NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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樺崎砲台跡 Kabasaki-houdai-ato The Remains of Kabasaki Battery Fortress

Jp En

The Kabasaki battery fortress was built in 1855, after clearing a mountain and reclaiming the land for construction.  It was built to protect Uwajima Bay. The battery was believed to have been planned and designed by Oomura Masujirou, who is also known as Murata Kuraroku.  He was originally a medical doctor and he later took an active role as a military leader in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate.
After the Ansei Purge, the ports of Japan were opened to foreign trade ships and, as a variety of foreign ships began to arrive at the ports around Setonaikai Inland Sea, neighboring clans were alerted and urged to protect their coast. Among them, the Uwajima clan and the lord Date Mumenari were especially eager to promote Fukoku Kyouhei policy.  This policy seeks to enrich the country and modernize and strengthen its military. The Kabasaki battery was one of the western style batteries constructed for this purpose.
Reclaiming the land from the sea to create the foundation for the battery involved a considerable amount of hard labor.  The fortress covers 505 square meters, with 73 square meters being a storehouse for machinery.  It includes facilities for the firing and storage of explosives as well as five big bronze batteries.
What remains of the fortress is preserved next to the Uwajima City History Museum at Uwajima airport.  This airport was built on land that was reclaimed from the sea in the Showa Period (1985~1988).  The Uwajima City History Museum was once a police station and it was built in the characteristic architectural style of the Meiji Period.
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【徳(德)】 Toku, Tadasu Virtue

Jp En

The meaning originally shown by the character 德 originally is not the ethical notion of virtue attributed to it in later times. For its understanding one has to go back to the world of early animism and curse magic.
The character 行 shows a crossroad and 彳. The classifier of 徳 is its left half and means a junction. As place where a lot of people pass, it is an important spiritual place, too. Naturally, accidents occur more frequently there, which is why it becomes an object for the exorcism of evil spirits.
As in the case of 蔑 or 省, the 目 (including the strokes above) which is seen in horizontal position in the right upper part of the character shows curse decoration. 省 means to show military power towards a region or country. Its upper part and the upper right part of 徳 has the common origin of patrolling with eyes that have curse power. What concerns the character 徳, from containing the element 彳 the objects of patrol conducted by eyes with curse decoration are the evil spirits at crossroads and junctions; it shows them being exorcised and ‘tadasu: put right’ again.
Previous character forms are often close to that of antiquity. Here, 徳, the form of the Common Use Characters since 1948 has one stroke less than its previous form 德 and is a form close to that of the bronze inscriptions.
Later, 心 was added to the character form for the first time on the bronze vessel 大盂鼎 ‘Dà Yú Dĭng: Big Tripod (made by) Yú’ in a long inscription amounting to 290 characters from the early period of the Western Zhōu dynasty, directly after the Yīn (Shāng)-Zhōu revolution. From this time on, the meaning of 徳 changed from referring to the curse power of the eyes toward the mental inner virtue as existing in the mind.
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上野東照宮 Ueno-toushouguu Ueno Toshogu Shrine

Jp En

Ueno Toshogu Shrine located in Ueno Park in Taito-ku, Tokyo is a shrine where the three shoguns of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Ieyasu (the 1st), Yoshimune (the 8th) and Yoshinobu (the 15th) are enshrined. In 1616, when Ieyasu fell into a critical condition, he told, as his last will, Todo Takatora and Priest Tenkai to build a place where he could rest eternally. Following his will, Takatora built a shrine in his premises in Ueno in 1627. Later in 1651, the 3rd Shogun, Iemitsu, rebuilt it to the present form.
A large torii gate in Myojin style stands at the entrance. Along the front approach stand 200 stone lanterns and 48 bronze lanterns dedicated by daimyo all over the country. Walking along a quiet path through the lanterns, you will be impressed with the course of history. Honden (the main hall), Haiden (oratory) and Kara-mon Gate are designated Important Cultural Properties. Things pertaining to Ieyasu are preserved at Heiden Hall (offering hall). In the peony garden next to the shrine, visitors can enjoy peony flowers both in winter and spring.
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鋳金 Chuukin Osawa Komin's Chukin Metal Casting

Jp En

Chukin is a casting technique where molten metal is poured into a mold to make a vessel or utensil.

The chukin technique dates back a long way to the Yayoi period and features a variety of casting methods: 'sogata' ('so' technique), 'rogata' (lost wax technique), 'sunagata' (with sand) and 'yakigata' (by firing).

Depending on the shape and form of the object to be cast, the correct method should be used. The casting processes invcolve great experience and advanced skill.

Living National Treasure Osawa Komin was born in 1941 in Takaoka-shi, Toyama Prefecture, an area famous for copperware. Osawa is designated as a holder of the important intangible cultural property of metal casting. Known as the master of 'yakigata' casting, Osawa researched and came up with an original technique called 'casting basis technique', in which patterns are directly impressed on the surface of the vessel.

Despite the responsibility involved in inheriting such a traditional technique, Osawa ingeniously applies the technique to meet the expectations and standards of the modern world. He always keeps in mind his original intentions, while constantly moving forward and expressing fresh, natural sensibilities and sensations. Osawa is constantly challenging himself in the world of metal casting.
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齋藤明(人間国宝) Saitou Akira Akira Saito (Living National Treasure)

Jp En

Akira Saito was born in 1920. In 1993, he was designated as a Living National Treasure for his 'chukin' work, an intangible cultural heritage. Chukin is a form of metal casting using molds and the lost-wax (or cire-perdue) technique.

Saito lost his father when he was a teenager and, to feed the family, he took over his father's atelier and fumbled along with the technique, finding his way. He lost everything during wartime, yet luckily he met a former teacher and cultivated his skills.

His motto is to create a piece that is 'simple but as broad as the universe'. He found his own method called 'fuki-wake' which uses two types of metals. He is over 80 now, but he is still making powerful and vigorous pieces.
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鎌倉大仏殿跡 Kamakura-daibutsuden-ato The Remains of Kamakura Daibutsu-den Hall

Jp En

Kamakura Daibutsu or Great Buddha used to be housed in a building called Kamakura Daibutsu-den Hall. This Daibutsu sits as Honzon (the object of respect) of Kotokuin Temple located in Hase, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Pref. The construction of the statue as well as its hall started in 1238 and completed in 6 years. However, the original statue was a wooden one and completely wrecked by a storm. Later in 1252, the construction of a new bronze statue started. The height of the statue including its base is 13.35 m, its face length is 2.35 m, and the weight is about 121 tons. The statue was designated as a National Treasure in 1958. The size of the housing hall, which was constructed at the same time as the statue, was 44 m from east to west and 42.5 m from north to south. Unfortunately, it was severely damaged by an earthquake and ensuing tsunami in the Muromachi period (the late 15th century). Since then the Great Buddha has never been housed, and has been sitting in the open air. In 2004, the remains of Daibutsu-den Hall together with the precinct of Kotokuin Temple were designated as a National Historic Site.
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高岡銅器 Takaoka-dohki Takaoka Copperware

Jp En

Takaoka copperware is a traditional handicraft of Takaoka City in Toyama prefecture, with a history of four centuries. Fine, smooth surfaces, subtle coloring, delicate patterns and graceful shapes; these are the specialties of Takaoka copperware.

Some 400 years ago, when Maeda Toshinaga built Takaoka Castle, the 2nd Kaga domain head set up a foundry in Kanaya, today's Takaoka city, in order to ensure prosperity for the town.

At first, the main products cast in copper, other than orders from the domain, were ironware such as temple bells, garden lanterns, farming implements and kettles. After that, small copper items for Buddhist altars came to be made. In the Meiji and Taisho periods, many kinds of copperware were produced, such as braziers, items for tea ceremony and ornamental goods.

Takaoka copperware became highly prized all over Japan. In 1873, it was critically acclaimed at the World Exposition in Vienna and gained world recognition.

In Showa 50, Takaoka district was designated as a production area of a Traditional National Handicraft for the first time in Japan.
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本覚寺 Hongakuji Hongakuji Temple

Jp En

Hongakuji Temple is located at the foot of the Oka-no-Yume Farm in Toyama Prefecture and was the clan temple of Jimbo, the lord of Tomizaki Castle.

The temple was built in the Heian period by Myouun, a monk of the Tendai school of Mahayana Buddhism. It is said that it was founded when Myouun built a temple in Hidanokuni (today's Gifu Prefecture) in 1343 and named it Hongakuji. Myouun, who was also the 7th chief priest of Hongakuji, visited and emigrated to Etchu (today's Fuchu-machi-fukuro) after the temple was razed by soldiers.

In Etchu, Myouun gained the devotion and allegiance of Jimbo, the lord of Tomizaki Castle, and rebuilt the temple at its current site. Many ancient writings of the last legitimate child and heir of the Jimbo clan, Jimbo Nagamoto (defeated and killed by Oda Nobunaga), are preserved at the temple as well.

At one point in its history, it was said that the bell at the temple had a better sound than that of Toyama Castle, which infuriated Sassa Narimasa (a general during the Warring States Period), who then proceeded to burn the inside of the bell with sand to dampen its exquisite sound. Despite the mishap, the bell was designated as a tangible cultural property of Toyama.

The temple's bronze statues and statues of Youryu-Kannon are authorized as important art objects of Japan, and are also very spectacular.
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