Tokyobling's Blog

Ikegami Honmonji Oeshiki 2014

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 14, 2014

This year saw the 733rd Oeshiki ceremony at Tokyo’s Ikegami Honmonji Temple in the southern Ota Ward. Among the performers were the usual matoi dancers, laymen followers of the Nichiren temples who take part in the festivities by twirling their matoi around their bodies. These matoi are about 10kg heavy but the guys make it seem very easy. I especially liked these two men who did pretty fantastic two person set where they mirrored each other’s movements to great effect. The crowd was mighty pleased! Even as I was taking these I was thinking how much one of them reminded me of Johnny Depp, same stern features, the scraggly beard and the dark eyes! Very striking! I for one would be happy to see matoi dancing as an olympic sport!

As usual, please click the images for full picture quality!



2 Responses

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  1. Jonelle Patrick said, on October 14, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Wow, where were you standing? You must have been there early! Thanks to your fantastic posts on this festival last year, I went last night, but was totally blindsided by how HUGE this festival is. Your photos make it look so intimate – I defintely needed an x-ray vision filter for me camera to shoot through the three layers of spectators between me and the action. (*_*) Next year, Better Planning Will Be Made.


    • tokyobling said, on October 15, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Haha.. no, not at all! I was there very late, I usually try to get there while it is still bright and early but this time it was already dark when I arrived. The parade route is so incredibly long that if you just walk along it eventually you will get to a spot where you can be first in line, especially to the right side (the left side is more crowded). This was near the temple’s main gate and it was incredibly dark, much darker than it looks in the photos, and I think that is why there were so few people there. The festival keeps getting bigger. I talked to an old lady who said that 20-30 years ago there were hardly any people at all, it was just for the believers and the monks in the temples concerned. It has grown a lot since then! I missed by a few minutes, by the way, the explosion at the yatai. I assume you must have missed it too!


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