Tokyobling's Blog

Kyoto Festival of the Ages

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 4, 2013

Some more costumes from the photogenic Kyoto Jidai Matsuri, the festival of the ages! One of my favorites are the gorgeous costumes worn by the women with the pointy white headwear. I think they might be saleswomen but I am not sure what era they recreate. The warriors don’t look half bad either but I always wonder how effective their bows could have been in combat?

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Kyoto Jidai Matsuri – Colorful Costumes

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on June 29, 2013

It’s just a few more months until the colorful Jidai Matsuri, the festival of the ages, hits Kyoto, and then a little later Tokyo. I took these photos last year, and I especially liked the men in the blue costumes, representing warriors from the Yamanashi Clan of present day Gunma and Tottori prefectures. The tall halberd carried by the man in the last photo is a naginata, one of the traditional weapons of Japan. These days it is a modern sport mostly practiced by women. I have never seen it performed live but there are sometimes very impressive show fights on TV where one woman with a long naginata blade incapacitates two or more sword fighters on her own! And of course, the little kids put up a great show, this parade lasted the better part of a day, winding its way through central Kyoto. The sunlight was harsh that day so I walked in front of them until about midpoint until I found a spot with a proper shadow to even out the light a little.

All of these costumes are historical representation, more or less faithful to how the originals looked back in old days. Isn’t it interesting how even the most average looking old man looks warrior-like in these costumes?

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Nougaku – Asakusa Shrine

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on May 21, 2013

Nougaku, or Noh for short, is one of the original art forms of Japan. Even today, living in Tokyo I get to see a few performances every year. This one was held at Asakusa Shrine just next to the famous Sensoji temple during last weekend’s Sanja festival. I couldn’t help getting a picture of one young member of the audience in his festival finest.
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Asakusa Shirasaginomai Parade

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on April 30, 2013

At the Shirasaginomai, White Egret Dance, in Tokyo’s Asakusa district last month I saw these adorable little pre-schoolers taking part in the pre-ceremony parade. The kids were followed by adults in charge of the ceremony and then the dancers. The next full ceremony is sceduled for November, so if you are in town, you’ll know where to go!

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