NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/11/7


三ケ所神社 Sangasyo-jinja Sangasho Shrine

Jp En

Sangasho Shrine located in Gokase-cho in the northwest part of Miyazaki Pref. in central Kyushu is a shrine famous for seasonal flowers. The shrine originates in the hokora (small shrine) at the top of Mt. Futagami, which is believed to be the place of Tenson Korin (the Sun goddess’ descent to earth). Later during the Shotai era (898-901) the hokora was moved to the foot of the mountain and Sangasho Shrine was founded. It enshrines the deities of Izanagi and Izanami. The shrine was rebuilt in 1571. The present Honden (main hall) built in 1817 is made of one zelkova tree and the excellent Nagare-zukuri style is employed there. Exquisite wood carvings by master craftsmen of the time are especially beautiful. From the middle of April through the end of May, when the annual spring is festival is held, 12,000 stocks of alpine roses burst out in the precinct. Camellia and weeping cherry blossoms are also splendid when they are in full bloom. The gallant Araodori Dance by male dancers in warrior costume is a nationally designated Important Intangible Cultural Property. It is dedicated to the deities of this shrine on the last Saturday of September every year.
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2007/9/13


瑞巌寺 御成門、中門 Zuigaan-ji Onari-mon,Naka-mon The Onari-mon and Naka-mon Gates at Zuiganji Temple

Jp En

Zuiganji Temple in Matsushima Town, Miyagi Prefecture, is a temple of the Rinzai sect and is known as a family temple of the Date clan. It was founded in 828 by Jikaku Daishi En’nin, a high-ranked priest in the Heian period. Its formal name is Matsushima Shoryuzan Zuigan Enpuku Zenji. It is also called Matsushima-dera.  

The present temple buildings were completed in 1609 after the 5-year construction work. It is said that Date Masamune invited 130 excellent carpenters from all over the country to build this temple. The main hall, the Onari entrance, the corridor and Kuri (the priests’ quarters) are designated as National Treasures. The Onari-mon and Naka-mon Gates and the Taikobei wall are nationally designated Important Cultural Properties.

The Onari-mon Gate is a Yakuimon-styled stately structure with a tiled roof in the Irimoya-zukuri (hip and gabled) style, while the Naka-mon Gate in front of the main hall is a simple four-legged gate with a Kokera-buki (thin wooden shingles) roof. It has no walls to connect the legs. The white clay wall is Taikobei, or “drum wall,” which is a double wall that consisted of two separate walls between which earth, sand and stones were placed.

The palm trees respectively producing white and red flowers stand on both sides of the Naka-mon Gate. They are called “Garyubai (Lying Dragon Palm)” from their appearance. It is said that Date Masamune brought them back from Korea. They come into bloom in the middle of April.
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2007/5/22


山口安次郎 Yamaguchi Yasujiro Yasujiro Yamaguchi

Jp En

Born in 1904, Yasujiro Yamaguchi has been involved in the Nishijin textile industry in Kyoto for almost a century since he graduated from an elementary school. He is specialized in the technique called “Karaori (float-weave brocades),” which requires especially high skills and experience among many types of Nishijin weavings.

Since 1950, when he was asked by Kongo Iwao, 25th head of the Kongo school of Noh to recreate Noh costumes that were made 300 years ago, he has reproduced and woven various kinds of cloth for Noh costumes. He has also donated his works to a number of museums in the world. It is well-known that he presented the U.S. General Douglas MacArthur with the cloth for Noh costume. Yamaguchi also reproduced a “Ten-mizuhiki (an upper tapestry)” of a float for Gion Festival in Kyoto.

Yamaguchi was selected as a “Master Craftsman of the Age” in 1982, and received Order of the Sacred Treasure, Silver Rays in 1983. Together with his elder brother Itaro, the centenarian brothers have been actively contributing to the further development of the Nishijin weavings. Their spirit of inquiry gives us the courage to live.
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