NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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加賀獅子頭 Kaga-shishigashira Kaga Lion Head

Jp En

Lion Head is a traditional handicraft handed down in Ishikawa Prefecture for hundreds of years. Lion Head is an indispensable element for Lion Dances in Kaga, in which the performers dance with the lion heads in their hands. The origin of Kaga lion head was that when Maeda Toshiie, the founder of Kaga clan, entered into Kanazawa Castle, the townspeople of Kanazawa celebrated it by dedicating a lion dance. Lion dances flourished as a means of martial arts training and lion heads were placed in each town as guardians. Production of lion heads also flourished because of the custom in private homes of displaying a lion head in the tokonoma alcove to celebrate the birth of a boy.
The materials used in lion heads are paulownia from the foot of Mt. Hakusan. Sculptors or busshi (sculptors of Buddhist images) manufacture lion heads with Itto-bori (one-knife carving) techniques. Kaga lion head is characterized by its glaring eyes, which gives a gallant and powerful impression. As it is hand-carved, no two products are exactly alike. Craftsman’s neat skill is fully exerted in this craft product.
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妙成寺 Myoujyou-ji Myojoji Temple

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Myojoji Temple is the head temple of Nichiren Shu in Hokuriku Region. It is located in Takidani-cho, Hakui City, Ishikawa Pref. The temple was established by Nissho Shonin and Nichijo Shonin in 1293 by the last order of Nichiren Shonin. According to the legend, Nissho stack a cane made of Enju (pagoda tree) into the ground and said to Nichijo, “If a root grows out of this cane, you must build a temple at this place.” After Nissho left for Kyoto, a root grew out of the cane and Nichijo built a temple. Nichijo dedicated the honor of the founder to Nissho and placed himself as the secondary founder. In 1574, when Toshiie Maeda, the lord of Kaga Province, dropped in at this temple while he was making an inspection tour in his domain, he was moved by this episode and designated this temple as his place of prayer for fortune of war and safety of his domain. The third generation of Kaga clan, Toshitsune, whose mother was one of Toshiie’s concubines and was an enthusiastic believer of Hokke-kyo (Buddhist mantra), dedicated the main hall. The whole complex had been completed in 70 years after that.
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名護屋城陣屋跡 Nagoya-jyou-jinyaato The Encampment Sites at Nagoya Castle Ruins

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Hideyoshi Toyotomi built Nagoya Castle in Chinzeicho, Saga Pref., as his base for his invasion of Korea (1592-1598). The castle is said to have been completed by the four-month rush work. Now only the surrounding camps constructed by Hideyoshi’s feudatories remain and have been conserved as the Encampment Sites. The castle’s area was almost equal in size to Osaka Castle. As the foundation stones of the castle were brought from the beach, a lot of rocks with seashells adhered to them can be found. As the technique used for stone masonry was excellent, this desolated site is visited by many researchers and engineers. Hideyoshi stayed at this castle for only 1 year and 3 months between the two wars. The castle was scrapped after the war ended. Later Takahiro Terasawa, the domain lord of Karatsu Province, took over some of the building materials and used them to build Karatsu Castle. The Otemon (main gate) was brought as far away as to Sendai in Tohoku region by Masamune Date, who used it as the Otemon of his castle’s Ninomaru (the second circle). The Nagoya Castle Site and the Encampment Site are well conserved as the designated national historic landmarks. Nearly 160 feudal lords from all over Japan gathered to join the wars, among them were many notable figures such as Masanori Fukushima, Toshiaki Maeda, and the man who became another “Tenkabito (a person in paramount authority)”, Ideas Tokugawa.
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