Online dictionary of history and traditions in Japan: Sugita Genpaku,Sukiyaki,Sumo,Sumo judge,Sumo referee,Sumo ring,Susano,Sushi,Suzuki Harunobu

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Sugita Genpaku

sugitagennpaku
alternative words: Genpaku Sugita, Sugita Gempaku, Gempaku Sugita
keywords: famous person, scholar
related topics: Edo period , Rangaku
related web sites: http://www.izumishobo.co.jp/iode27-2a.htm , http://www.apl.pref.akita.jp/apic/tabellenSP.html
explanation: Born in 1733 and succeeded his father as personal doctor of Obama's seignior. He learned Dutch medicine from Nishi Gentetsu. After having assisted to the first medical dissection of an executed criminal, he was impressed by the exactness of a western anatomy book and decided to translate it with Maeno Ryotaku. The difficulty to get a Japanese version, Kaitai Shinsho (New book of anatomy) is well related in his book, Rangaku Kotohajime (Beginning of Dutch studies). He died in 1817.

Sukiyaki

sukiyaki sukiyaki sukiyaki
alternative words: Suki yaki
keywords: food
related topics: Tofu
related web sites: http://www.shimizu.or.jp/kitamura/sukiyakikitamura_ryouri.html
explanation: Japanese dish which consists to boil thinly sliced beef, tofu and vegetables in sugared soy sauce mixed with sweet sake (mirin). Only cutting ingredients is done in kitchen while the cooking is carried out in a shallow saucepan on a dinner table. The etymological origin of sukiyaki comes from a composition of 2 words: "suki" means "plow" and "yaki" means "grill". It evokes a cooking method popular among farmers at the end of 19th century.

Sumo

sumou sumou
alternative words: Sumo wrestling, Sumou, Sumoo
keywords: sumo
related topics: Edo period , Yokozuna , Sumo referee , Sumo judge , Sumo ring , Akebono Taro , Konishiki Yasokichi
related web sites: http://www.sumo.or.jp , http://www.hikyaku.com/gallery/english/sumo.htm
explanation: Sumo is the Japanese national sport. It is a battle of 2 persons in a ring and its goal is to reverse the adversary or push him out of the ring. Being played since Nara-Yamato period, professional wrestlers appeared in Muromachi period and sumo for religious charities was very poplar in Edo period. Nowadays, the grand tournament of 15 days takes place 6 times each year.

Sumo judge

kennsayaku shinnpanniinn
alternative words: Ringside judge, Kensa yaku, Shinpan iin, Kensayaku, Shinpaniin
keywords: sumo
related topics: Sumo , Sumo referee
explanation: Sitting at the 4 sides of sumo ring, they (4 persons) can make an eventual opposition to the umpire's judgment (mono ii). Then, they discuss together on the ring and give a conclusion to the empire: it may be a confirmation of the judgment, a reversion or an indecision. In the latter case, the wrestlers have to begin another match (tori naoshi). Those persons are elected among retired sumo wrestlers. Shinpan-iin (judge) is the modern name of Kensa-yaku (controller).

Sumo referee

gyouji
alternative words: Sumo umpire, Gyouji, Gyoji, Gyou ji, Gyo ji
keywords: sumo
related topics: Sumo , Sumo judge
explanation: Gyoji is a sumo referee. His role consists in opposing 2 wrestlers in sumo ring and directing the referee's fan to the winner after a match. If there is no protestation coming from ringside judges, he confirms the judgment by declaring the winner's name. The main houses of sumo referees are Kimura and Shikimori.

Sumo ring

dohyou
alternative words: Dohyo, Dohyou, Dohyoo
keywords: sumo
related topics: Sumo
explanation: Dohyo is a place where a sumo match occurs. Officially it has a circular form with 455 cm of diameter. Initially there had been a pillar at each corner but too dangerous, it has been replaced by a suspended tassel since 1952. Dohyo means in Japanese "earthen straw bag" used to delimit this ring.

Susano

susanoonomikoto susanoo
alternative words: Susano no mikoto, Susanou, Susanou no mikoto, God Susano, Prince Susano
keywords: god, mythology
related topics: Izanagi Izanami , Amaterasu , Yamato dynasty , Izumo dynasty , Yamata no orochi , Kojiki
explanation: Born from god Izanagi, he is considered responsible of the ocean. His sister, Amaterasu, being furious with his violence, had driven him away from the Heaven (Takamagahara) and he went to Izumo (actual Shimane prefecture). There he killed a big snake with 8 heads (Yamata no orochi) when Princess Kushi inada was going to be scarified. He founded then Izumo dynasty. Amaterasu is said his sister but it may mean rather a political alliance between Yamato and Izumo dynasties.

Sushi

sushi
keywords: food
related topics: Edo period , Sashimi
related web sites: http://www.sunshow.co.jp/Sushi.htm , http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~tenryou/
explanation: Initially shushi had been made by packing together fishes, rice and salt and awaiting fermentation. Since the beginning of Edo period, people began to add directly vinegar instead of awaiting it. It was called hayazushi (quick sushi). This method is still popular in Kinki region but the most popular method now was invented at Tokyo in the late Edo period. Instead of packing with a weight, fresh fish and vinegary rice are packed only with hand and served immediately.

Suzuki Harunobu

suzukiharunobu harunobu
alternative words: Harunobu Suzuki, Harunobu
keywords: artist, famous person, ukiyoe
related topics: Ukiyoe , Hishikawa Moronobu , Edo period , Nishikie
explanation: Born in 1725 and died in 1770. Known as an ukiyoe artist of the middle Edo period, who has developed first multicolored ukiyoe technique (Nishikie). Thanks to this technique and also with an aid of his cultivated samurai entourage, he arrived to express a delicate sentiment of female characters. "Zashiki hakkei" is one of his master pieces. With Hishikawa Moronobu, he is considered one of the major founders of ukiyoe art.

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