NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/12/7


見内神社 Minai-jinja Minai Shrine

Jp En

Minai Shrine on Rebun Island in Hokkaido is where an Ainu girl is enshrined. It is located in Kafukai Coast in the eastern part of the island about 10 minutes’ drive from Kafuka ferry terminal. It is so a small shrine that you might miss it if there were no torii gates erected. The shrine building stands between the two torii gates and it faces the sea.

The shrine was founded in 1881. The shrine name “Minai” comes from a Japanese phrase “minai,” meaning “do not see.” Legend has it that Serena, the wife of Karusiar, the young village head of Rebun, was waiting for her husband, who had left the island to join the battles between the Ainu people. She was waiting for him for a long time until she became a rock. There was a rumor among the villagers that one would have a misfortune if one saw the rock. Then they covered the rock not to see it, thereby the rock was called “Minai Kamuy.”

Today local people worship the shrine as the deity of prevention of illness, a big catch and especially of safe delivery.
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2007/5/22


うさぎの吊るし飾り Usagi no tsurushi-kazari Rabbit Hanging Ornament

Jp En

Hanging ornaments such as these are known as 'tsurushi (hanging) kazari' or 'tsurushi hina'. These ornaments have been part of traditional culture since the Edo period, and the custom is rooted in the Izu-Inatori Onsen region. During the Hina (Girls) Festival, parents prayed for their daughter's happiness through a thread taken from a piece of old clothing. It is this hina hanging ornament that swings from both sides of the tiered stand used for the presentation of the hina dolls.
   This custom is called 'sagemon' in Yanagawa, Kyushu, 'kasafuku' in Sakata, Yamagata, and 'hanging hina' in Izu-Inatori. Only these three districts have inherited this historical patrimony, documents and photos.
   People entrust their wishes to the ornament. Some 110 ornaments have separate meanings. For example, the red eyes of a rabbit are supposed to have the power of causing and curing diseases. A rabbit is said to be the servant of a deity.
   It is lots of fun to decorate with ornaments that suit each season. Your favorite small objects will colour your life and enrichen your heart.
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2007/5/11


はこた人形 Hakotaningyo Hakota Dolls

Jp En

Hakota dolls are traditional papier-mache dolls with a history of 300 years. They are made in Kurayoshi, Tottori Prefecture. Such a limbless cylindrical type of papier-mache doll, similar to a kokeshi doll, is rare in this country, and it is made only in Kurayoshi in the Sannin area.

Hakota doll-making started sometime between 1781 and 1789 (Tenmei period). A peddlar from Bingo (today's Hiroshima Prefecture), whose name was Bingoya Jihei, created the first Hakota doll. He made it because he was moved by the naivety of the girls he met in this area.

Until the early Showa period, these dolls were called 'Ha-ko-san', and were a familiar toy for little girls. Also, these dolls were made as bringers of good luck; a prayer for a child to grow up free from injury and illness.

You can make and decorate your own Hakota doll at Bingoya (the 6th), which continues to this day. What will your 'Ha-ko-san' look like?
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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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