NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/4/4


切込の裸カセドリ Kirigome-no-hadaka-kasedori Hadaka Kasedori (Naked Bird Festival) in Kirigome

Jp En

Hadaka Kasedori is the traditional New Year’s event handed down in the Kirigome area in Kami Town, Miyagi Prefecture. It is held on the night of January 15 every year in hope of fire prevention and getting rid of bad luck. It is prefecturally designated as an intangible folk cultural property.

This is a very unique festival, in which half-naked men with “Hebiso (soot from the Japanese traditional kitchen range)” on the faces visit each of the houses in the village. They are treated with sake and meals, while applying Hebiso on the faces of the family members.

This custom is said to be a kind of rite of passage in that boys over 15 years old undergo physical hardship. New participants, newly married men and men with unlucky ages must wear straw hats and Shimenawa (sacred rice-straw ropes) over their loincloths; and then they stand in front of each houses and are poured cold water all over their bodies.
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2008/1/30


小僧不動の滝寒中みそぎ Kozou-fudou-no-taki-kanchuu-misogi Waterfall Purification at Kozo-Fudo Sui Shrine

Jp En

Waterfall purification is performed on January 15 every year at Kozo Fudo Sui Shrine in Ichihasama Nagasaki in Kurihara City, Miyagi Prefecture. The men who have reached their Yaku-doshi (the unlucky ages) and who have attained adulthood participate in the purification.

At around 7:00 in the evening, the men wearing loincloths, straw sandals and headbands march into the precinct of the shrine, carrying the Mikoshi made of straw rice bags. After they offer a prayer for their safety during the purification ritual, they run to the Kozo-Fudo Waterfall and jump into the basin with renewed vigor.

Although the air temperature around the waterfall is about 8 degrees below zero, they stand under the waterfall with a height of 10 m and then soak in the cold water. Their skin turn crimson in no time but they continue offering a prayer for family safety, good health, expelling bad luck, a rich harvest or success in entrance examinations.

When they come out of water, they return to the shrine to report that the purification is over without any accident. Greeted by spectators’ cheers and applause, they take a rest around a bonfire and drink hot Amazake (sweet sake-wine). The ritual has received a favorable comment from the participants that they can feel refreshed when their body and soul are purified.
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2007/1/31


西方の水かけまつり Nishikata-no-mizukake-matsuri Mizukake Festival (Water Splashing Festival) at Nishikata

Jp En

Mizukake Festival is a unique Shinto ritual held at Nishikata area in Miharu-machi, Fukushima Pref. This religious ritual has been handed down in this area for about 600 years. It originates in the legend that when an epidemic attacked the villages, a mysterious mist rose up from the water place and the spread of the epidemic stopped soon after that. The villagers, being sure it was a protection by the god, started to practice cold water ablutions in Mizu-iwai (water celebration) event held at Shiogama Shrine. Mizukake Festival is also called Mizu-abi (water-bathing), Mizu-iwai (water celebration), or Doro-kake (mud splashing) Festival. It is held on New Year’s Day. Young men first purify themselves by pouring cold water upon themselves in the Otakine River in hope of perfect state of health, prosperity of offspring, and productiveness of grain, and then start to splash water against one another in a fierce manner. In recent years not only young men but also people who wish to drive away their climacteric ill luck in the middle age join this water splashing event.
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