EIZO LCD TV, which has become popular with its simple yet finely refined design and high quality, launched their new line of color LCD HDTV, under the brand name of FORIS.
FORIS HD can be used as both a television and computer monitor. It has a high resolution of more than 720 lines with an aspect ratio is 16:9. Accompanying its high definition, EIZO has developed new techniques which enable FORIS monitors to present a picture which is gentle on the viewer’s eyes.
By applying Pythagoras’ Theorem (3:4:5) to its sound technology, EIZO has succeeded in developing a highly effective and superb quality in both the bass and treble ranges.
It has vivid vermilion Bengal color on its side which is traditionally considered a noble color, making a definite mark of Japanese manufacture.
It is the further evolution of a new information terminal fusing the television and computer.
Bengara is inorganic red pigment whose main ingredient is iron oxide, Fe2O3, and it is the oldest coloring agent known to mankind.
Bengara is written弁柄, in some cases紅殻, in Kanji and is also known as Indian Red and Venetian Red.
Bengara was thought to be introduced from China, via the Korean peninsula, into Okinawa. The name Bengara was believed to have been derived from Bengal, the Indian province that most of the iron oxide came from.
Bengara’s ingredient, iron oxide Fe2O3, was produced naturally more than any other iron oxide based coloring agents. However because its mineral composition is very similar to that of red rust from iron, nowadays artificially composed dyes have become more common than naturally produced ones. Nariwa-cho, Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture, is the only remaining place in Japan that still produces Bengara naturally.
In ancient time, Bengara was rare and much treasured as a noble color. Shuri Castle in Okinawa is known to have Bengara red color. Because Bengara was superior for coloring and sealing as well as resistant to heat and water, it was applied to wooden buildings to prevent aging damage.
The color of Bengara might lack certain brightness more common in other red based pigments, but its flamboyance today still keeps holding people’s affection.
Bingata is an Okinawan traditional paste resist dyeing technique. It was created in the 16th century as a dying process for the clothing of the royalty and the nobles of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Because of this, most of the dye-shops at the time were located around Shuri Castle and protected by the government. Although the word “bin-gata” literally means “red patterns” in Japanese, Bingata is generally multi-colored cloth dyed with various patterned stencil papers.
There are actually two methods of doing Bingata dyeing; “stencil dying” and “cylinder drawing.” In stencil dyeing, the boundaries of the patterns are set with the application of rice-paste resist through a stencil. In cylinder drawing, patterns are hand-drawn through what looks to be a pastry tube.
The bright colors produced by these careful hand processes fascinated the royalty and the nobility of the time. Especially the yellow color created by fukugi (Garcinia subelliptica) was allowed to be used only for the loyal family.
Today, Bingata resist dyed cloth is used not only for clothing but also for many other items such as bags and tapestries, all of which feature an exotic atmosphere of a southern land. Together with Yuzen dyeing, it is one of Japan’s representing dyeing techniques now.
Miyazaki lacquer ware (Miyazaki Shikki) is a traditional handicraft, which is designated as a Traditional Craft Product by Miyazaki Prefecture. The history of this craft originates in Ryukyu lacquer ware, which started in present-day Okinawa in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), and the techniques of which we can see in the Shuri Castle Gate in Naha City.
In Miyazaki Prefecture, the lacquering techniques were introduced by some lacquerers, who came to live in this prefecture from Okinawa. Lacquering industry started in this area as the means of promoting local employment and developed as far as to produce the independent lacquer ware Miyazaki Shikki.
The high temperatures and ample humidity of Miyazaki's climate are well suited for drying the pieces, which are applied several times of lacquering; undercoating, middle coating and top coating. These processes are essential for making products strong and durable.
The distinctive way of applying the decorative pattern called Tsuikin characterizes Miyazaki lacquer ware. In Tsuikin techniques, pigment is crushed and mixed with transparent top-coat lacquer and hit by a hammer until it becomes gummy. This is then cut out according to the patterns and attached to a base board.
The outstanding beauty of the vermillion patterns is treasured by a lot of people all over the country. Presently products such as trays, teacup holders, candy dishes and letter boxes are being made.
Katsuren gusuku was a castle located in Katsuren, Uruma City, Okinawa Pref. The castle stood at an altitude of 68-98 m above sea level, 140 m from east to west and 85 m from north to south. It was built around 12th-13th centuries as a residence of Katsuren Anji. The last castellan that gave it a refurbishment was Amawari, who was a growing power in this area. To check his advance on the capital, Shuri King placed his retainer Gosamaru in Nakagusuku Castle. In 1458, Amawari defeated Gosamaru and advanced his forces to the capital, but was severely defeated and destroyed by the King’s forces.
Standing on a hill facing the Pacific Ocean, the gusuku looks like a castle in the sky. At present the castle ruin site is arranged into Katsuren Castle Ruin Park, where a lot of visitors come to enjoy beautiful landscape.
Sonohyan Utaki Ishi-mon is a gate located between Shurei Gate and Kankai-mon Gate of Shuri Castle. It was erected by Seito under the order of Ryukyu King Sho Shin. The woods in the inner part of the gate are a sacred place called Sonohyan Utaki. Utaki is a sacred place usually located in each village and the place where the rituals concerning agriculture or fishing and any other communal events were held. Sonohyan Utaki was the most important place for Ryukyu Dynasty, where the king offered prayers for national order and safety before all his travels around the island. It was also the place where Kikoe Ogimi (the highest ranked priestess) dropped in at and offered a prayer on the day her enthronement ceremony was held.
Although the gate was severely damaged by Battles of Okinawa, it was restored to the present form in 1957. It was registered with the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
The Ryukyu Kingdom Royal Procession is the main feature of the Shurijo castle festival, a major prefectural event held in the city of Naha. The procession re-enacts the arrival at Ryukyu of various emissaries from the Imperial Chinese court.
1,300 people participate in the event, including the people playing the roles of the Ryukyu king and queen and the Ming and Qing emissaries, plus the troupes of traditional performing actors dressed in elegant costumes playing 'rujigaku' and other classical music genres. They parade gravely along Kokusai-dori, the central thoroughfare of Naha city.
To increase the liveliness of the event, the parade includes many entertainers. All participants are chosen from the public. During the festival, traditional performing arts are presented at the stage inside the castle of Shurijo.
The Ryukyu Kingdom Royal Procession is a gorgeous and spectacular parade. It is a festival of history and fantasy that makes you feel as if you had slipped into the times of the Ryukyu kingdom.
Did you know Okinawa used to be an independent state, called 'Ryukyu Kingdom'? Ryukyu Kingdom was founded in 1429, 600 years ago in what is now Urazoe City. From the 15th to 16th century, it flourished economically by trading with Asian countries like China and developed an advanced architectural culture with construction including Kingdoms, temples, roads and bridges. From the 17th to 18th century, when it was ruled by Satsuma Domain, now called Kagoshima prefecture, local characteristic cultures blossomed including pair dancing, Bingata, the technique of textile dyeing, and Ryukyu lacquer ware. In 1879, the kingdom ended but experiencing its historical architecture enables us to imagine its prosperity at that time and its vital culture.
Especially interesting is 'Shuri-castle', which has been designated as a World Heritage site, and was much influenced by Japanese and Chinese architecture; the main, north and south parts are obvious examples. In addition, the king's grave, Sonohyanutaki stone gateway, and Shikina-en, Ryukyu garden, were also designated as World Heritage sites in 2000.