Setsubun 節分

On February 3rd in homes throughout Japan, family members will walk through the rooms of their home throwing beans (mamemaki) in a purifying ritual. While tossing the beans family members will shout  oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (demons out, good luck in) as if to bring about fortuitous luck in the upcoming year. It is common for one person to

mame (Small)

A bag of beans. While in some parts of Japan the beans used are soybeans, in the Tohoku region peanuts are commonly used. Pictured here is a bag of soybeans.

play the role of the oni (demon) in this ritual. Often the father of the household is relegated to this job. During this period of seasonal change, like others, was believed to have been a time when evil spirits and monsters gathered, and caused plagues and other disasters. Family members will also eat an amount of beans in accordance with their individual ages sometimes adding one. The addition of one bean may be a symbolic assurance of living another year or may reflect kazoedoshi (a traditional method of counting age in which the one year is counted for time in the womb). Beans are eaten so as to ward off evil and increase resistance to illness.

 

oni

When purchasing beans at a store, a paper mask of an oni (demon) is provided as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article: Folk performance 論文:伝統芸能

Gongensama

An article (in Japanese) examining the traditional folk performances has been earlier published in the journal of the Folklore Society of Aomori Prefectures. (PDF)

「中野神楽におけるイエの祭り―三戸郡南郷村中野地区の事例から―」という論文を青森県民俗の会の 『青森県の民俗』 第四号に2004年に載せられました。ここで、改めて紹介します。(PDF)

論文の抜粋

一、はじめに

イエを舞台に行われてきた信仰に基づく行事や祭りは、戦後民法によるイエ制度崩壊の影響を受け、近年の農村においても希薄になった感がある。そのようにして古い習慣がすたれつつある現代ではあるが、青森県三戸郡南郷村において、今もなお年に一回開催される春祈祷は、人々の紐帯の機会となっている。

本稿では、南郷村で現在も活発に活躍している「中野神楽」を事例に取り上げ、小正月の春祈祷で実施されている、カドウチとオミキアゲに注目することにしたい。この行事に注目することで、現代日本におけるイエと信仰の関係を明らかにできればと考える。

二、中野神楽

南郷村においては複数の神楽保存会が活動しているが、中野地区では、中野神楽が同地区出身の七人の男性により伝承されている。この山伏系統の神楽で中心となる演目は、「権現舞」である。この舞で焦点となる「権現様」(獅子頭のこと)は、少なくとも二百七十四年前からこの地で神様として祀られてきたと考えられている。「奉再光中野村中常院享保十五年十月六日」という獅子頭にある銘が、権現様の古さを示しているというのである。中野神楽で祀る権現様は「中野権現様」と通称され、中野金毘羅大権現とも呼ばれている・・・

「中野神楽におけるイエの祭り―三戸郡南郷村中野地区の事例から―」 『青森県の民俗』第四号, 2004年5月22日, 頁95~101.

Kagura

Article: Shrine system 論文:四十八社

An article (in Japanese) examining the one villages shrine system was previously published in Tohoku University’s journal The Bulletin of the Tohoku Culture Research Room.

「島守四十八社にみる地域と信仰―三戸南郷村島守地区の事例から―」という論文を 『東北文化研究室紀要』に載せられました。ここで、改めて紹介します。PDF

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Truck Art デコトラ

IMG_8594

The truck is king of the road in Japan. And there is a special breed of truck that is both distinctively fearsome, yet elegant: kind of like Las Vegas on wheels. These trucks are called decotora, which is a melded abbreviation of the words “decorated” and “truck”.  Decotora can be seen all throughout Japan though it is said that the original decotora was driven by a trucker from Aomori prefecture. Continue reading

Tanabata 仙台の七夕

According to legend, on the night of the seventh day of the seven month (July) the two stars, Altair (牽牛星 Kengyūsei) and Vega (織女星 Shokujosei) are allowed to cross the Milky Way (天の川 Amanogawa, literally the “river of heaven”). From this once a year cosmological occurrence an annual event has emerged known as Tanabata 七夕 (“night of the seventh”). The Tanabata ritual festival consists mainly of decorating lengths of bamboo with colorful paper decorations on which wishes are written. In doing so, it is hoped that the wishes will come true. Tanabata has come to be associated with Obon お盆 (the summer festival when the spirits of the dead return to the land of the living) because it acts as a purification ritual (禊ぎ misogi) in preparation for greeting the returning spirits of dead ancestors during Obon. The making of decorations and the subsequent celebrating of Tanabata is widespread, although the festival held in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture is particularly famous drawing large numbers of tourists from all over Japan.