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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on March 16, 2015
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 49] March 16, 2015

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 49]
March 16, 2015
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1.Seasonal flower:
The flower celebrating New Year:
"Adonis Ramosa (Fukujusou)"

2. News from JTCO:
New article released!
1) Noto's Kiriko Festival
2) Sasebo Koma (Sasebo Spinning Top)

:: 1. Seasonal flower

The flower celebrating New Year: "Adonis Ramosa (Fukujusou)"

"Mutsuki tastu Sunawachi hanano Sakiwai wo Ukete kotoshimo Waraiau
Interpretation: Receiving celebration from the flower blooming right
after the New Year's Day, I hope I will have a happy family with full
of laughter this year again.

This tanka was composed by Tachibana no Akemi, who was the Tanka
poet at the end of Edo period (17-19c). He composed this tanka when he
saw his son returning home with Adonis Ramosa on Lunar New year, which
is 19th February in this year.

Since Adonis Ramosa blooms during Lunar New Year, it is regarded as
the flower for New Year celebration. Therefore, it is also called
"Ganjitsu sou (New year's Day plant)" or "Tsuitachi sou (the first day
plant)". It is believed that decorating the house with the
combination of yellow Adonis Ramosa and red Nandina fruits during the
New Year could bring good luck. There is a Japanese idiom "Nan
(Misfortune) wo tenjite fuku (fortune) wo nasu" meaning that
misfortune turns into fortune. Since Adonis Ramosa in Japanese is
"Fuku jyusou" and Nandina fruit is "Nan Ten", people play on words
from the idiom and make this decoration.

Since people celebrate the new year according to the new calendar
nowadays, the flowering season of Adonis Ramosa used for decoration
has been adjusted to bloom earlier than the usual season. The wild
Adonis Ramosa usually blooms in early spring, when snow in the
mountains start melting. It is one kind of "Yukiwari Sou", which means
"Breaking Snow plant". It has a local name in the Tohoku (Northeast)
area, which is "Tsuchimansagu" or "Chijimanchaku", means coming out
from ground and blooming right away. The aborigines in Hokkaido, the
Ainus people called it "Chirai (Sakhalin taimen, a kind of salmon)
Apappo (Flower)". It is because Sakhalin taimen starts swimming
upstream in the river to lay eggs when Adonis Ramosa starts blooming.
The bloom of Adonis Ramosa implies people can get ready for fishing.
Northern people should have felt happy when they saw the blooming of
Adonis Ramosa, because it means the end of tough winter.

Of course Adonis Ramosa bought in a flower shop is beautiful, however,
it is also quaint to appreciate the bright strength of life from the
wild Adonis Ramosa living and blooming on the coldest ground.

:: 2. News from JTCO

New article released!:

1) Noto's Kiriko Festival

Kiriko Festival is a general term, in which Kiriko accompanies Mikoshi
or portable shrines, lighting streets, drifting and dancing
boisterously, while protecting gods. Kiriko is an abbreviation of
Kiriko Tourou or Kiriko lantern. In the area around Nakanoto, it is
also known as Houtou or Oakashi.It is a very large festival lantern,
which adds the festival in Noto area a special touch. The
charactristic point of the Kiriko is that at night the Kiriko gather
together at the shrine and once the departure ceremony is finished,
the Kiriko and the portable shrines move together towards the Otabisho
3 (God's place for a break) situated at the beach or riverbank. At the
Otabisho the Hashira-taimatsu torches burning can be seen.

Reviewed by: Hiroko Okamura

2) Sasebo Koma (Sasebo Spinning Top)

"Ikinaga shoumon shoukurabe." These words are a unique signal and
indispensable to the participants as they shout when they spin the
Sasebo spinning top all at once. It means not only to compete how long
one can spin the spinning top but also "to give a signed and sealed
deed and play a spinning top match." With the signal of "ikinaga shoum
on shoukurabe" the spinning tops are spun all together and they are
ranked first, second, third place, and so forth according to how long
the spinning top can be spun. Especially, the first spinning top
receives the honorary title "tenkaichi (best in the world)."

Translation by: Yoshiko Nagao, reviewed by Hiroko Okamura

Copyright by Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion and
Development Organization (JTCO)- All Rights Reserved.

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