2018年10月26日

There is a traditional event in Japan, which is held in mid-September to view the beautiful full moon.

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The annual event to view the full moon is called 'Tsukimi' or 'Kangetsu' in Japanese. This traditional event originated in China during the Tang period in the 7th-8th century, and came to Japan in the 9th century. The culture developed by the court nobles in Kyoto were reaching a peak at that time, accordingly this new event rapidly spread into the society of the aristocrats. It was a simple event with music and alcohol under the moonlight at the beginning though, this event had gradually changed adding other elements with the times. It had mostly reached to the present form with the offerings mainly for the harvest thanksgiving in the Edo period in the 17th-19th century. The picture shows one of the typical offering settings, Japanese plume grass on the left which is likened to the ripe ears of rice plant and the sweet potatoes on the right. They are the tokens of harvest. The white dumplings on a white wood stand named 'Sanpo' relating to 'Shinto' are likened to the full moon.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 09:02 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年10月19日

Common name "Sanya", located in the north of Taito-ku, is Tokyo's largest flophouse district.

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The neighborhood of "Senju", the first post town of Nikko-gaido highway which was one of the five major highways in the Edo period (The 17th-19th century), was lived by poor people and physical laborers before the second World War. Right after the war, Tokyo metropolitan government built a camp for the people who lost their houses by bombing. Being in a state of chaos and confusion, these tents had been gradually changed to the cheap lodging houses for poor people. In accordance with the rapid economic growth of Japan from 1960s, Sanya attracted many laborers mainly in the field of construction work. Sanya and Kamagasaki in Osaka became leading districts which supplied cheap and plentiful laborers. About 15,000 casual laborers lived here in the peak period in 1963 though, now it has decreased to 4,200. Instead of decreasing number of the casual laborers, many backpackers are coming here. Sanya is a popular non-Japanese backpacker's hangout.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 14:14 | Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年10月14日

Kozukahara execution site used to stand on the outskirts of Edo, present Tokyo, in the 17th-19th century.

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This execution site was built in present Minami-Senju, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo in 1651. Minami-Senju used to be a part of Senju, the first post town on Nikko-kaido highway running between Edo and Nikko. Crucifixion, burning at the stake, beheading and other ways of execution were carried out here 108 meters wide and 54 meters deep. More than two hundred thousand people were executed here for 200 years since its foundation. The head priest of Ekoin Buddhist Temple in Ryogoku established a branch temple to bury the executed bodies and to mourn them in 1667. Present Minami-Senju Ekoin Temple stems from this branch. Together with the numerous nameless bodies, the prominent political prisoners who were executed in other places were also buried in this site. The first picture shows the tombstone of a prominent antigovernment activist named Yoshida Shoin executed in 1859. The second picture shows the big Jizo statue erected in 1741, which is also mourning for the executed people. In this connection, the well-known medical doctors Sugita Genpaku, Maeno Ryotaku and some others dissected the executed bodies here in 1771 to confirm the accuracy of the anatomical chart from Netherlands. They published Kaitai-Shinsho Japanese anatomical chart after that.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 16:36 | Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする