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  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - An ema with a wish
    Ikuta Jinja - An ema with a wish

    This ema, signed by a man and a woman with different last names, says, "May the two of us get along well this year." Appended to the left is also a note saying, "Please also watch over littleTaro!!"

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Banner on main gate of Ikuta Jinja
    Ikuta Jinja - Banner on main gate of Ikuta Jinja

    This banner advertises an upcoming festival, on July 15th, that will feature the lighting of a thousand lanterns, the rope circle through which one may walk (chinuwa kuguri), and a purification rite aimed at "countering obstacles, eliminating illness and vanquishing troubles."

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Instructions for worship at a shrine
    Ikuta Jinja - Instructions for worship at a shrine

    This sign instructs those (probably of younger generations) who need a reminder how to worship (from right to left): "First you bow twice with back bent to ninety degrees and head lowered. Then you clap your hands twice at chest level. Then bow one last time."

  • Thumbnail for Toyotomi family grave site
    Toyotomi family grave site

    The marker to the right announces that this is the grave of the Toyotomi family (and that it is an historical landmark). The family refers to the descendants of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the great general who unified Japan after a long civil war just prior to the lengthy peace of the stable Tokugawa (or Edo) Period around 1600.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - An ema and a wish
    Ikuta Jinja - An ema and a wish

    This ema reads, in the center, "May I find someone I really like and keep a good relationship for a long time." To the right is also written," May I find a man."

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Prayers for college entrance
    Minatogawa Jinja - Prayers for college entrance

    The petitioner asks specifically for success in his applications to six universities, the first two spelled out nearly in full and the last four in extreme shorthand (either for lack of space or as an indication of lessened importance), that is nonetheless recognizable for any one who lives in the greater Kansai (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto) area. The ema includes the date and the petitioner's name and address.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Plaque describing historical origins of the shrine
    Minatogawa Jinja - Plaque describing historical origins of the shrine

    This plaque tells of the founding of Minatogawa Shrine. It notes that the shrine was created by order of the Meiji Emperor in 1868 in honor of Kusunoki Masanari, who died here in 1336 along with fifteen of his family members, all of whom committed suicide.

  • Thumbnail for Mound of Buddha images
    Mound of Buddha images

    The inscription on the stone pillar says that this mound is comprised of images dedicated to the spirits of people who died without anyone who directly cared for them. Such beings are called "muenbotoke," or "deceased ones without connections." So in addition to grave sites for familiar loved ones, some Japanese Buddhists have felt the need to erect memorials for those who were not fortunate enough to have someone to remember them when they died.

  • Thumbnail for Printed fortune cabinet at a temple
    Printed fortune cabinet at a temple

    For a donation of 100 yen, one may obtain a printed fortune, an omikuji . The black case contains a collection of sticks, each with a number on it. There is a small hole in the lid of the case. One would pick up the case, shake it to mix up the sticks, then turn the case upside down and shake one stick out through the hole in the lid. The number on that stick would direct one to one of the numbered drawers in the cabinet next to the table, where one would find one's fortune. A good fortune may be tied to a line, in effect, as a prayer to the deity of the shrine or temple, seeking their aid in bringing the fortune true. Very commonly seen at shrines, this particular cabinet is at Muroji, a Buddhist temple. Keywords: omikuji see also: ecasia000037

  • Thumbnail for Poster, Changing Roles, Japan, 1998
    Poster, Changing Roles, Japan, 1998

    This poster was photographed in front of a post office in Japan in 1998. The red triangular motif in the lower left is the logo for the "Peace People Japan." The interesting aspect, of course, is the depiction of a young woman, dressed in uniform, with wrenches in hand as she approaches a helicoptor. While much of Japan remains bound by tradition and roles defined by tradition, there is also far reaching social change occurring, with redefinitions of gender roles, etc.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 22  --  "Finding a husband by his leather belt"
    Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 22 -- "Finding a husband by his leather belt" by Ogasawara, Shodo

    Finding a husband by his leather belturvivo -- Explanation by the artist: his leA woman (perhaps 34 or 35) with a baby on her back brought what seemed to be her mother-in-law, a woman of about 60, to the place where bodies were being kept. She had spent two days searching the city fruitlessly for her husband. All of the bodies were black from soot and dirt and terribly swollen. 'This leather belt is definitely my husband's. The face is also similar. I'm sure it's him.' A reunion of tears. -- 1290m from the hypocenter, on the grounds of Sumiyoshi Shrine, Kako-machi (now Sumiyoshi-cho). The artist was 17 at the time of the bombing, 74 when he drew this picture.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 15  --  "Searching"
    Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 15 -- "Searching" by Takeuchi, Isamu

    Searching -- Explanation by the artist: "Bodies lined up along the road for pick-up." The artist was 25 at the time of the bombing, 82 at the time when he drew this picture.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 17  --  "Many names written in charcoal on a wall"
    Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 17 -- "Many names written in charcoal on a wall" by Matsumoro, Kazuo

    Many names written in charcoal on a wall -- Explanation by the artist: "Part of the wall at Takeya Elementary School. The names of missing people were written in charcoal by those looking for them. 'Hisako Nishimura - tell me where your are - Mother' 'Kazuko, come here' 'Toshie Mitsutani is OK' 'Ippei Masuda, Miyoko is OK, going to Mukaihara' 'Father, Mother both OK, come to Hijiyama Gobenden.' " -- 1,280 m from the hypocenter, Takeya Elementary School, Takara-machi. The artist was 32 at the time of the bombing, 61 when he drew this picture.

  • Thumbnail for Japan, 1951:  Urban street scene in the post-war era
  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  National Peace Memorial Hall, sign stating number of fatalities from the bomb by the end of 1945
    Hiroshima: National Peace Memorial Hall, sign stating number of fatalities from the bomb by the end of 1945

    The A-bomb devastated nearly all administrative agencies and destoyed official documents. Thus, the exact number of deaths due to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima remains unknown. Many victims were never identified. -- According to a document submitted by the city of Hiroshima to the United Nations in 1976 entitled 'For the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the Reduction of All Armed Forces and All Armaments,' an extimated 140,000 (plus or minus 10,000) people died as a result of the A-bomb between August 6, 1945, and the end of December that year.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:   Meats
    Grocery Store Display: Meats

    A variety of meats.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Milk
    Grocery Store Display: Milk

    Cartong of milk (gyunu) for sale.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Chilled Coffee and Tea
    Grocery Store Display: Chilled Coffee and Tea

    Chilled coffees and teas in a local shop.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Onigiri Mix
    Grocery Store Display: Onigiri Mix

    Rice ball (onigiri) mix, available in many different flavors.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Kinoko
    Grocery Store Display: Kinoko

    Various roots, mushrooms, and vegetables.

  • Thumbnail for Clubs
    Clubs

    In Japan, your after-school activity is your family. This chalkboard shows the list of clubs offered at this school.

  • Thumbnail for New Year's Cards
    New Year's Cards

    A sheep announces it's a new year, the year of the Sheep.

  • Thumbnail for Ura
    Ura

    A little behind the scenes look at the post-office.

  • Thumbnail for Mail Box
    Mail Box

    A mail-drop box at the Hokkaido Post Office

  • Thumbnail for Makeovers
    Makeovers

    Four women got new hair-cuts in January's issue of "Lee".