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  • Thumbnail for Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 4.
    Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 4.

    This float,a portable shrine, is from the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka. It is carried from the shrine through the streets on the shoulders of bearers as seen here and is, obviously, a heavy burden. Of secondary interest is the stone wall / embankment that is seen in the background. This is now a park, but was formerly the site of Morioka Castle, which was ordered destroyed in the Meiji era.

  • Thumbnail for Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 1.
    Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 1.

    The front of another float from the festival parade in Morioka. The large figure portrayed on the float is probably a representation of Benkei, the legendary warrior - priest retainer of Yoshitsune. Yoshitsune is one of the great underdog heroes of Japanese history. He was the brilliant young general who engineered the victory of his elder brother, Yoritomo, leader of the Minamoto clan and founding shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate. Suspecting treachery after he became shogun, Yoritomo sent an army in pursuit Yoshitsune, who escaped northward under the protection of the leader of the so-called northern branch of the Fujiwara clan, based at Hiraizumi, in southern Iwate prefecture. However, informed by the son of the elder leader of the Fujiwara, Yoritomo's forces descended upon Hiraizumi to capture Yoshitsune. At Hiraizumi, Benkei -- who was at least eight feet tall and indestructible -- single-handedly held off Yoritomo's entire army, giving Yoshitsune and his family time to commit suicide and to be burned in their home, rather than suffer the shame of capture by the forces of Yoritomo. The story of Yoshitsune and Benkei is a great theme of Japanese literature and provided, e.g., the basis for the great Noh play, Ataka, and the very popular Kabuki play, Kanjincho, based on Ataka. Hiraizumi is perhaps one half hour or so south of Morioka by train.

  • Thumbnail for Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, children are brought to the local shrine
    Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, children are brought to the local shrine

    The children here are arriving at a shrine in late October for the celebration of Shichigosan -- Seven - five - three Day. On this day, girls who are seven or three years old and boys who are five are brought to their shrine in their best dress or in traditional dress for prayers for their well being, for a blessing. -- This particular Shichigosan celebration was on October 28, 2000, and was at the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka. The Hachiman Shrine is the primary Shinto shrine of Morioka, which is in Iwate Prefecture, on the Pacific side of northern most Honshu.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 029, wedding procession, bridge, Sichuan
    Thorp Collection 029, wedding procession, bridge, Sichuan

    Wedding procession, bridge, Sichuan. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Shoe store with traditional footwear
    Shoe store with traditional footwear

    In order to participate in the Hachiman Festival Parade in Morioka, my group had to be outfitted in proper footwear, the Japanese geta (sandal). This store, besides selling Western-style sneakers and dress shoes also specialized in traditional footwear with shoes for everyone from parade participants to brides.

  • Thumbnail for Wedding party
    Wedding party

    While we were at Miyajima, a traditional wedding was being held at the shrine. I snapped this picture of the bride and her grandparents, and a helpful bridesmaid.

  • Thumbnail for Hosoe-cho Princess Parade:  Make-up Preparation
    Hosoe-cho Princess Parade: Make-up Preparation

    During the annual Hosoe-cho Princess Parade, or "Himesama Dohchuu," over a hundred participants dress in traditional costumes and parade through the small town of Hosoe-cho in western Shizuoka prefecture. At left, a woman applies white makeup to the face and throat of a parade participant.

  • Thumbnail for Olympic Stadium
    Olympic Stadium

    This is Olympic Stadium where the 1988 Olympics had taken place. This stadium is now being used for other sporting events, as well as concerts and celebrations. Seoul, South Korea.

  • Thumbnail for Yonkojun sports fans cheering on Yonsei University
    Yonkojun sports fans cheering on Yonsei University

    This is the Yonkojun celebration. In this picture we see students from Yonsei University cheering for their team. Seoul, South Korea.

  • Thumbnail for Setting the stage
    Setting the stage

    Two men are setting this stage for the celebration of the Hungry Ghost festival.

  • Thumbnail for Contemporary wedding in a hotel
    Contemporary wedding in a hotel

    This wedding couple, in their decidedly non-traditional attire, in a hotel, where their wedding was held, present an interesting comparison with the wedding parties seen in images soc000745 and ecasia000861. -- The wedding ceremony is one of many areas in which one may see a remarkable range of cultures and mixing of cultures, old and new, etc. Many couples today continue to be married in the ancient and indigenous Shinto tradition, often at a traditional shrine but also sometimes in a hall at a hotel, with the hall having been designated as a shrine to provide a proper setting for Shinto wedding ceremonies. Some couples today, being Christian, are married in a Christian ceremony in a church or, sometimes, again, in a “wedding hall†in a hotel. Today it is not unusual for a couple to be wed in a Christian church or in a Christian ceremony in a hotel wedding hall, even though they may be non-Christians.

  • Thumbnail for Traditional Shinto wedding
    Traditional Shinto wedding

    This young couple were married in the traditional Shinto ceremony at the famous Itsukushima shrine on Miyajima Island in the Inland Sea, near Hiroshima. They are wearing traditional formal dress for the Shinto ceremony.

  • Thumbnail for Olympics
    Olympics

    Sakai Yoshinori, born in the rubble of the bomb blast at Hiroshima, anchored the relay of runners who brought the sacred flame from Olympia, Greece to Tokyo, Japan. Here he stands in National Stadium an instant after lighting the torch that officially opened the 1964 Olympics.

  • Thumbnail for Wedding
    Wedding

    A bride and groom on their happy wedding day, posing with Brendan Eagan. (Don't worry, he knows them.) Taken at the Meiji Shrine.

  • Thumbnail for Ten Kings Sutra
    Ten Kings Sutra

    Depiction of larger handscroll from Dunhuang of one of the ten kings of Hell. The seated king is flanked by his assistants, one of which offers up a list of the deceased's merits and demerits for his perusal. The text to the left notes that on the 27th day after death, the deceased passes in front of the King of the First River.

  • Thumbnail for Himesama Dohchuu Parade Preparation
    Himesama Dohchuu Parade Preparation

    Two girls wait to have their makeup applied prior to the Himesama Dohchuu parade. Himesama Dohchuu. April, 1998.

  • Thumbnail for Cake from bakery
    Cake from bakery

    It is not unusual to see many kinds of cakes of elaborate design being sold in bakeries. Most celebrations such as birthdays or special occasions involve this kind of cake. Many people are seen carrying boxes of these. If one goes to Korea, be sure to buy one of these for a special occasion: they're quite inexpensive.

  • Thumbnail for Chusak holiday traditional offerings
    Chusak holiday traditional offerings

    During the Chusak Holiday (a time when traditional Koreans honor their ancestors), the women prepare a large feast of homemade food consisting of various fruits, cooked dishes, fish, and rice wine.

  • Thumbnail for Korean Independence celebration
    Korean Independence celebration

    This was a Korean national pride rally during the Korean Independence celebration. Seoul, South Korea

  • Thumbnail for Singapore's Chinatown during Chinese New Year
    Singapore's Chinatown during Chinese New Year

    Chinatown during the week of Chinese New Year. Many street vendors and people.

  • Thumbnail for Religion in public
    Religion in public

    People leave offerings for the spirits during the Hungry Ghost Festival along public sidewalks.

  • Thumbnail for A celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival sign
    A celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival sign

    A celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival sign

  • Thumbnail for Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, Hachiman Shrine, Morioka
    Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, Hachiman Shrine, Morioka

    As described in image 000058, this young boy has been brought to the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka, for the celebration of Shichigosan, Seven-five-three Day, when prayers are offered for the good fortune of girls who are seven or three years old and for boys who are five years old. This young lad, hoping that his father takes the photo quickly, because the sun in his eyes is bright, is dressed in his best formal traditional dress.

  • Thumbnail for Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 3.
    Festival -- ommatsuri, fall festival, Morioka, image 3.

    This image shows another of the floats from the fall festival celebration of the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka. The figure presented on this float may very well be a representation of Yoshitsune, the younger brother of Minamoto no Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura Shogunate. As described in relation to image ecasia000021, the legendary figures Yoshitsune and his retainer, Benkei, were betrayed and came to their end at Hiraizumi, in southern Iwate Prefecture.

  • Thumbnail for Traditional Shinto wedding at Itsukushima Shrine
    Traditional Shinto wedding at Itsukushima Shrine

    A young couple (also seen in ecasia000861) married in a traditional Shinto wedding at the major shrine of Itsukushima, on Miyajima, near Hiroshima. They are attired in traditional formal dress for the Shinto ceremony and as they walk to greet their families they are protected by the traditional parasol carried by an attendant. -- It is frequently said that Japanese persons are “Married Shinto, Buried Buddhist.†In fact, that is very often true and simply speaks of the co-mingling of Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan, where most persons probably regard themselves as being both Shinto and Buddhist, without the sense of exclusivity of beliefs that one might find common in western cultures.