NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/4/3


ちんこんかん Chin-kon-kan Chin-kon-kan Dance

Jp En

Chin-kon-kan is a dedication dance performed annually on 16 August at Ushi Shrine (Osuga Shrine) in Shinkura-cho.

A large masked demon in a red costume with a small hama-bow, and a smaller demon with a 6 shaku-sized staff (approx. 6ft long), dance to the rhythm of bass and snare taiko drums and bells.

It is said that this Ushi Shrine was built in the Tenmon era (1532〜1555) to enshrine dead cows. Later the dance also became a prayer for rain and to repel insects.

Chin-kon-kan is also known as 'Chikkon-kan', and sometimes written in Chinese characters with the phonetic equivalent letters of bamboo ('chiku'), root ('kon')and stem ('kan'). Probably these various ways of writing chin-kon-kan derive from the sounds made by the musical instruments.

Chin-kon-kan was designated as an intangible folklore cultural asset of the prefecture in 1959 (Showa 34).
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2007/2/1


高柴デコ屋敷 Takashiba-deko-yashiki Takashiba Deko House

Jp En

Takashiba Deko House is a village in Takashiba, Nishida Town, Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture.

Deko house is a general name for five houses that have kept making Miharu dolls and spinning tops for many generations. The word 'deko' comes from 'deku', another word for a doll.

Takashiba Deko House makes Miharu spinning tops and red cattle dolls (one of Fukushima's symbols), as well as many talismans and good-luck charms like long-nosed goblins, droll fellows and stone-carved shrine dogs.

In the studio of Takashiba Deko House, visitors can observe working craftsmen who have inherited this 300-year-old tradition. Moreover, visitors can try painting, too.

Takashiba Deko House is a small village that preserves Fukushima's doll culture, and is a place that we should continue to preserve.
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2007/1/18


赤べこ Akabeko Red Beko

Jp En

Red beko is a famous local folk toy made in Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima prefecture.

In the dialect of the Tohoku region, 'beko' means a cow, so 'red beko' is a red cow. The red is said to be effective as a talisman and red bekos are popular as bringers of good luck.

About 1200 years ago, in 807, Tokuichi Taishi built Fukuman-Kozoson in Enzoji Temple. At that time, much wood was brought from the village near the upper Tadami. But the Tadami River was so fast-flowing that the conveyance was difficult. Then, a herd of cattle came from somewhere and helped to carry the wood.

Conveying the wood was very hard, many cows could not make the journey, and only a red cow survived and kept working. The story spread and red beko became a popular gift to encourage the growth of a child and as a charm to ward off plagues.
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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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