NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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下川原焼土人形 Shita-kawarayaki-tsutiningyou Shitakawara Pottery Earthenware Dolls

Jp En

These dolls appeared in 1810, when Tsugaru Yasuchika, the 9th lord of the Hirosaki domain, invited a potter Takaya Kinzo from the Chikuzen region of Kyushu. A kiln was then prepared for him at Shitakawara, where he produced daily necessities. As it snowed heavily in winter, potters could not make pottery during this time. Then Kinzo created earthenware dolls when he had no work to do, hence the beginning of the earthenware dolls in Shitakawara.  

In the making of this doll, red earth and sand are mixed together to form clay, which is put into a plaster to shape the doll. It is then fired at high temperature for several hours, and then painted to create the finished design. Shitakawara dolls features three colors of yellow, purple and red, which are applied on the pure white base color. The pigeon whistles and the dolls of zodiac figurines, warriors and Manekineko (Lucky Cats) are famous. All are made in the traditional hand-making techniques that have been handed down for a long time.
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丹生川上神社下社 Niu-kawakami-jinjya-shimo-sya Niu Kawakami Shrine Shimo-sha

Jp En

Niu Kawakami Shrine Shimo-sha located in Shimoichi-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Pref. is one of the three Niu Kawakami shrines that have existed since the ancient times. The three shrines are respectively called Kami-sha (the top shrine), Naka-sha (the middle shrine) and Shimo-sha (the bottom shrine). The Shimo shrine enshrines Kura Okami no Kami (the god of water and rain). According to the shrine record, it was founded in 676, when the god said, “If you set up the holy pillars of my shrine in this deep mountain, I will bring the blessed rain instead of the damaging rain for the people of this country.” In Shoku-Nihongi (the chronicle written in the 8th C.), it is written that in 763, a black horse was specially dedicated together with Heihaku (strips of paper symbolizing offerings of clothing). From that time on, it became a custom to dedicate a black horse in offering a prayer for bringing rain and a white horse for bringing a good weather.
Through the precinct of Shimo shrine runs a clear stream. The village of Niu (literally meaning “cinnabar producing”) was the producing place of red stones, red soil and vermillion (mercury). It is said that the tribes that had the skills in mining and moved from place to place seeking for mineral resources gave the name to this place.
The present Shimo shrine is thought to have been the ancient Kami shrine.
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トンバイ塀 Tonbaibei Tonbai Walls

Jp En

Tonbai walls are made of discarded fire bricks (tonbai) that were used to compose the climbing kiln for Arita Ware, together with pieces of disposable firing tools, and porcelain pieces, all cemented with red clay. It is said that in the Edo period, potters built high tonbai walls in order that the secret of pottery making could not be seen from the outside. Once the extension of the walls reached 875 meters in total, but as they were made of clay and fragile, most of them have broken down now. 80% of the walls were built in Kami-Arita area, especially along the street from the big gingko tree in Izumiyama to Arita Ceramic Art Museum in Odaru.
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