Sairinji Temple is a Shingon sect temple located in Furuichi, Habikino City, Osaka Pref. The principal image is the standing statue of Yakushi Nyorai. According to the temple record, it originates in Kogenji Temple established by the Kawachi no Fumi clan, the descendents of a Confucian scholar Wang In of Baekje.
The excavated tiles and other items indicate that the temple was established at some time during the Asuka period (the late 6th C. to the early 8th C.). The foundation stone of a pagoda placed in the garden of the temple is nearly 2 m tall and over 27 tons in weight. It is the largest foundation stone of a pagoda identified with the Asuka period. The formal seven buildings had been completed by 679 and it is confirmed that those buildings had existed until 743. Most of the buildings and the pagoda were destroyed by the battles in the Warring States period (1493-1573) and Haibutsu Kishaku (the anti-Buddhism movement) in the Meiji period (1868-1912).
As one of the Kawachi Asuka Shichifukujin (Seven Gods of Good Fortune) temples, Sairinji Temple worships the deity Ebisu, who wears the Kazaori Eboshi (a tall hat) and the Kariginu (hunting garment) with holding a fishing rod and a red sea bream. Sairinji is a temple with a long history since the ancient times.
Taue Odori (the rice planting dance) handed down in the Shinjo area in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a folk performing art that is designated as a prefecture’s intangible folk cultural property.
It is said that this dance dates back to the Tenpo era (1830-1843), when the area was attacked by a great famine. The villagers dedicated the dance to Taira Hachiman Shrine in hope for a good harvest. The dance performed by the Edo-period farmers who were in an abyss of despair tells the modern people the importance of overcoming difficulty with a light-hearted manner.
In the old times, the dance was performed on Koshogatsu (little New Year), which refers to the three-day period in the middle of January that includes the 15th day. Today, they are performed at various festivals and on New Year’s Day on the lunar calendar, when the dancing team visit every house in the area and perform it.
The dance is performed by two “Yajuro” dancers and five “Yassaka” dancers. The Yajuro dancers wearing naga-eboshi caps (long cloth caps) and jinbaori jackets gives the words of prologue, shaking the bamboo stick with gold rings called “Shurosuri.” After that, the Yassaka dancers wearing hachimaki hair bands, long jackets and apron-like cloth with small bells on it join the dance and jump around, chanting “Yando Ya Hi!” and beating handy drums altogether.
Yakunin Taue Odori (Yakunin Rice Planting Dance) is open to the public at the summer festival of Johgi Nyorai Saihoji Temple in Okura, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, on July 6 on the lunar calendar every year. It is designated as a prefecture’s folk cultural property as a precious traditional folk performing art that has been handed down in a community. It is said that a mountain practitioner named Genso from Kyoto taught this dance to the people in this area in 1833.
The word “yakunin” used for the name of this dance indicates “to play a part.” In the Yakunin Taue Odori dance, the part called Yajuro is supposed to be a half-ogre man, and the head of Yajuro plays a part of the god of rice paddy. He wears a hikitate eboshi cap (a cloth cap pulled upright) with the sun and moon marks and a junbaori jacket with the kanji charcters representing Emperor Jinmu (Japan’s first emperor) on the back and join the rice planting dance danced by women dancers called “Saotome,” exchanging the words of compliment and responses with each other.
The words uttered by Yajuro and the song and movements of Saotome dancers are typical to this rice planting dance, which can’t be seen in any other similar dance in the country.
Daisenji Momiji Matsuri (Colored Maple Leaves Festival) is held at Daisenji Temple at the foot of Mt. Daisen from the end of October through the early November, when the mountain is covered with red and yellow autumn leaves. The festival features various events such as the parade of Sohei (warrior monks) and the Goma fire ritual on October 29 and the Sohei-daiko (warrior monks’ drum) performance on November 3.
The most attractive event is Chigo-Gyoretsu (the procession of children in fancy attire) held on October 29. The children aged from 3 to 5 wearing the matching Heian costumes and putting on the Heian-style cosmetics walk through the precinct. The boys wear a stiff hat of lacquered gauze called the Eboshi, while the girls wear a crown with a phoenix bird and bright metal pendants called Tenkan. Their cute procession is a photogenic subject of the photo contest, which is held during the festival.
The Chorei-beshimi mask represents Kumasaka no Chohan, who was a mighty thief in the Noh play “Kumasaka” and “Eboshi-ori,” both of which tell the story of Ushiwakamaru beating Kumasaka no Chohan in the Heian period (794-1192). The climax of “Kumasaka” is the vigorous fighting scene of Ushiwakamaru vs. Chohan. This mask is characterized by its great, round metallic eyeballs with large holes for pupils protruding from beneath the forehead. It has a wide flattened nose and broad mouth, which look even humorous. As a whole, it gives a vigorous and comical impression and successfully represents the dauntless mighty thief.
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.
The Flower-Hat Festival (Hanagasa Matsuri), which takes place in Yamagata Prefecture, is known as one of the four largest events to take place in the Tohoku area. The festival takes place annually in August.
The cry of the dancers in the parade, 'Yassho! Makkasho!', and the spirited beat of the hanagasa-daiko drums can be heard during the festival. It is one of Yamagata prefecture's symbolic summer events and draws over a million visitors.
For a week from August 5th, dancers wear hanagasa hats with artificial safflowers on them (the safflower being Yamagata's prefectural flower), and dance along the main streets (for about 1.2km) of Yamagata city.
The Hanagasa Ondo song, which is sung as 'sorota sorotayo' etc., derives from the 'dotsuki' song, which was sung in the Meiji and Taisho periods in the Murayama area. The basic style of dance is 'typical Japanese dance', however, nowadays the advent of dances for men has changed the form of the 'buyo'. Moreover, elements from Westerns dance forms are added, and the new dance forms are slightly different. For Japanese who love festivals, it is an event that they should definitely join.
Tie-dyeing is seen everywhere in the world and it is said to have been originated in India or China. It was introduced into Japan in around the 7th century and the records on this technique can be found in the Nihonshoki and the Manyoshu. From the Muromachi period through the early Edo period, a variation of tie-dyeing called Tsujigahana became very popular. As the patterns made by knotting look like spots of a deer, the fabric has been called Kanoko Shibori (fawn spot tie-dying). Kanoko Shibori was at its peak in the Genroku era (1688-1703), when sou-shibori (tied and dyed entirely), tie-dyed fabric with embroidery, and Shibori Yuzen (Yuzen painted patterns on tie-dyed fabric) were made. There are more than 50 tying techniques such as Hitta shibori (entire tying), Hitome shibori (linear tying), Kasamaki (bound) shibori, Nuijime (stitched) shibori, and Boshi shibori (tied and capped). The combination of these various tying techniques with exquisite binding and clear color contrast creates three-dimensional gorgeous patterns. This is nothing other than traditional beauty.