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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on April 20, 2015
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 51] April 20, 2015

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Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 51]
April 20, 2015
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Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization
(JTCO)
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/

CONTENTS:

1. Seasonal Festival:
The incarnation of mountain god:
Sakura (Cherry Blossom)

2. News from JTCO:
New article released!
1) Mikawa Manzai


::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:: 1. Seasonal Festival
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The incarnation of mountain god: Sakura (Cherry Blossom)

Here is a Japanese poem "tanka" compiled in Japan's oldest anthology
"Manyoushuu" at No.829 in chapter 5, composed by Kusushi Choushino
Hukushi.

"Umeno hana Sakite chirinaba Sakurabana Tsugite sakubeku Narinite
arazuya"

Interpretation: As soon as plum blossom blooms and falls, cherry
blossom blooms like they are filling the next turn.

Most people would think of Sakura when talking about flower of Japan.
As usual, Cherry blossoms brought seasonal greeting to Japan this year
again.

There are two views regarding the origin of the name "Sakura". One of
them says that, "Ra" (means plural in ancient Japanese) was added
after the word "saku" (means "to bloom" in Japanese). And the other
view is that like"Sa nae (rice sprouts)" or "Sa otome (a rice planting
girl)", "sa" means rice field, combined with the word, "kura" (means
the resting place of god in Japanese). The latter view is very
interesting. It seems that it is based on the custom originally from
farming villages.

"Kono hanano sakuya hime" who appears in "Kojiki (Japan's oldest
historical record)" is the daughter of mountain god called "Ooyama
Tsuminokami", she is considered as "Rice field Deity" representing
Sakura. People believed that the mountain god who went back to the
mountain in autumn would come back to villages in spring and become
a rice field god. Cherry blossoms indicated that the princess god has
come down to the villages as a spirit of a rice plant by her father's
order. People thought cherry blossom is the sign of starting rice
planting, and they predict the yield of rice by how Sakura bloomed.
People gathered under the Sakura tree with snacks and drinks to pray
the flower to bloom well and stay beautiful longer. This is the
origin of "Hanami (cherry blossom viewing)" which we are doing
nowadays in entire Japan.

Hanami was a Japanese original custom, but it seems that it is
spreading to other Asian, European and American countries. Have you
ever tried Hanami before? Under cherry blossom trees, you might enjoy
it in another meaning if you do not only enjoy food but also think of
the origin of the cherry blossom.

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Chan Yee Ting

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:: 2. News from JTCO
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

New article released!:

1) Mikawa Manzai
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/bunkakan/?act=detail&id=133&p=0&c=21

Mikawa Manzai is a kind of Manzai performance. Manzai is a celebration
performance in which Tayu (a performer of Shinto ritual) wearing
Eboshi (a kind of hat handed down from 9c in Japan) and Suou (a kind
of traditional clothes composed of upper and lower parts) sings
auspicious words while dancing along with the sound of Saizo (a role
in the performance) 's Tsuzumi drum.


Translation: Aki Tobayama, reviewed by Marina Izumi


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