NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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さいとりさし Saitorisashi Saitorisashi

Jp En

Saitorisashi is a traditional dance that has been carried down over the ages in Tottori. Saitorisashi means the person who captures, or the act of capturing, a small bird, which was traditionally used by the nobility as bait in falconry.

A long time ago, people, who been granted the license or pardon to engage in saitorisashi, gained power and brought ruin to the land. It is said that the saitorisashi dance originated when ordinary folk, in order to oppose the tyranny of feudalism, started to dance and sing in a Kyogen style (a comical form of theater) at drinking parties and so on. Shortly after, the idea of saitorisashi changed, from capturing birds to 'capturing' a wife or happiness, and was passed down as a congratulatory kyogen.

The dance is performed by four or five people, all wearing happi coats and headbands, while holding the stick of Torimochi, and hanging a license of pardon on their waists. The humorous outfit, accompanied by the energetic singing and dancing, results in a very pleasant, and enjoyable atmosphere. Saitorisashi is an important traditional performing art, which has been passed down from the Edo period.
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長浜城 Nagahama-jyo Nagahama Castle

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When Oda Nobunaga attacked Kotani Castle, the stronghold of Asai Nagamasa, Kinoshita Tokichiro (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) rescued Oichi and her three daughters just before the castle collapsed.

In November 1573, the Asai Clan fell and Tokichiro was awarded Asai territory. Tokichiro took the new name Hashiba Hideyoshi, and became the first feudal lord with a castle. The following year, Hideyoshi commenced construction of a castle in Imahama. He used materials from Kotani Castle or hidden ones from Takebu Island.

In the autumn of 1575, the castle was completed and Hideyoshi changed the name of the district from Imahama to 'Nagahama', and relocated here from Kotani Castle. At that time, he was attacking Hokuriku or the Chugoku region as Nobunaga's advance guard.

In 1582, after Nobunaga's death, Shibata Katsutoyo gained possession of his castle but Hideyoshi quickly recaptured it and used it as a stronghold during the Shizugadake Battle.

After that, many generals lived in the castle, but when the Toyotomi family fell, the castle was dismantled and much of the material, like the stone walling, was used in the construction of Hikone Castle.

Today's Nagahama Castle was rebuilt using public donations and support in 1983 as a historical museum.
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東京手描友禅 Tokyoyuuzen Tokyo Hand-Painted Yuzen

Jp En

Tokyo hand-painted yuzen is a cloth with elegant and subtle designs dyed into it. The technique was developed some 300 years ago by Miyazaki Yuzensai, a dyeing artisan from Kyoto.

In the mid-Edo period, many products came from Kansai to Edo, which flourished as the center of samurai politics. Dyeing artisans for feudal lords moved to Edo, bringing various techniques with them. At that time, Tokyo citizens controlled the economy, and the merchants developed a sophisticated culture of elegant simplicity that spread among the populace; this helped the development of Tokyo hand-painted yuzen.

The hand-painted designs are generally crisp and muted in color, but there are brighter tones and new designs in the plain pattern. One artisan is responsible for each step in the production of the cloth; from conception to design, to a rough sketch, to painting and dyeing and finishing.  Many people love this handicraft.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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