NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/10/15


【美】 Bi The Character for Beauty

Jp En

The character 羊 shows the form of a 'sheep.' It can often be seen as an element in Kanji. The reason for this is that in antiquity sheep were often used in rites. 'Sheep' stands out among Kanji with abstract meanings like 善 'good,' 美 'beauty,' and 義 'justice.' The character 'bi' 美 ('beauty') shows the whole body of a sheep. While 羊 shows the upper part of a sheep including the horns, in 美, its lower body including the hind legs are added. A person who possessed sheep was already considerably wealthy.

In the world of polytheism one tries to receive the favor of gods by beautiful and precious offerings. It was believed that offering a dog to the highest god was most effective. Offers to receive godly favor became especially important at the time of trials. As trials took the form of an ordeal by the gods, both parties submitted a sheep to be variously tested by the gods.

The origin of Shirakawa Kanji science follows the idea that characters were formed and developed as a means of communication between gods and man. From this standpoint, beauty has to be acceptable to the gods, or warranted by the gods. Interestingly, the Biblical idea of offering a sheep to God can also be found in Gospel St John 1, 29 and I Corinthians 1, 7.
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2007/1/18


安土・八幡の水郷 Azuchi・Hachiman-no-Suigou Azuchi-Hachiman's Waterfront

Jp En

There are eight famous major scenic sights in Shiga prefecture. They achieved their fame in particular because they were depicted in famous woodblock prints by Ando Hiroshige in the Edo period.

The eight famous scenic sights are mainly located to the south of Lake Biwa, rather than around the whole lake. In 1950, when Lake Biwa was designated as a National Park, the eight major scenic spots were selected from all the scenery in the district.

One of these scenic spots is the waterfront leading to Nishi Lake from Azuchi to Omi-Hachiman. The maze-like waterfront is located in the middle of Shiga prefecture, to the east of Biwa Lake, and surrounded by peaceful fields and a heavy growth of reed. The waterfront reflects each season, and you enter another world where you can forget the daily noise.

If you take the waterfront tour, which is an imitation of Oda Nobunaga's sailing boat, many wild birds will welcome you with their lovely songs.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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