Thursday, November 03, 2005

More Jidai Matsuri

Although the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) was first held in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital to Kyoto, it was said to be originally created to raise Kyoto's morale after the loss of the capital and Imperial Court to Tokyo in 1868.
Kazu-no-Miya (1860) - Princess Kazu, sister of Emperor Komei married into the Tokugawa family (Tokugawa Iemochi) at the age of 16 (as part of the movement to unite court and bafuku, shogun government). But the death of the shogun in 1866 put an end to the short marriage.
Two of the attendants that serve the princess.
Gyokuran (1750), grand daughter of Kaji, who married Ikeno Taiga, a famous painter of the Edo Period, was herself a great painter and an excellent writer of poetry.
Yoshino Tayu (1630) is a famous woman in Kyoto. She has one of the highest rating as a female entertainer in the 17th century.
Procession of Lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1590) - Hideyoshi paid visit to the Emperor arriving in an ox-cart together with a procession of men. One of the most remarkable men in Japanese history in the unification of Japan. In 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi completed construction of the huge Osaka Castle, the largest and most formidable in all Japan, to guard the western approaches to Kyoto.
The costumes are special as they are permitted only be worn during such ceremonial occasions.
Procession of Lord Oda Nobunaga's entry into Kyoto (1570) - By the time of the Onin Civil War (1467), Kyoto was almost completely ruined. At the Emperor's request in 1569, Oda Nobunaga gathered his armies and reached Kyoto to repair the Imperial Palace and restore peace to the city.
Shizuka-Gozen (1180) - Lady Shizuka, a famed Kyoto dancer, was the beloved of Minamoto Yoshitsune. Hers is a sad story - sad parting with her lover, Minamoto.
The colorfully-attired troops from the early 14th Century.
Yabusame Archers (1220) - An ancient samurai art of horse archery. A yabusame archer gallops down a 208-meter-long track at high speed. The archer mainly controls his horse with his knees, as he needs both hands to draw and shoot his bow.
To hit all three targets is considered an admirable accomplishment. And to be selected as a yabusame archer is a great honor. In the past, they were chosen from only the best warriors. Yabusame was designed as a way to please and entertain the myriad of gods that watch over Japan, thus encouraging their blessings for the prosperity of the land, the people, and the harvest.
Tomoe-Gozen (1180) - As the wife of General Kiso Yoshinaka, she fought courageously alongside her husband in battle. Some say that she became a nun after his death. She was one of the few examples of a true female samurai in japanese history.
Wake-no-Hiromushi (790) took care of many orphans. Her merciful deeds served as the foundation for Japanese orphanage.
Procession of Warriors of the Enryaku Period (800) - These armor-clad soldiers are led by Sakanoue-no-Tamuramaro, the commander-in-chief of the military forces during the early days of Heian-Kyo (Kyoto). Enryaku-ji was at one time one of the most powerful and largest Buddhist monasteries in Japan, with more than 3000 buildings contained within its walls. Enryaku-ji acquired an army of its own, so powerful that it started to pose a threat to the armies of the feudal lords themselves.

In the first Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages), there were only six sections in the procession. In 1921, this grew to eight. In 1931 the procession was made even more picturesque and expanded to 10 sections. Suspended in 1944 because of the war, the procession was revived in 1950 with further additions and more pageantry.

The main event of this festival is the procession of two palanquins containing the holy spirits of the Emperors Komei and Kammu and prior to the arrival of the palanquins, various music and dance were performed. I decided to leave early for the Kurama Fire Festival. No pictures therefore.


Primrose said...

That nice history (or is it legend?). The word Shogun reminded me of the movie craze at that time when it was shown AND the book too when it was released. Based on true story. Why do girls like to powder their faces white? Like Geisha. And talking about that, the show is going to be relased soon: Memoirs of a Geisha (after the best-selling novel).

obachan said...

Great pictures! I really love the first one with Kazunomiya.

Sidney said...

Wow! Well documented series of those Japanese Festivals. Very interesting!
Excellent work!

zbjernak said...

somemore with complete description of the procession woh
good good good

those girls with white face
so cute

Jean said...

Vos photos sont très riches .
De France ,dans mon salon ,je vis un peu au Japon ,grace à vous .
Merci .

Patrick Leong said...

primrose : the shogun movie ? which one ? or the novel by james clavell ? i am not quite looking forward to memoirs of a geisha. watched the trailers and clips - i think it is just so so. but definitely watching king kong and aeon flux. however i am reading the best selling geisha novel by arthur golden now. just bought it yesterday at the school book store. and as to why they put white make-up on the face, i will check it out and let you know later. i have no clue now. anyone ?

obachan : thanks. so when are you coming to visit us again in kyoto ? autumn is splendid here. very picturesque.

sidney : thanks. as i was doing the post, i learnt about japanese history too.

zbjernak : some say japanese geisha - an elegant halloween costume, with the white make-up and hair wig. no offence to anyone. i know melissa is a big fan of maiko-san and the culture of geishas.

jean : thank you for your nice comment. do visit often. i have been to france. lovely country. in fact, my sister lives in france :P merci.

Melissa said...

patrick! I wonder is we bumped into each other at all?! I hope we can meet up next time! Are you on flickr by any chance?

Thanks for telling us about The Japan Times photo op!:P