NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/23


結城神社 Yuuki-jinjya Yuki Shrine

Jp En

Yuki Shrine, located in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, enshrines the deity Yuki Munehiro, a heroic figure who partipated in the overthrow of the Kamakura government by the Emperor Godaigo during the South and North Dynasty period. Yuki Munehiro followed Kitabatake Chikafusa and his son, Akiie, in South Dynasty. Chikafusa and his followers sailed from Ise Country to Higashi Country to offer their support to Gogaigo's son, Norinaga Shinno (later the Emperor Murakami). On the way, Munehiro died from illness.

The shrine holds documents written by the emperor Godaigo. The district has been called Yuki's Forest since old times, and is deified as Yuki Mound or Yuki God.

From mid-February to early March, 300 weeping apricot trees come into blossom, elegantly wafting their refreshing scent and appearing like a living picture scroll of flowers in early spring. Many visitors from the city and from outside come to visit the shrine at this time.

In 1882, Yuki Shrine was designated a Special Official Shrine. It is one of Chuko's 15 shrines.
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2007/1/15


露 Tsuyu Tsuyu

Jp En

The Japanese word 'tsuyu' will remind you of 'dew', as in 'morning dew' or 'night dew'. But, there are other usages for this word that should be familiar to you.

For example, tsuyu can mean 'little', as in 'I do not doubt it a little (tsuyu)'. Tsuyu also means 'frail or easy to fade'. Generally, tsuyu carries the meanings of 'short', 'little' and 'sad'.

It is true that dew makes you think of graceful moisture, which will soon disappear if the sun shines or the wind blows. This might be why 'tsuyu' gained new meanings.

In addition, in 'New Collections of Ancient and Modern Times' (a collection of 'waka' poems from 1205), tsuyu means 'tears'; the drops to express sadness. People in the past seemed to have used the word as a sentimental expression. Now, tsuyu is rarely used in haiku poetry to describe the frailty of life.

The sensibility of people living in times when the earth was full of abundant nature is quite different from ours today.
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2007/1/10


むぎや祭り Mugiyamatsuri Mugiya Festival

Jp En

Every year in the middle of September, a folk song event called Mugiyamatsuri (Mugiya Festival) takes place over two days in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture. The melody played during the festival is called 'mugiyafushi' and was composed by farmers working in fields of wheat ('mugi'). The melody emanates sadness and sorrow, but with the linear, brisk dancing, the result is a serene and meticulous collaboration of sound and movement.

About 800 years ago, the once-powerful Heike clan fell after their defeat at the battle of Dannoura. The Heike clan sought refuge in a secluded area called Echugokayama. The Heiki people became farmers, and sang the mugiyafushi as they harvested the land.

It is said that the 'mugiyafushi' originated from a song from Wajima on the Noto Peninsula, that was sung while making noodles. The merchants who sold noodles and wheat would travel from Noto to Echu, spreading songs such as the 'notomugiyafushi' and 'madara'. These songs eventually made their way to Gokayama, where they became known as the 'echumugiyafushi'.

Today, events such as performance competitions between citizens, as well as the 'mugiya odori' dance, take place on a special stage placed within the Johanabetsuin Zentokuji.
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NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - 日本語に切り替える NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - to english

"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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