Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Isotake Guro

Monday was Tondo Matsuri in my village, but it was cold and rainy so we gave it a miss. Photos from last years Tondo can be seen here.

guro1

Instead we went up the coast a little to the fishing village of Isotake where they have a version of Tondo Matsuri that is unique in all of Japan. For their Tondo they erect a 10m wide bamboo structure called a "Guro".

guro6

You may think it looks very Mongolian, and you would be right as it is acknowledged that its roots are from the mainland. This area has a strong connection to the mainland through the korean kingdom of Sila. A few kilometres away is the spot where Susano and his son Isotake arrived here from Korea. The shrine behind the Guro recounts how many local "kami" travelled back and forth with Susano to the mainland to learn skills.

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The structure is built almost completely out of bamboo, covered with mats. Inside fire burn and the villagers gather for the next 4 days.

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The tall central bamboo, similar to other tondo matsuris, is for the kami Toshitokujin, the kami of the new year, to descend into the guro. Toshitokujin, like much that is called shinto now, has its roots in Daoism.

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Over the fires mochi is toasted. It was freezing outside but very warm inside.

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On friday the guro, along with all the new years ornaments, will be ceremonially burned as with other Tondo matsuri's.

4 comments:

  1. I saw this on the news. Lovely pictures, as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi

    I have been following your blog for some time now. Just wanted to tell you - interesting reading and great photos.
    Keep up the good work.

    Oliver from Nara

    ReplyDelete
  3. wonderful captures and interesting write up!

    ReplyDelete

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