NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/5/7


フラフ Furafu Furafu

Jp En

During the Tango no Sekku (Boy’s Festival) period in Kochi prefecture, a large flag called “Furafu” is set out with Koinobori (carp streamer) and Nobori (banner). The word “Furafu” is said to have come from a Dutch word “vlag (pronounced as fu-la-fu)” meaning a flag. All the steps in making a Furafu are done by hand. The largest Furafu is about 4 m in length and about 7 m in width, while even a smaller one is about 2 m in length and about 3 m in width. It is a gallant and beautiful decoration. The patterns drawn on Furafu are lively boys that appear in fairly tales like Kintaro or Momotaro, gallant warriors like Toyotomi Hideyoshi or samurai fighting in the Battle of Kawanakajima, and lucky designs like Shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Fortune) or Takarabune (treasure ship). Those Furafu are given to a boy as a present from his parents or relatives. Colorful Furafu flying in the clear sky of May give cheerful atmosphere to the towns in Tosa.
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2007/2/23


大川総桐タンス Ookawa-soukiri-tansu Okawa Paulownia Chest

Jp En

Okawa paulownia chest is traditional furniture made in Okawa City, Fukuoka Pref. Furniture production in Okawa City has a history of 470 years and the city is Japan’s largest furniture production center. Okawa, which is located on the downstream of the Chikugo River, used to be a distribution center of lumber. Furniture production in this area started in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), when Kumenosuke Enokizu applied his knowledge of ship carpentry to wood work. Then in the late Edo period, Kasaku Tanoue, who learned furniture making techniques of China and Holland, established the foundation of furniture-making in Okawa. The Paulownia chest is generally known for its damp-proof and fire resistive properties together with the beautiful grains. In addition to these merits, Okawa paulownia chest has a burglar-proof mechanism inside, giving special contrivance to metal hardware. Okawa paulownia chest is made of the top quality straight-grained boards, which gives massive appearance. It is a high-finished traditional product.
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2007/2/1


会津漆器 Aizusikki Aizu Lacquerware

Jp En

Aizu lacquerware is a traditional handicraft of Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture. In 1590 (Tensho 17), Gamo Ujisato, a feudal lord of Aizu, invited specialist craftsmen and painters to initiate a lacquerware industry for the region.

Aizu lacquerware really took off after this, with the area becoming the main production center for the growth of urushi lacquer and decoration. In the Edo period, Aizu laquerware was the most prosperous lacquer business in Japan and was exported to China and as far afield as the Netherlands.

By the late Edo period, the area had suffered damage following the Boshin war but later revived to become one of Japan's chief centers of lacquerware production from the mid-Meiji period.

Aizu lacquerware involves several different techniques: 'tetsabu-nuri' (iron-rust coating with rust-brown lacquer); 'kinmushikui-nuri' (gold 'worm-eaten' coating using a process where the wet surface of the vessel is sprinkled with rice chaff); and 'kijiro-nuri' (a lacquer coating that reveals the natural grain of the wooden core vessel).

Aizu lacquerware features all kinds of lucky designs favored by the Japanese. As a traditional craft, Aizu lacquerware has survived for over 400 years.
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2007/1/31


尾張七宝 Owari-shippou Owari Cloisonne

Jp En

Owari cloisonne is a traditional handicraft in Aichi Pref. The art made its start in the 1800s, when the local samurai, Tsunekichi Kaji found a plate in a ship from Holland and analyzed how it was made. He broke the plate into pieces, learned that it had a copper basis with glazed motifs outlined by inlayed metal wires, and finally succeeded in reproducing it. The technique he mastered had been first handed down to Shogoro Hayashi, a workman living in the present “Shippo-cho (cloisonne town).” Since then it has been handed down from generation to generation until the present time. The name “Shippo-cho” seems to represent the workmen’s passion for cloisonne. In cloisonne, copper instead of clay is used as the base material. The general method of making cloisonne involves first making a body with a copper plate and painting a pattern, then, soldering silver wires along the lines of the pattern. Next, colored enamels were filled in the cells partitioned by the wires, and finally it is fired. The main products are flower vases, photo frames, and ornament plates, each of which can be a collector’s item with elegance and gorgeousness.
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2007/1/26


福沢旧居 Fukuzawa-kyuukyo The Fukuzawa Residence

Jp En

The Fukuzawa Residence, in Rusuimachi, Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture, is where Yukichi Fukuzawa spent his childhood and youth. It is designated a National Monument.

Yukichi was born in the Nakatsu-Hanzo Residence in Doujima, Osaka Prefecture, in the 5th year of the Tenpo era (1835). After his father's death, Yukichi returned to his hometown when he was a year and 6 months old, living in this house until he was 19.

The storehouse in the backyard was remodeled by Yukichi for the sole purpose of studying, while the main house was where he slept and ate. The Museum built next to the house has many exhibits from this period on display.

After reaching 19, Yukichi traveled to Nagasaki to take Dutch studies, but soon became keenly aware of the importance of English. He studied English by himself and boarded the "Kanrin-maru" ship in order to sail to the United States. Later, Yukichi wrote the famous book "Gakumon-no-susume", which sold more than 3.4 million copies, and he became the founder of Keio University.

The Fukuzawa Residence is an historic household that preseres the youthful origins of Yukichi Fukuzawa, the pioneer of democracy in Japan.
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2007/1/18


尾山神社 Oyama-Jinjya Oyama Shrine

Jp En

Oyama Shrine used to be called Utatsu Hachiman Shrine. Maeda Toshinaga established it in 1599 to honor Maeda Toshiie, the former clan lord of Kaga. Later in 1873, it was moved to the present place from Mt Utatsu.

A Dutch designer, Holtman, designed the entrance gate to Oyama Shrine. The gate blends three architectural styles: Western, Chinese and Japanese. The stone arch in the first section has a structure of wood and seems to be something akin to Ryūgū-jō. The Dutch five-colored stained-glass windows on the top floor are beautiful.

At one time, the gateway was used as a lighthouse for Kaneishi port. It has a height of 25m, including the lightning conductor. In 1950, it was designated as an important cultural asset.
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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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