2018年11月20日

The Sumida Hokusai Museum stands at the place where a famous 'ukiyo-e' artist 'Katsushika Hokusai' was born.

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Known for the masterpieces such as 'Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji' and 'Hokusai Sketch', a great ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai was born in present Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo in 1830. This eccentric giant, who is said to move 90 times till he died at 90 years old, spent his entire life making ukiyo-e mostly in Sumida-ku, Tokyo. His art style obviously changed according to his age, so that the masterpieces in each stage of his life seem to be worked out by different artists. His later years' masterpieces, in particular, heavily impacted on European painters like Van Gogh and Cezanne, and triggered Impressionism in Paris. The Sumida Hokusai Museum was built in the vicinity of the birthplace of Katsushika Hokusai in 2010. The unique exterior of this building, as shown in the first picture, is designed by one of the leading woman architects in Japan 'Kazuyo Sejima'. The second picture shows a life-size model of his studio reconstructing the circumstances existing at the time. This state of things is from the sketch, depicting him with his daughter, by his apprentice.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 11:43 | 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11月15日

The area name of 'Ningyo-cho' Chuo-ku, Tokyo, has to do with that puppet play theatres stood in this vicinity in the Edo period in the 17th-19th century. *Puppet means 'Ningyo' in Japanese.

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Early in the Edo period in the 17th century, Japan's largest licensed red-light district named 'Yoshiwara', with the area of 5,000 square meters, stood here in Ningyo-cho. It was relocated to 'Asakusa' area far from then downtown after being destroyed in the Great Fire of Meireki in 1657. The street name of 'O-mon' in this neighborhood is the trace of O-mon main gate to Yoshiwara. After the relocation of Yoshiwara, puppet play theaters and Kabuki theatres were built in this site with many puppeteers and puppet makers. This is why this neighborhood is called Ningyo-cho.
As Ningyo-cho was very close to 'Nihon-bashi' fish market, which was moved to 'Tsukiji' in 1935 then to 'Toyosu' in 2018, this district became busy with the workers for the fish market and the spectators of play houses. Ningyo-cho used to be one of the busiest downtowns in Edo, present Tokyo.
Taking into account this historical background, many long-established restaurants, sweet parlors and shops are still found on the streets as shown in the picture.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 11:48 | 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11月11日

'Sazare-ishi', which is one word of Japan's national anthem 'Kimiga-yo', means pebble.

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Japan's national anthem 'Kimiga-yo' was composed in the last half of the 19th century, and is said to be one of the shortest anthems in the world. The whole words are literally translated as follows.
"Your reign continues forever, as pebbles grow into lofty locks to be with moss taking an indefinitely long period of time"

The pebbles in these words mean sazare-ishi in Japanese. The original meaning was so though, the present meaning has turned out to be a conglomerate made up of many pebbles. These sorts of conglomerates can be found throughout the country, and most of them are worshipped at Shinto shrines as they are regarded to be sacred. The picture shows one example found at Kashima-jingu Shinto shrine in Ibaragi Prefecture near Tokyo.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 11:58 | Et cetera | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする