NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/26


鏝絵 Kote-e Kote-e Plaster Relief Carving

Jp En

Koto-e is a form of relief carving on Japanese plaster. A special craftsman makes plaster reliefs and sculptures on to the walls of private house and storehouse. Designs include auspicious symbols and characters as well as imaginary beasts that represent people's prayers and wishes.

'Koto-e' has only recently been coined as a name for this craft, and Izu Chohachi's work was the first to be categorized as such. This craft used to be called 'doro-e', 'kabe-e', etc.

Koto-e relief carving is a craft that has only really developed from the late Edo through Meiji period, a time of kaleidoscopic changes into the modern era. The spirit of the craftsmen living through these times can be felt in their work. Recently, plaster-relief carving nearly vanished, but it has gradually seen its popularity as a craft rise again. A koto-e competition takes place annually in Hamazaki Town, the hometown of Chohachi.
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2007/1/19


カセ鳥 Kasedori Kasedori Festival

Jp En

Kasedori is a fire-prevention festival that takes place in Kaminoyama, Yamagata prefecture. It is believed that the custom began about 350 years ago. In those days, the festival took place first at a shrine on the 13th day of the lunar new year, and then in the town on the 15th.

During the festival, young people parade through the streets. As they pass by, local people pour water from ladels onto the procession and pray for fire prevention and prosperity.

This custom was halted in 1896, but revived in 1959. Today, the youngsters still wear the traditional straw costumes called 'kendan' and parade through town calling out the peculiar sound 'kasedori, kasedori, ka-ka-ka.'

At the time of the festival, Kaminoyama is covered with snow. However, the great energy of the youngsters is warming in the freezing weather.
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2007/1/12


下駄 Geta Geta

Jp En

Geta are one of Japan's traditional forms of footwear. Their origin dates back to the Nara or Heian periods. Especially after the Genroku period, when komageta were developed, and by the Edo period, they were being widely used.
   In Edo, geta raised on two high struts ('ha'= teeth) were called ashida and those with low struts were geta. In Edo, geta for men were angular and those for women were roundish. In Kyoto or Osaka, high or low geta were called geta and had rounded shapes for either sex. In the Edo period, geta seem to have been tasteful footwear.
   The thong to anchor the feet on geta is made from cloth: informal cloth, not formal.
   For some time after the Meiji Restoration, geta were often worn with Western dress but, following the asphalting of roads, this form of footwear, along with Japanese cloth, lost their popularity.
   In the last 10 years, both kimono and yukata have seen a revival in popularity, and so, too, have geta. Geta are currently changing in form, so that they are more comfortable to wear and do not hurt your feet.
   Up to 60 percent of geta are produced in Matsunaga District, Fukuyama City, in Hiroshima prefecture.
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NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - 日本語に切り替える NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - to english

"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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