EIZO LCD TV, which has become popular with its simple yet finely refined design and high quality, launched their new line of color LCD HDTV, under the brand name of FORIS.
FORIS HD can be used as both a television and computer monitor. It has a high resolution of more than 720 lines with an aspect ratio is 16:9. Accompanying its high definition, EIZO has developed new techniques which enable FORIS monitors to present a picture which is gentle on the viewer’s eyes.
By applying Pythagoras’ Theorem (3:4:5) to its sound technology, EIZO has succeeded in developing a highly effective and superb quality in both the bass and treble ranges.
It has vivid vermilion Bengal color on its side which is traditionally considered a noble color, making a definite mark of Japanese manufacture.
It is the further evolution of a new information terminal fusing the television and computer.
Iris Festival is held from May 25 to June 20 every year in Chiryu Park, the outer garden of Chiryu Shrine. The Japanese irises in this park were donated by the imperial Meiji Jingu Shrine in 1955, 1957 and 1960. Sixty different species of irises that were loved by Emperor and Empress Meiji come into flowers during the festival. The best time is around June 10, when visitors can enjoy viewing gorgeous and colorful flowers of about 30,000 stocks of iris.
During the festival period, various enjoyable events are held in the park, such as the children’s sketch contest, the photo contest of the iris flowers, the demonstration of Karakuri dolls, tea ceremonies, the tanka poem contest and the exhibition of the shrine treasures.
Kameyama-juku was the 46th of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1686). It was in the eastern part of current Kameyama City in Mie Prefecture. The town thrived as a post town and a castle town as well. There are a lot of historic sites such as the ruins of Kameyama Castle including the ruins of Edoguchi-mon Gate and Kyoguchi-mon Gate and the site where the Ishii brothers gained revenge.
In Ando Hiroshige’s “Kameyama” of his “The 53 Post Stations of the Tokaido Road,” he depicted a procession of a feudal lord ascending a steep hillside, under deep snow among the trees, to the entrance to Kameyama Castle. The brightness of snow is wonderfully expressed in this monochromatic ink painting, but at the same time we can’t help realizing keenly how hard it was to make a journey in those days.
Presently, there are many historic constructions remaining in the town. These remnants of an ancient castle town include a temple, which used to be a part of the castle compound, old samurai houses, and the right-angled streets.
Nakayama Shrine in Kadogawa Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is said to have been founded in 857, when the deity at Izumo Taisha Shrine was transferred to this shrine.
Onamuchi no Mikoto and three other deities are enshrined. Onamuchi no Mikoto is another name for Okuninushi no Mikoto. As Okuninushi no Mikoto is known as the god of nation-building, farming, business and medicine as well as love stories with many princesses, the shrine was famous for the divine power of marriage tie. It was believed that if a young man and a woman passed each other in the front approach of the shrine, they would fall in love with each other.
As there is a song about the shrine, which goes, “Nakayama-san is a good god because if you don’t have any kimono, you can visit him naked, and if you don’t have any sandals, you can visit him with bare feet,” it is said that, in the ancient times, men were allowed to visit the shrine even only in loincloth, and women in koshimaki (waist wrap).
The grand festival held on January 7 every year is famous as a naked festival, in which both toshi-otoko (men whose zodiacal sign corresponds to the year's sign) and men of Yaku-doshi (the unlucky age) wearing only white loincloth, white tabi (Japanese socks) and white headbands run up the stone steps to the precinct, shouting loud encouragement. In the precinct, they pour cold water onto the head and all over the body to purify themselves and pray for the safety and a good health of their family.
Sanbaseki Gorge in the border of Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture and Kamikawa-machi, Kodama-gun, Saitama Prefecture is nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty and a Natural Monument. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the 1.5 km riverbed of the Kannagawa River is dotted with 48 huge or monstrous-shaped rocks. As early as in the Edo period (1603-1868), names were given to each of these oddly-shaped stones, which were collectively called “the 48 Fine Stones” and the gorge was a popular scenic spot visited by a lot of sightseers.
The gorge is considered to be a geologically precious zone, where green crystalline schist crops out on the ground. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), Kofuji Bunjiro, the founder of Japanese geology, discovered crystalline schist in the area around the Sanba River and named it Sanbagawa crystalline schist, from which the name “the Sanbagawa metamorphic complex” derived later.
With yellow and white stripes on the green stone surface, Sanbagawa crystalline schist, or popularly called Sanba Stone, creates mysterious and wonderful scenery in each season.
Uechi Hachimangu Shrine in the town of Uechi in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, is a historic shrine pertaining to the Genji (Minamoto) clan. The enshrined deities are Emperor Ojin, Emperor Nintoku and Amaterasu Omikami (the Sun Goddess).
In 1184, when Minamoto no Noriyori, a younger brother of Minamoto no Yoritomo, was on his way to the battle with the Taira clan, he took a rest at the residence of Omi Toroku, who was a powerful local warrior. As he found that a small shrine located next to the residence was a Hachimangu shrine, which enshrined the ancestors of the Minamoto clan, he prayed for his victory there.
Having won the battles with the Taira clan, Noriyori was appointed as the governor of Mikawa province and returned to this place in 1190. He thanked the god for his victory and constructed Uechi Hachimangu Shrine, to which he transferred the deity of the small shrine and the deity at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura.
The shrine is famous for Ukonzakura cherry tree (Prunus lannesiana E. H. Wils. cv. Grandiflora), which produces pale green double blossoms. It was dedicated by the town of Uechi in 1947, when Haiden was newly constructed. It is called “Bijin-zakura (Beauty Cherry)” and said to have power to bring happiness.
The Takanabe Kagura dance has been handed down in the towns of Takanabe, Kijo, Kawaminami and Shintomi in Miyazaki Prefecture. It is designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property by the prefecture. The origin of the dance is not clear, but it is presumed from the stone monument and old shrine documents that it was already danced in the Heian period (794-1192). Takanabe Kagura is a simple and elegant form of dances classified as one of the Iwato Kagura dances that have been passed down in the Aso area.
It was originally dedicated to a shrine in every village in the area. In the Edo period (1603-1868), it came to be performed mainly at Hiki Shrine, which is an old and established shrine with a history of several hundreds years and was given protection by the Takanabe domain.
Since the Meiji period (1868-1912), the dedication of the Takanabe Kagura dance has been called “Daishinji (Grand Ritual).” Presently, 33 plays have been handed down and performed at the six shrines in the old domain area, which take the responsibility of the performance by rotation once every six years. At the dedication ritual, the dancers perform 33 dances quietly and elegantly throughout the night.
Katsurai Festival is held on December 1 every year at Shiogama Shrine, which used to be listed as the highest-ranked shrine in the southern part of the Tohoku region.
As is also called “Kamimukae-sai (the festival to invite deities),” it originates in the ritual to invite Take Mikazuchi no Kami and Futsunushi no Kami and celebrate their feat of having brought peace and stability to the Tohoku region. Since then, Date Masamune and other powerful warriors who fought for the stability of the region dedicated the rice cake named “Katsurai-mochi” when they made triumphant returns.
Today, the rice cake called “Kabuto-mochi (the rice cake in the shape of a warrior’s helmet)” together with Zoi fish, abalone, pheasant and dried persimmon is offered to the deities and the Yamatomai kagura dance is dedicated. People bring a piece of Kabuto-mochi to their home as a talisman to prevent fires and bad luck and bring safe travels.
At “Naorai,” the feast in which the consecrated offerings of food and drink are consumed by priests and laymen, attendants were served with Zoni (the rice cake soup) with Kiji-mochi, which is made to resemble pheasant meat.