NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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一色大提灯まつり Isshiki-daicyouchin-matsuri Isshiki Giant Lantern Festival

Jp En

The Isshiki Giant Lantern Festival takes place at Suwa Shrine in Isshiki, Hazu-gun, Aichi Prefecture. The shrine was established as a branch temple of Suwa Taisha (in Nagano Prefecture) in 1564.

Back then, a monster known as Kaima used to appear and ransack the land and its crops. The villagers offered an Evil-Repressing Sword in front of their household altars and prayed for the monster to be expelled.

The monster did disappear and the ritual became an annual event. Gigantic lanterns about 4m round and 6m high are hung in rows. The people of the area form associations of 6 groups each, which compete with their lanterns. The Isshiki Giant Lantern Festival is held on August 26 and 27 every year.
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岩谷武治 Iwatani Takeji Takeji Iwatani

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Takeji Iwatani was born in the town of Fuka-Ura, Aomori Prefecture, in 1939. He is a lacquerware craftsman using the 'tsugarunuri' technique. He is also known by the pseudonym of Gozan.

Takeji Iwatani established a tsugarunuri atelier called Gozan-Kobo in 1969. In 1975, he founded the Tsugarunuri Friendship Society. The next year, he won the chief-director's prize at the national lacquerware exhibition. In 1981, he was authorized as a traditional craftsman. At present, he is the chairman of the Tsugarunuri Traditional Craftsmen Association. In 2003 he won the Director General of Forestry Agency prize in the national lacquerware exhibition.

Tsugarunuri, or tsugaru lacquer, is believed to have originated with the Tsugaru clan in the early Edo period. This technique is also known as bakanuri. It involves the repeated process of painting and layering lacquer. It takes several months to finish just one piece.

Iwatani's work are made for private orders only. It is interesting to see that he has persistence with his work. When having two orders, he makes three pieces, one for each order and one for himself to make sure that the sold pieces are truly perfect.
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