Fall festivals in Toyama draw thousands

Primorye can always know the realities of the unique and mysterious Country of the Rising Sun

Anastasia Shcherbatyuk

Autumn in Japan – the period colorful and interesting festivals. Among them, the festivals Zecurion-Matsuri and Kokiriko annually at the end of September will be held in Toyama Prefecture. They attract not only local residents. Among the participants of the festivals and spectators many Japanese, who arrived in Toyama Prefecture with other parts of the country and foreigners who have heard about the popularity of these events.

Note that the Toyama Prefecture and the Primorski territory since 1992 have close fraternal relations. so the presence in the audience Primorye is justified and understandable.

Festival Zecurion-Matsuri was held on 23 and 24 September in the city of Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture. The holiday has 300 years of history, and the origins of this tradition – in Shinto beliefs: every year in late September, the peasants created a whimsical sculptures from vegetables, fruits, grains, thus expressing gratitude for a rich harvest. About 50 years ago, the holiday was held in the form of competition, and not only the regional Assembly and local organizations began to participate in it.

For two days the festival attracts over a hundred thousand people. For its uniqueness and high value in preserving and transmitting cultural values in 2006, Zecurion-Matsuri won the prize in all Japan competition best examples of the local culture, organized by the organization for the development of culture “Suntory”. The theme is created from vegetables and fruits figures each year varies. Exhibited as single items, entire compositions, fun miniatures and real giants, reaching several meters. Most popular “sculpture” – favorite cartoon characters (this year it was the famous kitty cat made of huge pumpkin), as well as compositions depicting scenes of local traditions and legends.

For several years the heart of the exhibition is the work, which is a kind of illustration of the feast “Manyoshu”, which is held in October and where for three days and three nights read about 4,500 poems from 20 scrolls the oldest and most revered anthology of Japanese poetry “Manyoshu” (literally — “Collection of a myriad leaves”, compiled in the 2nd half of the 8th century). One of the authors of the poems, which became part of the famous literary monument, Otomo-but Yakamochi was a public servant of high rank (the level of the Governor General) and on duty for some time he lived in the city of Takaoka. Amazing nature inspired the poet to create the many verses that have become cultural heritage of the nation, than the inhabitants of Toyama Prefecture are particularly proud of. The statue was presented this year.

To create the shape of the standard size takes about a week, and on the creation of sculpture with a height of several meters or “vegetable song” – about a month. In the period of preparation for the event each evening after work, the Japanese are going to meetings, district meetings, where old-timers and recently moved here residents work together to create numerous masterpieces. The Japanese themselves believe that the joint work – it’s not only fun, but also useful for creating team spirit and strengthen good-neighbourly relations. Together with their parents come to the meetings and children that help to glue small parts and beans. It is believed that in order to become a professional in the case of “sticking beans”, you need three years since Bob, actually, has a complex structure – he has the top and bottom, front and back. Such are the subtleties, known only to the masters. This year there were 33 songs created by members of the district Assembly and local organizations (one exhibit from each). The compositions are striking not only for its originality and refinement to the most seemingly unnoticeable things, but sometimes its subtle humour, or, conversely, pouzitelnosti. Every year during the festival, in addition to the main competition of compositions, and the contest is held miniatures, which create both adults and children. The idea of the contest miniatures – to instill in the younger generation a love and desire to continue Trad since childhood.

Of course, in addition to the exhibition and competition, the festival guests were waiting and many other entertainment events: Fukuoka station (from which originates the holiday) distributed program and a map, following which you can watch performances of local bands performing traditional songs and dances, concert adults and young drummers “Taiko”, also using a special form, you can vote for your favourite exhibit, participate in contests, creating crafts, and, of course, walk along the rows of multi-coloured tents selling traditional festival treats – “takoyaki” (fried octopus in batter), “yaki-soba” (buckwheat noodles fried with vegetables) and more.

And on 25 and 26 September in the city of Nanto, Toyama festival of Kokiriko. Smooth and at the same time, intermittent dance “kokiriko”, performed with traditional musical instrument – Japanese ratchet “sasara”, captivates the audience and listening to the folk song “kokiriko”, the spectator makes a journey through time in the Heian period (8th to 12th centuries). It then emerged the tradition of dancing to “dengaku” (literally — the music field), subsequently developed in medieval Japanese theatrical musical performance. From “dengaku” and originated the dance and the song “kokiriko” is the oldest folk song in Japan. The festival also held a competition of performers of the song “kokiriko” are not professionals, as well as many other activities. For example, anyone can take part in a master class where they will teach him to perform the dance “kokiriko”. It is not only fun and interesting but also allows you to learn the culture of Japan from the inside. On the second day of the festival is the so-called “General dance”, when anyone can join the performers to dance and play on the noisemakers “sasara”. The venue of the festival – the Gokayama area, where the famous village in the style of “gassho-zukuri”, which in 1995 were included in the List of monuments of world cultural heritage UNESCO.

These are just a few examples of true Japanese holidays, and if there is interest not only to the contemporary achievements of the rising sun, but also to the traditional culture of Japan – this is a great opportunity to experience the realities of this unique and mysterious country.

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