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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on April 28, 2015
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 53] April 28, 2015

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Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 53]
April 28, 2015
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Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization
(JTCO)
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/

CONTENTS:

1. Seasonal Flower:
The utmost beauty within a limited time frame:
Sakura (Cherry blossom)

2. News from JTCO:
New article released!
1) Awa Ningyo-Joruri (Awa Puppet Theater)


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:: 1. Seasonal Flower
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The utmost beauty within a limited time frame: Sakura (Cherry blossom)

Here is a traditional Japanese poem, Tanka composed by Hosokawa Gracia.

"Chirinubeki Toki siritekoso Yononakano Hanamo hananare Hitomo
hitonare"

Interpretation: Whether cherry blossoms or people in this world, they
are able to live beautifully as they have a lifetime with a limit.

Most people would visualize a Japanese plum blossom when they talked
about flowers in the Nara period (8c). However, the cherry blossom
gradually took its place as a much being loved flower and became the
symbol of Japan. Cherry blossom is the flower which blooms and falls
shortly and beautifully.
Not only its transience, but also its delicate appearance shows the
Japanese aesthetics as well as sensitivity.

The cherry blossoms adored in the Nara period (8c) were called hill
cherry which was transplanted from the country side to the city area
and appreciated in noble's houses in the Heian period (8-12c). Because
cherry blossoms tend to mutate easily, there are many selected and
cultivated cherry blossoms' breeds. Yoshino cherry is the cherry
blossom which can be seen in all parts of Japan today. It was bred and
transplanted by a gardener in Somei village in Edo (which is presently,
Komagome, Toshima Ward in Tokyo) from the end of the Edo period (17-
19c) to beginning of the Meiji period (19-20c) and all Yoshino cherry
trees came from this single Yoshino cherry.

In the society at the end of the Heian period (8-12c), samurais gained
power instead of nobles, and along with this, cherry blossoms
gradually became a symbol for the samurai's way of life. In
Itsukushima shrine of Hiroshima prefecture, there is a suit of
armour dedicated by a general called Minamoto no Tametomo, on which
blue cherry blossoms were drawn all over the Odoshi (a twine to join
the amour parts). There is a Japanese idiom "Hana to Chiru (literally,
falling like cherry blossoms)" which expresses the death in a war or
being killed in in the performance of duties.

In the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011,
self-defense force officials, firefighters and police officers who
worked in rescue and reconstruct operations were wearing a badge of
rank insignia which had cherry blossom's design instead of star to
show their ranks. This badge is a symbol of their oath to guard
Japanese citizens' lives and properties even devoting their lives. As
its design suggests, some of them honored their pledge in the rage of
the tsunami to protect citizens.

Living the best we can until it ends. Even though we do not wish for
it, Sakura falls inevitably. However, cherry blossom is probably
trying to tell us the ephemeral nature as well as the meaning of
living.

Translation: Hitomi Kochi, reviewed by Chan Yee Ting


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

New article released!:

1) Awa Ningyo-Joruri (Awa Puppet Theater)
http://www.jtco.or.jp/en/bunkakan/?act=detail&id=134&p=0&c=27

Despite the unknown beginning of its history, Awa (current Tokushima
Pref., West Japan) Ningyo Joruri, or Awa Puppet Theater is well known
to originate from then-prosperous Awaji (current Hyogo Pref., West
Japan) Puppet Theater mastered by farmers in Awa region around the 16-
17th century.

Translation: Tomoko Yamamoto, reviewed by Marina Izumi


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