This is the Kanji 史 ‘Shi’ from 歴史 ‘Rekishi: history.’ Surprisingly, the background of the meaning of 史, however, is not known. In China, historiography started at a very early stage in history. This fact is closely related to the character. The first character form already appears in the tortoise plastron and bone characters. As in 信・吉・哲 and the like, the part 口 here also is a ‘norito’ prayer receptacle. It shows the form of holding a wooden stick which is attached to the ‘norito’ prayer receptacle. It is the form of the ritual of worshipping the spirits of the king’s ancestors. Like 祭る ‘matsuru: to worship,’ 史 also has the reading 史る ‘matsuru: to worship.’ From the meaning of worship itself its meaning shifted to that of the person who conducts the act of worship. The world of ancient China is not based on the principal of separation of religion and state. The role of holding and carrying the ‘norito’ prayer receptacle is a religious service typical for a cleric and at the same time like that of a public servant in the Royal household.
使 and 事 are characters of the same lineage. Worship of the Royal ancestors became the model for ancestor worship of the whole people and it can be said that its record is history itself.
Ono Castle, also called Miyayama Castle, was located at the top of Mt. Seikai in Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture. The castle was resided first by the Ono clan, the descendant of the Owari-Genji family, then the Isshiki clan, and finally the four generations of the Saji clan.
The Saji clan built up Chita Suigun (the naval forces) and played an important role in promoting maritime trade and controlling marine transportation in Ise Bay. Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi placed great importance on their naval power and Nobunaga’s sister and niece were married off to the Saji clan.
Nobunaga’s niece, Ogo (or Oeyo), whose mother is Nobunaga’s sister Oichi, was married to Saji Kazunari, the 4th head of the Saji clan, by the order of Hideyoshi. However, when Kazunari sided with the Tokugawa and Oda allied forces later, Hideyoshi got angry and made the couple get divorced in 1584. Later in 1595, she remarried Tokugawa Hidetada, the 3rd son of Ieyasu and later the 2nd Tokugawa Shogun, and became the mother of his successor, Iemitsu.
The castle ruins site has been arranged into the park, where the two-story donjon and the castle gate were newly constructed. You can command a wonderful view of Ise Bay from the observatory deck on the donjon. The Saji clan is enshrined at Saji Shrine in the ruins site of the watch tower.
This character means the season called autumn. The same in antiquity as now, its characteristic, the harvest is which is reflected in the grain-classifier. The part of the character apart from the left part shows the burning of harmful insects.
In the original character form, the fire is positioned below. It is the most effective position for exposing the larvae or insect’s eggs to fire. The original character form can be seen for the first time in the tortoise plastron and bone characters. The proper original character has the 灬 four dots fire element below the 龜 ‘insect’ of 龝 but has now come to be called ‘variant character’ (with a nuance of abnormality). Nevertheless, it shows the original meaning of the character more clearly. From the present Common Use Kanji 秋 the mutual relation of the character elements cannot be correctly understood. It has become an abbreviation which completely excludes the fire’s role of burning harmful insects. In the original character the four dots fire element is appropriately positioned below the character element representing the insect. Agriculture had already considerably developed in the Yīn (Shāng) period, and ashes and excrements were already used as manure. Rice stem borers and locusts could not be ignored. As grown insects easily flee, the fire most probably was rather directed at the larvae adhering to the rice plants or crops. The original character form also conveys a certain symbolic meaning as, there seems to have been a profound relationship to a seasonal ritual.
Shirabeo, or formally called Shirabe, is a set of ropes used for Kotsuzumi (a small hand drum), Otsuzumi (a large hand drum) and Shime-daiko (a rope-tuned drum). Shirabeo does not only hold the drum heads in place but also tunes the pitch of drums. The pitch can be varied by squeezing the ropes with the left hand while striking the drum with the right. Shirabeo is an indispensable part of drums used in classical Japanese music such as Noh, Kabuki and Nagauta and folk music.
For a long time until around 1877, when a professional tuner came into existence, any durable strings on hand were used for tuning. Today, a code for Shirabeo is made of two Japanese linen ropes twisted each other, after which as many as 25 detailed processes are given. The rope used for Shirabeo must be elastic so that it comes back to its original place after being pulled by the player and at the same time it must be soft so that the player’s hand skins are not damaged after playing for a long time. Highly elaborate techniques and long experience are required to produce such ropes.
Communication Stations equipped with a station house, horses and men was built to provide transportation and accommodation services. They played an important role during the pioneering period of Hokkaido.
Shimamatsu Communication Station was built in 1873, when the Sapporo Main Route was opened to traffic. After 1884, the station was operated by Nakayama Kyuzo, who settled in the Shimamatsu area of present-day Kitahiroshima City and who was called the father of rice farming in a cold region.
Shimamatsu Communication Station was where Dr. Clark spoke the famous phrase “Boys be ambitious” to his students, who got together at this station to see him off on April 16 in 1881, when he stopped here on his way back to his country.
It is the oldest existing station house in Hokkaido. The station was designated as a National Historical Site as a precious example that shows arrangement of a communication station at that time.
The city of Chiryu in Aichi Prefecture was the 39th of 53 post stations on the Old Tokaido Road from 1601 to the end of the Edo period. In 1604, the Tokugawa Shogunate ordered to plant pine trees on both sides of the Tokaido Road except the zones in the settlements. The row of pine trees protected travelers from the sunlight in summer and cold wind and snow in winter.
Today, as many as 170 pine trees continuing about 500 meters remain in Chiryu City. Byways built on both sides of the row were used for resting horses that were brought to a horse market. The prosperity of the horse market can be inferred from the stone monument erected in the market ruins site to the south of the road and Ando Hiroshige’s “The Fifty-three Post Stations of the Tokaido Road; Chiryu.” The row of pine trees was designated as a city’s cultural property in 1969.
The Kensen Ritual is performed on September 9 to 10 every year at Kashima Shrine in the Yonekura area in Osaki City, the rice producing center of Miyagi Prefecture, where famous rice brands such as Sasanishiki and Hitomebore were born.
Kensen is a Shinto ritual of offering food to the god. It is performed before a shrine priest offers a prayer. As the oldest and most historic shrine in Osaki City, this ritual had been performed by the descendants of the vassals of the Osaki clan (a branch of the Ashikaga clan, who were descended from Seiwa Genji) until the end of World War II. Today it is performed by the hands of local people.
On the first day, the first rice ear of the season is offered to the god in appreciation for a rich harvest. Then, it is followed by other rites and ends with Naorai (banquet), in which holy sake wine and votive offerings are served to the participants. The finale of the festival is the parade of Mikoshi performed on the second day. This solemn ritual is prefecturally designated as an intangible folk cultural property (manners and customs).
Lake Okuyahagi located near the southern border of Gifu Prefecture is a dam lake formed by Yahagi Dam constructed in 1970. It functions as the downstream reservoir of Yahagi- Daiichi (No.1) and Daini (No.2) Electric Power Plants, which employs pumped-up hydropower. It is always full of water and provides water for the surrounding areas.
Nature remains intact in the area around the lake. A variety of small animals inhabit in the mountains, while Amago and pale chub live in the clear stream. The landscape of the lake changes from season to season. A lot of visitors come to enjoy cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves from mid to late November. It is the scenic spot, where various outdoor activities can be enjoyed.