the cliff refuses our human intervention. The sea seen from the ledge is an exquisite view. The ledge is known as the place from which the heroin of Seicho Matsumoto’s novel “Zero no Shoten (Zero Focus)” jumped to her death. There is a monument of the novel in a pine tree grove on the way from the cliff down to Ganmon Cave. In the vicinity of the cliff, there are several other places of interest including Ganmon Cave and Yoshitsune no Funakakushi (hiding place for a ship)
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