NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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小川規三郎(人間国宝) Ogawa kisaburou Kisaburo Ogawa (Living National Treasure)

Jp En

Kisaburo Ogawa was born in November 30, 1936. He is recognized as the holder of the important intangible cultural heritage of kenjyo-hakata-ori and was designated a living national treasure in 2003. Kisaburo Ogawa is also a guest professor of fine art at Kyushu Sangyo University.

Kenjyo-hakata-ori or Hakata weaving dates back 700 years to the Kamakura period. It gets its name because it was a gift bestowed annually by the Kurota clan to the government in the Edo period.

The weaving's trait is the thick-layered fabric and its silky touch, and was mainly used to weave sashes. Although this traditional craft is woven on a loom, the industry faces a dilemma in that there is no successor. The Hakata Weaving Association is making products other than sashes, to keep and develop the tradition. For example, they are making bags and wallets to attract younger people. Mr Ogawa, being a member of the association, works energetically as a panel member in symposiums and gives speeches.
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八重山ミンサー Yaeyamaminsaa Yaeyama Minsa Fabric

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Yaeyama minsa is a fabric made on the Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. This fabric often features a design of alternating five-and-four square 'kasuri' (scratched) patterns on indigo-dyed material. The centipede-like lines are highly individual.

The origin of this fabric dates back to before the 17th century, and the Okinawan word 'minsa' derives from the words 'sar' ('sash') and 'min' ('cotton').  The alternating five-and-four kasuri design is said to mean 'wish you will be with me for eternity'. ('Eternity' in Japanese is 'itsu-no-yo': 'itsu' sounds like the word for 'five' and 'yo' sounds like the word for 'four'.) This symbolised the weaving woman's feelings for her lover.

Yaeyama minsa is woven from cotton thread dyed with natural plant dyes in a southern manner. Sashes, neckties and bags are woven.

The dyed color is usually indigo and the contrast between white and dark blue is vivid and beautiful.
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黒島口説 Kurusimakuduti Kurushimakudouchi

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Kurushimakudouchi is a song that accompanies the dancing typical to the small island of Kurushima, one of the Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.
   According to the 'Shimauta-kikou' ('Notes about Island Songs'), the song and dance forms, now known as the Kurushimakudouchi, were developed during the 19th and 20th centuries.
   The Kurushimakudouchi uniquely differs from other forms of Yaeyama entertainment in that the song follows a mainland-influenced concept called Shichigo-cho (a song composed of 7 sounds, followed by 5 sounds then repeating that pattern) that depicts folk traditions in a humorous, yet very lively, dance song. To this song, the dancers dance in an outfit that is supposed to represent the women of Kurushima: Basho clothes fastened by a Minsa sash, with a white towel wrapped around their heads, and bare feet. The outfit is definitely one of the main features of the Kurushimakudouchi, but the emotion and passion of the dancers is the most alluring point of the dance.
   The Kurushimakudouchi is unique even in Japan, with its humorous and lively songs, and its passionate and expressive dancing.
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