NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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本場鶴崎踊大会 Honba-tsurusaki-odori-taikai The Tsurusaki Odori Festival

Jp En

The Tsurusaki Odori (Dance) Festival is held for two days in August in the town of Tsurusaki in Oita City, Oita Prefecture. During the festival period, 2,000 dancers perform elegant and gorgeous dances. It is designated as a national Intangible Folk Cultural Property.

The Tsurusaki Odori is said to have originated in the Eiroku era (1558-1569), when Otomo Sorin, the lord of Bungo province (present-day Oita Prefecture) addicted himself to wine at the expense of his responsibilities to his people. His chief retainer, Tobe Akitsura tried to dissuade him from his misconduct and hit upon the idea of inviting some of the beautiful dancers from Kyoto to perform before their lord. Lord Otomo was so impressed by the purity and delicacy of their dancing that he mended his ways completely.

Today, dancing teams in matching costumes with elaborate designs perform dances, making manifold circles. There are two versions of Tsurusaki Odori; “Sarumaru-Dayu” is a gracious slow tempo dance, while “Saemon” is a light, up-tempo dance. Their elegant and flamboyant actions together with the chanting and the music of Japanese flute and Chinese fiddle fascinate the spectators.
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沼津夏まつり 狩野川花火大会 Numazu-natsu-matsuri Kanogawa-hanabi-taikai Kano River Fireworks Display at Numazu Summer Festival

Jp En

Numazu Summer Festival held around the last weekend of July every year is the biggest summer festival in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. A lot of attractive events including the grand parade of Numazu Shiki-saisai Dance, the competitive performances of Shagiri music, the Japanese drum performance and the Mikoshi parade are held during the day.

Each day ends with a gorgeous fireworks display held over the Kano River. Kano River Fireworks Display, which started during the post-war restoration period, is now the biggest fireworks display held in an urban area in the Tokai district. The riverside is bustled with spectators to enjoy this charming sight of the summer. 9,000 fireworks in total are shot up into the night sky during the two-day festival period. The finale of the festival is decorated with the 470 meter long Niagara Falls.
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おかやま桃太郎まつり Okayama-momotarou-matsuri Okayama Momotaro Festival

Jp En

The Okayama Momotaro Festival is held annually for three days in August in Okayama. Originally, there were various festivals called Okayama Momotaro Festival, Okayama Summer Festival, Uraja-odori parade, and Nouryou Firework Display, each held separately. All of these festivals came together as the Okayama Momotaro Festival in 2001 (Heisei 13).

The highlight of the first day is the Nouryou Firework Display. 5,000 fireworks are set off toward the night sky to gorgeously celebrate the opening of the festival.

Later, the Uraja-odori parade features dancers wearing bizarre makeup called 'ura-geshou'. The motif for the ura-geshou is a man named Ura from mainland Asia, who later became king of the ancient Kibi kingdom (part of today's Okayama Prefecture). There is also a Family Festa, which can be enjoyed by the whole family. There are many events held over the three summer days of the festival in Okayama.

Regardless of age and sex, anyone can join in the Uraja-odori dance, with its distinctive rhythm and bizarre makeup, that has its own unique traditional Japanese style. The three-day festival creates an atmosphere of joyfulness over the summer nights.
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七夕 Tanabata Tanabata

Jp En

Tanabata is a star festival held on 7th July and is one of Japan's five seasonal festivals.

The origin of the festival is supposed to be a Chinese festival called 'Kitsukoden', when people prayed for their advance in needlework and performing arts. Another legend says that the 7th day of the 7th month is the only day of the year when Vega (the weaver girl star) and Altair (the cowherd boy star) are allowed to meet each other. There is also a Japanese legend called Tanabatatsume about a weaver for a god. These legends mixed together to form Tanabata, which then became an important event in the imperial court.

In the Edo period, Tanabata spread to the commoners and took on its present form. Today, people write wishes on oblong cards and decorate bamboo branches. Even after Japan adopted the Western calendar, in many districts Tanabata is still held on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar.

Today there are many Tanabata festivals. Sendai Tanabata held in Miyagi Prefecture and Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata held in Kanagawa Prefecture are very popular as the biggest Tanabata festivals in the country.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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