NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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小川規三郎(人間国宝) Ogawa kisaburou Kisaburo Ogawa (Living National Treasure)

Jp En

Kisaburo Ogawa was born in November 30, 1936. He is recognized as the holder of the important intangible cultural heritage of kenjyo-hakata-ori and was designated a living national treasure in 2003. Kisaburo Ogawa is also a guest professor of fine art at Kyushu Sangyo University.

Kenjyo-hakata-ori or Hakata weaving dates back 700 years to the Kamakura period. It gets its name because it was a gift bestowed annually by the Kurota clan to the government in the Edo period.

The weaving's trait is the thick-layered fabric and its silky touch, and was mainly used to weave sashes. Although this traditional craft is woven on a loom, the industry faces a dilemma in that there is no successor. The Hakata Weaving Association is making products other than sashes, to keep and develop the tradition. For example, they are making bags and wallets to attract younger people. Mr Ogawa, being a member of the association, works energetically as a panel member in symposiums and gives speeches.
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元寇防塁跡 Genkoubourui-ato Bulwarks against Mongol Invasion

Jp En

The site of these bulwarks, which were built for defence against Mongol invasions, is in Fukuoka City. There are 7 bulwarks, all of which have been designated as National Historic Sites.

In 1274, the Mongols attacked Hakata with 900 military ships and 28,000 soldiers and fought with samurais in Kyushu. (This is known as the Bunei War.)

In defence, the Kamakura government built 20-km bulwarks, 2m high and 2.5m wide, along a length of Hakata Bay, from Imazu in the west, to Kashi in the east. The line of defence, constructed by the Kyushu samurais, took half a year to complete.

In 1281, the Mongols attacked Hakata again, but were blocked by the bulwarks. Moreover, a typhoon (the 'Divine Wind') struck the fleet which sank. (This is known as the Koan War.)

The bulwarks remind you of the old times and we can admire the samurais' achievement. In Showa 6 (1931), the bulwarks were designated as National Historic Sites.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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