NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/8/14


家康行列 Ieyasu-gyouretsu Ieyasu Gyoretsu (Procession)

Jp En

The procession of Tokugawa Ieyasu is held as the main event of Okazaki City’s Cherry festival in April every year. It is a reenactment of the procession of Ieyasu held in the Edo period and performed to give tribute to his attainment of the national unity and the braveness of the Mikawa warriors. It was originally held as a part of the festival at Tatsuki Shrine in the early Meiji period. Today it has become the city’s big event that tells people of the coming of spring.

About 1,000 citizens invited and chosen in the public participation join the procession, playing the roles of Ieyasu, warriors and princesses. The foot soldiers and high-ranked warriors on horsebacks march through the city. The gorgeous and picturesque parade including the ceremony of going to war, the demonstrations by the gun troop and the lancer troop and Kassen-matsuri (Battle Festival) on the riverside of the Otogawa River is a superb spectacle. The procession going through full-blown cherry blossoms may give you an illusion of living in the Edo period.
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2007/8/10


義経・弁慶伝説 Yoshitsune-Benkei-densetsu Legends of Yoshitsune and Benkei

Jp En

There are many legends about Yoshitsune and Benkei in Mogami district. The 'Yoshitsune Story', supposedly written in the Muromachi period, relates that when Yoshitsune was being hunted by his brother Minamotono-no-Yoritomo and was heading for Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture, he passed through Mogami district in the third year of the Bunji period (1187).

The district around Semi hot springs has many legends and traces about Yoshitsune's masters and servants. For example, the Koyasu-Kannon deity is supposed to have overseen the birth of Kamewakamaru, Yoshitsune's child.

The name 'Semi' has several possible origins: one is that it derives from 'Semi-maru', Benkei's long-handled sword; another is that it derives from 'no-crying semi (cicada)', the nickname of Kamewakamaru, who was reputed to have never cried, even when he knew that he was a son of a fleeing warrior. A third possible source is that it is named for a wounded cicada that was resting on a tree and curing itself in the steam from a nearby hot spring.

There are many tourist attractions in Semi, Mogami, that relate to Yoshitsune and Benkei, such as Yagen Hot Water and Benkei's Inkstone that Beinkei was supposed to have used.
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2007/6/1


口羽家住宅 Kuchiba-ke-juutaku The Residence of the Kuchiba Family

Jp En

The residence of the Kuchiba family, who acted as Yorigumi (a quasi-principal retainer) of the Choshu domain during the Edo period, is preserved in its original form in Horiuchi Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings located in Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Among the residence of high-ranked warriors in this district, the Kuchiba family’s residence is relatively old and it is a precious historic site as one of the small number of warriors’ residences preserved in the country. The main building and Omote-mon (the front gate) are nationally designated Important cultural Properties.

The main building is supposed to have been built from the late 18th to the early 19th centuries. It is in the kirizuma-style (a house with a gable roof) with sangawarabuki (with base tiles) and has a protruding wing in the Irimoya-style. Characteristically, the innermost room has the adjacent room called “ai-no-ma,” where guardsmen stationed to protect the master.

The front gate is a long roofed-gate with a width of 22.2 m and a depth of 4.9 m. It is built in the Irimoya-style with hongawarabuki (with formal tiles), the front side of which is plastered with white clay and has beautiful sea slug walls covering its lower part. It is said that this magnificent gate had been used for the domain lord’s manor in Edo before being relocated to this place. It is the largest existing gate of a warrior’s residence in the city.
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2007/2/14


刈谷万燈祭 Kariya-mando-matsuri Kariya Mando Festival

Jp En

Kariya Mando Festival is a historical festival held in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture. It is designated as an important cultural asset of the prefecture.

Kariya Mando Festival has a history of 200 years. When vicious hunger attacked the people, the Kariya Castle lord wished for rain: rain followed and saved the people. Therefore the festival is also called the 'rain-making ritual'.

'Mando' is a picture of a warrior in armor. Mando is also like a large lantern 5m long and 2m wide. The  mando is made of wood and washi paper. The mando is carried by the townspeople. At night the lantern is lit and the warrior depicted on the lantern is iluminated to create an imaginary world.

Kariya Mando Festival is held annually on the last Saturday and Sunday of July.
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2007/2/9


佐沼城 Sanuma-jyou Sanuma Castle

Jp En

Sanuma Castle was established some time between 1185 and 1187 by Terui Takanao, a close aide of Fujiwara no Hidehara. After the collapse of the Fujiwara clan, Sanuma Castle came under the control of Kasai, a subordinate warrior of Minamoto no Yorimoto. However, in later years, the castle was a residence of Ishikawa, a retainer of the Osaki clan.

Sanuma Castle is also known as Shishiga Castle, because deer were buried here in the past as a form of protection. The castle is a natural fortress protected by swamp and river. Today, the Hon-maru (main building) has become the Shishiga Castle park. In the past, to the southwest of Ni-no-maru, there used to be a swamp called Tai Numa, which made a natural moat to protect the castle. Along the eastern side of the Hon-maru ruins, flows the Hazawa River, which also formed a natural moat.

Also in the vicinity stands Izumo Shrine's Teruhi Kengen. Near this shrine is the Sanuma Memorial Tablet, which is a record of the castle. Earthworks can be seen at the edge of the castle, giving a hint of the former castle.
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2007/1/26


上杉神社 Uesugi-jinjya Uesugi Shrine

Jp En

Uesugi Shrine is located in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, and takes its name from Kenshin Uesugi, the famous warlord of the Warring States period. The shrine lies inside Matsugasaki Park, famous for its cherry blossoms, and overflows with people every year on April 29th during the Yonezawa Uesugi Festival.

The park itself is the remains of Yonezawa Castle, while the shrine is built on the site where the main castle keep used to stand.

After the famous Battle of Kawanakajima between Kenshin Uesugi and Shingen Takeda, Kenshin passed away inside Echigoyama Castle on March 13th of the 6th year of the Tenshou Era (1578). His remains were moved many times in the past. When the territory of the second generation Kagekatsu Uesugi was moved to Aizu in 1598, Hideharu Hori, newly appointed Lord of the Echigo Territory, requested that Kenshin's remains be moved also. Kagekatsu did as he was told, moving the remains to a memorial inside Aizu Wakamatsu Castle. The remains were transported once more in 1601 when the territory of Kagekatsu was again moved to Yonezawa. This time the remains were moved to a memorial inside Yonezawa Castle.

A shrine with the remains in the center, a Zenkouji-nyorai statue on the left, and a statue of Vishnu on the right, was constructed in 1612. The shrine was then reconstructed in the 4th year of the Meiji period, and the remains of Youzan were added along with those of Kenshin. Henceforth, the shrine came to be called Uesugi Shrine.
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七戸城 Shichinohe-jo Shichinohe Castle

Jp En

Shichinohe Castle is said to have been built in the Kamakura period and for a long time was the residence of the Shichinohe Nanbu Clan. In the Edo period, the Nanbu (Morioka) Clan took control of it and placed a magistrate's office there.

The castle is also known as Hakuyo Castle. It is on the edge of a 40m diluvial upland spreading northwest from a junction between the Sakuda and Wada rivers toward an urban district.

The castle remains consist of 7 buildings: the main and secondary ones, the north, west and lower ones, as well as the Horai and square ones, covering a total of about 95,000m2. Each clay wall is original, and the moats, round walls, hillside walls, entrances and warriors' hiding places still remain.

In 1591, the 7 castellans participated in Kunohe Masazane's riot and died. The castle was destroyed in the following year.

Now, as part of the Shichinohe Castle Ruin Protection Plan, excavations are taking place in the north building. In 1996, the main and second buildings were found and 15th-century relics were discovered.
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2007/1/25


備中松山城 Bicchu-matsuyama-jo Bicchu-matsuyama Castle

Jp En

Bicchu-matsuyama Castle is situated on Mt Kagyu, which is the town's northern peak. The castle is the highest (430m) in Japan. It was established in the Kamakura period. The castle's origins are associated with the story that Akibashi Shigenobu, the landlord of Ukango (present-day Ukan town, Takahashi district) founded a castle on Mt Omatsu. Later, Mizutani Katsumune constructed Bicchu-matsuyama Castle in 1683. Back then, Mt Kigyu was located near the San-yo and San-in roads. Landlords on either side were fighting for the land and castle and war broke out frequently.

Bicchu-matsuyama Castle is counted as one of the major mountain castles of Japan and, of the three, it is the only one with structures still standing. Also, there is a keep tower. The contrast of white walls and black supporting walls is beautiful, and matches the blue sky.
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