NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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義経・弁慶伝説 Yoshitsune-Benkei-densetsu Legends of Yoshitsune and Benkei

Jp En

There are many legends about Yoshitsune and Benkei in Mogami district. The 'Yoshitsune Story', supposedly written in the Muromachi period, relates that when Yoshitsune was being hunted by his brother Minamotono-no-Yoritomo and was heading for Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture, he passed through Mogami district in the third year of the Bunji period (1187).

The district around Semi hot springs has many legends and traces about Yoshitsune's masters and servants. For example, the Koyasu-Kannon deity is supposed to have overseen the birth of Kamewakamaru, Yoshitsune's child.

The name 'Semi' has several possible origins: one is that it derives from 'Semi-maru', Benkei's long-handled sword; another is that it derives from 'no-crying semi (cicada)', the nickname of Kamewakamaru, who was reputed to have never cried, even when he knew that he was a son of a fleeing warrior. A third possible source is that it is named for a wounded cicada that was resting on a tree and curing itself in the steam from a nearby hot spring.

There are many tourist attractions in Semi, Mogami, that relate to Yoshitsune and Benkei, such as Yagen Hot Water and Benkei's Inkstone that Beinkei was supposed to have used.
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倶利伽羅不動尊 Kurikara-Hudouson Kurikara Fudouson

Jp En

Kurikara Fudouson Temple is situated near Kurikara Pass, which was made famous by the battle between the Heike Clan and Saso Yoshinaka during the 2nd year of the Eiju period (1183). It is said to be one of the three best fudousons in Japan.

In the 2nd year of the Yourou period (718), at the request of Emperor Genshou, the Indian high priest Zenmui-sannzou-houshi was called upon to spread the laws of Buddhism upon the land. It is said that deep inside the temple's main building, hidden from the public, lies the sword of enlightenment which has a winding black dragon carved right on it. The sword has been called Kurikara-fudouson since then.

One hundred years later, the Buddhist priest, Kobo Daishi, reached Kurikara Fudouson, carved a statue that was almost exactly identical to the one made by Zenmui-sannzou-houshi, and conducted the Goma fire ritual. This statue is enshrined in the main hall.

The temple was partially destroyed during the Gennpei battles in the 2nd year of the Eiju period, but was reconstructed owing to the dedications of Minamoto no Yoritomo. A prayer house by the name of Chourakutei was built nearby by the Kaga Domain in the Edo period. Kurikara means 'black dragon' in Sanskrit.
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江戸くみひも Edokumihimo Edo Braiding

Jp En

Edo braiding is a tasteful and graceful Tokyo specialty.
   Japan makes extraordinarily sophisticated use of all kinds of threads.  Not only do the Japanese bind and tie things together with strings and thread, but they also can show fortune, sex and status by the way the threads are tied together, by the choice of color and by the arrangement of the knots.
   Braiding dates back to before the Edo period. It was originally imported from China or Korea. When the Shogunate was established in Edo, there was a demand for ceremonial clothing and therefore for braids. The Edo braid then developed a delicacy and a wabi-sabi quality (quiet simplicity).
   Edo braiding is applied to many things, such as the obi sash for kimonos, haori (short jackets) and other essentials for our daily lives.
   Braiding is also used to secure scrolls, on monks robes, on sashes worn by nobility, as decoration on traditional armory and on sword handles.
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