NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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花火 Hanabi Fireworks

Jp En

The firework that colors the night of a summer is made using gunpowder and metal powder. The various metal powders are mixed in to produce color.

Evidence of the use of firecrackers have been found in China that date back to about the 3rd century BC. During the 6th century, firecrackers evolved with the use of gunpowder. In the beginning, they were like rocket fireworks and were not used as official weaponry.

Fireworks were first manufactured in Japan in the 16th century after the introduction of guns. According to the 'Kyu-chu Hisaku', it is recorded that Tokugawa Ieyasu viewed fireworks in 1613 within the premises of Edo castle. This is also the oldest record of the Japanese word for firework: 'hanabi'.
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石切神社 Ishikiri-jinjya Ishikiri Shrine

Jp En

Ishikiri Shrine is located in Higashi-Ishikiri town, Higashi-Osaka district, Osaka. Officially, it is called Ishikiri Tsurugiya Jinja, of which Ishikiri jinja is an abbreviation.

The shrine is well known to Osaka citizens as Ishikiri-san or 'denbo no kamisan (god of curing lumps)'. The belief that the shrine could 'cure lumps' spread in the Showa period.

The name Ishikiri derives from the sword and arrow that is honored in the shrine. It is believed that the sword and arrow could cut and penetrate anything – even robust rocks. This probably explains why the shrine gained the reputation that its sharp weapons could cut and cure bumps and lumps, too.

According to the temple biography, Ishikiri Shrine was established by Miyayama-no-Kaminosha in 658. It is also known as the place for 'oyakudo-mairi' (visiting the shrine 100 times brings luck) and people continuously visit the temple.
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伊賀くみひも Iga-kumihimo Iga Kumihimo Braid

Jp En

Iga kumihimo is a traditional braiding handicraft from the city of Iga in Mie Prefecture. Kumihimo braid uses silk threads for the main thread combined with gold and silver threads. It is woven in a traditional manner using kumidai braiding stands.

The origins of Iga kumihimo date back beyond the Nara period. In the Heian period, elaborate braids began to be used for Buddhist altar objects and ritual articles. When samurai became a prevalent class, kumihimo braiding was used on weaponry. Even after the Meiji period, the techniques of traditional kumihimo were still familiar in the world of Japanese kimono, being used on obi sashes, as well as haori and hakama from the Edo period.

The beautifully dyed silk threads intermingle with other threads, creating kumihimo braid's distinctive texture and quality. The special feature of kumihimo is its way of beautifully combining various elements. In 1976, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry designated Iga kumihimo as a Traditional Craft of Japan.
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五十間長屋 Gojikken-nagaya The Gojikken-Nagaya (50 Ken Armory)

Jp En

As part of the restoration of the once grand and prestigious Kanazawa Castle, the Gojikken Armory was reconstructed in July 2001.

The Gojikken Armory connects the Hashizume Gate Suzuki Turret to the Hishi Turret, and is two storeys high. These structures were originally built for defending the Ninomaru (Second Building) during wars, which is why they are lined with 'sea cucumber' tiles and white-washed plaster, which help in defence. Additionally, the barred windows had openings for muskets to be fired from, and there were trapdoors in the floor for dropping boulders onto the enemy below.

The Gojikken Armory was used for storing weapons at that time. The building covers a total area of 1894.25m2 and is the largest wooden castle structure in Japan to be built after the Meiji period. Including the time used for research, the whole reconstruction took no less than 3 years and 4 months to complete.
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三十間長屋 Sanjikken-nagaya The Sanjikken-Nagaya (30-Ken Warehouse)

Jp En

Inside Kanazawa Castle grounds near the old castle keep are the remains of a 'sanjikken-nagaya' warehouse. This two-storey building is 65m long and 5.5m wide, and was originally built for military purposes. It is said that it had been first used for storing rice, then for storing muskets.

The building is a single structure with the entrance on the south side. The roof is made of lead tiles and the hips of the white-washed walls are decorated with 'sea cucumber' tiles. Across the hip of the wall of the second storey lies a keel of lead tiles.

It is said that there were once 14 warehouses in all inside the grounds of Kanazawa Castle including the one above, so it can be imagined that the view at the time would have been grand.

The single surviving sanjikken-nagaya was rebuilt in Annsei 5 (1858), leaving it and the Ishikawa Gate the only original remains in existence in the castle grounds. The Sanjikken-nagaya was designated as an Important National Cultural Asset in Showa 32.
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