2012年06月19日

"Saru-mawashi" means a street performance to show a monkey that can do tricks.

saru1.jpg

Based on a religious belief of Chinese origin, that is, monkeys can cure the diseases of horses, a performance to have monkeys dance in front of stables had prevailed throughout Japan from the 12th to 18th century.
*The Three Monkeys on the wall of the stable in Nikko is based on this faith too.

In those days when "samurai" warrior controled the country, horses which were indispensable to battles must have been treated kindly by obtaining the mysterious power of monkeys.
In line with the stabilization of the country after the 17th century, it had gradually changed from ritual to entertainment and took root as a street performance. However, in the middle of the 19th century when Japan's modernization started, it became out of fashion and obsolete after the Second World War.
Thanks to the effort of some revivers in Yamaguchi Prefecture, none the less, "saru-mawashi" became to be found across Japan, in particular in the grounds of local Shinto Shrines.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 12:01 | Et cetera | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2012年05月08日

'Yuru-kyara' is an abbreviation of 'yurui kyarakuta', which literally means a heartwarming mascot character created for PR purpose by a local government or public corporation.

yurukyara.jpg

burube.jpg

Speaking of a mascot, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are well known all over the world. However, mascots called 'yuru-kyara' have been devised around Japan in these past several years, and they are becoming in fashion.
The definition of these mascots are not clear, but it seems that the external appearance is humorous and motions are slow to give us something to do with healing, these are the necessary and sufficient conditions.
The first picture shows the 'yuru-kyara' named 'noppon', that is the representative of Tokyo Tower, while in the second picture we can see 'Burube' from Kodaira City, Tokyo.
These kinds of mascot characters count more than 300.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 08:17 | Et cetera | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2012年04月09日

'Mikomai', also known as 'Mikokagura', is a dance performed before a Shinto alter as a religious offering.

jinnjyamai.jpg

This dance stems from a kind of rite performed in ancient Japan, that is to say that a 'miko', a virgin consecrated to a Shinto deity, was regarded as being entered into by a god or something like that, when she went into a trance while dancing enthusiastically.
In the old mythology in Japan, several descriptions thought to be the prototype of it can be found. In addition, how these sorts of dances were in those days are accounted in old books from the 7th to 10th century.
After that, the purpose of this dance had gradually changed. It had become a performance accompanied by drums, flutes and pipes to convey people's wishes to Shinto gods or spirits.
As the animistic role of a 'miko' was prohibited by law when Japan's modernization
started in the 19th century, this religious dancing has become a kind of entertainment, which is an essential part of Shintoism, in most cases.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:28 | Et cetera | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする