Tag Archive for matsuri

POTW: 14th Jan 2013

About POTWs in 2013

I think this is the first post of 2013. As you know, Photo of the Week (POTW) blog posts aren’t exactly weekly, as I am a busy person. I do apologise for not being able to be so frequent, but blogging is just the fun side of what I do, and it takes time to think of something worthwhile to say, and ensuring it is worth your time to read. POTWs are usually published each Monday at about 6pm (Tokyo time), though it may have to be adjusted later this year as my schedule may change. Please use the RSS button in your browser to obtain a list of updates, and bookmark this site in your browser, too.

Other Website news

You may have noticed the new version of the JapanesePhotos.Asia webpage looks a little different. The main two differences are the drop-down menu, and the multi-screen functionality. That means, the homepage should work well on smartphones, tablet computers, desktop computers (Mac, Windows, & Linux). However, there is unfortunately a caveat. The homepage is designed for the most up-to-date web 2.0, HTML5 systems. Which means the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browser (regardless of age) may have functionality problems. Many websites, companies, and web designers have been complaining for years about the out-of-datedness of IE, and very recently Google explicitly stated it cannot provide any more support for IE. However, I do maintain a simple text menu at the bottom of the page, above the footer for IE fans. On that point, currently, WordPress (the volunteer group that created and maintains this blogging software) still produces IE compatible software, though I don’t know how much longer their resolve will last.

POTW

This Photo of the Week (POTW) is for an upcoming annual event, the Naked Man Festival (Hadaka Matsuri). It is held in coldest, most miserable part of winter in Kounomiya, just outside of Nagoya, in central Japan. The next event will apparently be held on the 16th February 2013 (according to WhatonWhen.Com). Here is some info from my 2009 blog post:

It began over 1,200 years ago, in the year 767, when Nara was the capital of Japan. At that time, there were plagues affecting the Japanese people, so Emperor Shotoku ordered special prayers to be said nation wide. The governor of Owari Province (now Aichi Prefecture) asked the shrine at Kounomiya to do something about this, and to remove the bad luck. So, the Naked Man Festival, held in the coldest time in winter was formulated.

If you’re planning on being one of the 120,000 plus members of the crowd, I suggest that you prepare well. That meaning warm clothes and avoiding both dehydration & over-hydration. Because of the cold, possible snow and ice on the ground, you’ll need to wear two pairs of socks, thermal leggings, warm trousers, thermal shirts, warm shirt, jumper (sweater), warm jacket, gloves, and scarf. Drink plenty the day before, so your body is at peak hydration that morning. Take a good hydrating drink (eg: Pocari Sweat or Aquarius). Don’t drink too much in the morning. There are toilets there, though I don’t recall ever seeing them, and the toilets at the station will require a ticket for entry.

The event usually starts at about 1pm. Be there before 12pm to get to know the lie of the land, where everything is, have some snacks to warm you up and ensure you have enough energy to withstand the next few hours. Importantly, find a good standing spot, and try to make guesses as to what parts of the public access will be closed off from 1pm, and so you can get a good standing space. Usually, the inside of the temple area will be overcrowded, and you’ll need to sit on someone’s shoulders, and you may be told to get out of the way once the event begins. Don’t worry, as you can work out how to plan things better next year. Also, there’s plenty of space along the boulevard leading up to the temple (shown below), though crowded with the other 100,000 people. Welcome to ‘contemporary zen’ [/sarcasm].

It is a great cultural event, simply because it is such a rare kind of event for North Americans, Europeans, and other Western people. More photos like this POTW can be found on my agent’s website, Asia Photo Connection, by Henry Westheim, and my own portfolio on PhotoShelter.

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POTW: 7th May Tado Horse Festival

This Photo of the Week is from the Tado Horse Festival. I’ve written about this before, but the summary is that the event is hundreds of years old, and if the horse gets over a mound of earth atop a hill then there will be a good rice harvest later in the year. Following the festival the local farmers can begin to plant their rice. And there’s always a catch, the horse, rider, and the hill all have to be appropriately inebriated with sake. More details can be found in previous posts, and this time I provide more info than what is on Wikipedia/Tado_Festival. See the Tado Horse Festival gallery for more images.

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The Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival

Aka: Yosakoi Yume Matsuri. I’m not sure what Yosakoi means, it’s perhaps a local Nagoya word. It’s a mini version of the Nagoya Dance Festival (‘domatsuri’) held in September each year. The only thing that makes this stand out is that one of the dance teams wore a kimono costume that featured a waratah (pictured below), an Australian flower, and so I thought I should blog this, more to the benefit of the Japan-Australia blog (hi John).

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

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Tado Horse Festival

The basics:

A drunken rider takes a drunken horse up a drunken hill. If they make it up and over a mound, then this heralds a good rice harvest later in the year. After the event the local farmers can begin planting their rice. About 120,000 people annually go to see this event, which dates back hundreds of years (I don’t know how many, I’m afraid). Local animal rights groups complain about the event and the stress it causes to the horses, and the participation of school-aged teenagers as well. The event has changed some features, including lowering the height of the mound / obstacle on top of the hill, and reducing the amount of alcohol the horses (and riders) are given. I’m not sure of the details, but it seems that this year the main change was the quantity of alcohol, but the mound seems be about the same as usual (though last years was low). Images will be added to this Tado Horse Festival portfolio in the coming days.

The mound atop the hill is broken to make it easier for the horse to get over.

A horse running up to the mound. The horse gets about a 100 meter run up.

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POTW Fertility Festival

This Photo of the Week is for the upcoming Nagoya fertility festival, held at Tagata annually on 15th March. The festival promotes having babies and families, and it’s also a place where young single people can pray that they find a husband or wife in the coming year.  In a Catholic western tradition, all thought of sex is considered a sin, but oriental religions do not consider sex a problem, and so there is no shame or sense of sin associated in having such festivals. The public parading of a phallus is not a problem. Families bathe together, and everyone know what all the bits are, so there’s nothing to teeter about. So, without further ado, here’s a giant wooden cock.

For information can be found on Wikipedia, and a gallery of images at my PhotoShelter portfolio.

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Naked Man Festival

The first photos from Nagoya’s Naked Man Festival. More will be available at my agent’s website and my own portfolio. This event was held as snow from the previous two days was still fresh and melting, so of course the participants need to be rolling drunk to do this, which means some fall over and scrap themselves on the ground. Also, a late afternoon cold wind whipped up so the ambulance crews arrived, perhaps to treat those suffering hypothermia.The Naked Man Festival (hadaka matsuri) is an annual event that began in the year 767ad, in the Nara Period. The event is held to removed bad luck and bestow good luck on the people. In the past, this event has attracted 180,000 spectators and 12,000 (naked) male participants.


Buy this Naked Man Festival Hadaka Matsuri photo

The event features a number of motifs, including teams based on township, giving gifts to the Kounomiya shrine, being drunk on sake, climbing bamboo poles, giving strips of cloth to spectators (mainly to women), and more. The gifts that are given to the shrine include a tuna, a barrel of sake, banners and long bamboo poles. For the first time visitor the bamboo poles seem to be the most important part. The teams carry all of these things, and stop along the way to throw their bamboo pole up, erecting it, and someone will climb it. It seems that each town’s bamboo poles are different. I guess that the more support from the town equates to a bigger and better bamboo pole. These poles are wrapped in cloth and lashed with rice-hemp rope. The event is held according the the lunar calendar at about the second weekend after the Lunar New Year (or 15th January, lunar calendar). More information can be found at Nagoya Info and the English Wikipedia site.

The annual Naked Man Festival is held just after the Lunar New Year.

The Naked Man Festival (hadaka matsuri) is an annual event that began in the year 767ad, in the Nara Period. The event is held to removed bad luck and bestow good luck on the people. In the past, this event has attracted 180,000 spectators and 12,000 (naked) male participants.

The annual Naked Man Festival is held just after the Lunar New Year.

The Naked Man Festival (hadaka matsuri) is an annual event that began in the year 767ad, in the Nara Period. The event is held to removed bad luck and bestow good luck on the people. In the past, this event has attracted 180,000 spectators and 12,000 (naked) male participants.

 

More information from a blog post for the 2009 event:

The Naked Man Festival (Hadaka Matsuri) is an annual even held at Kounomiya, just outside of Nagoya City in central Japan. It’s held in the depths of winter and is a weekend-long event. The part that the public sees (and is shown in my portfolios) is held in the afternoon. The event date varies from year to year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, but is held during the lunar New Year.

It began over 1,200 years ago, in the year 767, when Nara was the capital of Japan. At that time, there were plagues affecting the Japanese people, so Emperor Shotoku ordered special prayers to be said nation wide. The governor of Owari Province (now Aichi Prefecture) asked the shrine at Kounomiya to do something about this, and to remove the bad luck. So, the Naked Man Festival, held in the coldest time in winter was formulated.

How to get there:

From Nagoya Station, take the Meitetsu company Inuyama line limited-express train straight to Konomiya Station (actual spelling in Roman characters may vary). The trip should take about 12 minutes, for ¥350. Please check Hyperdia.Com for current schedules and ticket prices.


Buy this Naked Man Festival Hadaka Matsuri photo

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Photo of the week: Naked Man Festival

This POTW is of the Kounomiya Naked Man Festival, an annual event held just after the Lunar New Year, a calendar that Japan used to follow until the post war years. It’s not often I post an image from my agents website, but it’s there, and more information on the history is on this blog.

Participants stop to climb a bamboo pole during a procession in Nagoya's Naked Man Festival held at Konomiya township and shrine. Japan.

NAGOYA - JAPAN, 7 february 2009: the naked man festival (hadaka matsuri) was held. this annual event began in the year 767ad, in the nara period. the event is held to removed bad luck and bestow good luck on the people. the event this year attracted 180,000 spectators and 12,000 (naked) male participants.

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Ishidori video

Ishidori is the Stone-bringing Festival, an annual Shinto event held on the first weekend of August. It is reputed to be the loudest such festival in Japan. It is not well known, but a very lively festival, and perhaps a best-kept festival secret. The festival apparently dates back to over 300 years, and involves more than 30 portable shrines representing each of the wards (or towns) within Kuwana City. Photos for this festival are being processed and should be available soon at Asia Photo Connection.

In the mean time, here’s the preview.

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