NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/10


おわら風の盆 Owarakazenobon Owara-Wind Bon Festival

Jp En

The Owara-Wind Bon festival is a traditional event that began 300 years ago in Yatsuo town, Toyama Prefecture. Men and women wearing straw hats, happi coats and summer cotton kimonos ('yukata') dance to emotional, lilting folk songs known as 'Occhuu owara bushi'. Instruments such as shamisen and Chinese fiddle are used.
   There are various stories about the derivation of this festival. Of all of these, the 'Citizen Parade Theory' from 1702 is the most likely. It seems that some important documents were returned by landowners to the townspeople, who then joyfully paraded through the town for three days. This became part of the annual Bon ancestor rituals held around that time, merging with harvest festivals to become the Owara-Wind Bon Festival. It also corresponds to a time of year when typhoons are said to strike.
   Every year during September 1-3, the town becomes alive with more than 300,000 visitors.
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福野夜高祭り Fukuno-yotaka-matsuri Fukuno-yotaka Festival

Jp En

The Fukuno-yotaka Festival takes place annually on May 1st and 2nd and has a history of 350 years. The event derives from a story that people were building a new village in the Fukuno area. They were transferring their god from Ise Shrine, but when they reached the Kurikara valley, dusk fell and people from a newly-established local village lit their way with lanterns.
   In the festival today, young men from Yokomachi, Shinmachi, Uemachi, Nanatsuya, Okuramachi, Uramachi and Tatsumimachi wear the same happi coats and hold up 7-meter-high lanterns. There are 20 lanterns in total: seven large and 13 small ones. To the beat of drums, the young men hold the bright-red lanterns and call out 'Yoiyasa Yoiyasa' to the spring night-sky. Their gallant shouts create a magnificent atmosphere. When two parties meet each other in a narrow alley, they are permitted to jump, trample and destroy each others' floats and ornaments. This event is the largest spectacle of the festival.
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津沢 夜高行燈 Tsuzawa Tsuzawa Yodakaandon

Jp En

Every year on June 10th and 11th, a traditional event called Yodakaandon takes place in Tsuzawa, Oyabe-Shi, Toyama Prefecture. It is an epic and elegant festival that dates back 350 years to the early Edo period.

As part of the rites for the establishment of the town of Fukuno (today's Nanto-shi), the townspeople went to receive blessings from the spirits at the Ise Shrine. The journey to the shrine took ten days, so the townspeople carried 'andon' lanterns to light their way at night.

Today, andon have become part of the festival 'yodaka' procession, which also includes a float, decorations and ornaments. Some yodaka can be very majestic, measuring about 5.5 meters high and 12 meters long.

On the day of the festival, as twilight approaches, the andon light up the dark streets, signaling the children and young people, who are wearing 'happi' festival clothing, to come and pull the large andon while energetically shouting a rallying cry.

The climax or highlight of the festival, however, is the Kenka Yodakaandon Hikimawashi, which literally means 'Yodakaandon brawl'. Two Yodakaandon position themselves face to face, and then collide. Each group has to destroy the other's float and decorations. Everyone who is at that site becomes intoxicated with fear and excitement, drawing the people into a world where dismay and chaos coexist.
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