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New year

正月 お正月 新年
alternative words: Shogatsu, Oshogatsu, Shinnen, New year festival, New year celebration
keywords: festival
related topics: Osechi ryori , Ozoni , Kadomatsu , Mochi , Kagami mochi , Hanetsuki , Hagoita , Japanese kite , 7 fortune gods , Takarabune
related web sites: ,
explanation: New year's celebration begins with 108 rings of Buddhist temples (joya no kane) and people go to shrines or temples for the first prayer (hatsumode). The house entrance is decorated with pine boughs (kadomatsu) while on the alcove, round rice cakes (kagami mochi) are installed as offering to year's god (toshigami). During 1 week, people don't work so housewives have prepared special dishes which are easy to cook (osechi ryori). Children are offered money (otoshidama) to buy toys.


日蓮 日蓮上人
alternative words: Holly Nichiren, Nichiren shonin, Nichiren dai shonin, Nichiren shounin
keywords: buddhism, famous person, priest
related topics: Buddhism , Kamakura shogunate , Nichiren sect , Invasion of Mongols
related web sites: , ,
explanation: Born in 1222 in Chiba prefecture. Sent at the age of 12 to Kinki region to learn different Buddhism, he convinced himself of the superiority of Hokekyo (Lotus Sutra) and condemned Jodo (Pure Land) belief. He entered the conflict with the latter and left the region for Kamakura. There, he wrote "Rissho ankokuron" who predicted a foreign invasion. For that reason, he was condemned to an exile to Sado island. After the Mongols' invasion, he was pardoned. He died in 1282 during a trip.

Nichiren sect

alternative words: Nichiren shu, Nichiren-shu, Nichirenshu, Nichirenshu sect, Hokke sect, Lotus sect
keywords: buddhism, sect
related topics: Nichiren , Kamakura period , Kamakura shogunate
related web sites:
explanation: Buddhism sect founded by Nichiren during Kamakura period. Because of no compromising attitude toward the existing sects and Kamakura shogunate, they had been greatly persecuted. When Nichiren's prediction on a foreign invasion had been realized, the sect became popular. After the death of Nichiren, because of a friction between disciples, it has been split to several sects. Namu myoho renge kyo (I take my refuge in the Lotus Sutra) is their precept.


日本書紀 日本紀
alternative words: Nihon-shoki, Nihon shoki, Nohongi, Nihon-gi, Nihon gi
keywords: book
related topics: Kojiki , Emperor Jimmu , Empress Jingu , Prince Yamatotakeru
related web sites:
explanation: The oldest official Japanese history book. Written by Prince Toneri assisted by Oono Yasumaro and published in 720, it contains 30 volumes and embraces the mythological era until the end of Empress Jito's reign in 697. Contrary to Kojiki, published at the same epoch, Nihonshoki is an official book resulting from a synthesis of different sources: if there exists a contradiction on the description of a event, it enumerates different versions.

Niko incident

alternative words: Nikou incident, Nikolayevsk incident, Nikolaevsk incident
keywords: event, northern territory, war
related topics: Siberian intervention
related web sites: ,
explanation: In January 1920, Bolsheviks encircled Nikolaevsk near Sakhalin, where White Russians and hundreds of Japanese civilians protected by soldiers were living. Japanese let enter Bolsheviks but breaking the truce, they began to execute white Russians and also captured Japanese who protested it. Learning the arrival of Japanese rescue, they executed Japanese prisoners, too. Furious, Japan occupied North Sakhalin and asked the reparation. Russia executed the responsible and Japan left in 1925.


忍者 忍の者 隠密
alternative words: Ninja warrior
keywords: martial art, ninja
related topics: Ninjutsu , Sarutobi Sasuke , Hattori Hanzo , Sengoku period , Japanese dart , Iga ninja , Yamabushi
related web sites: ,
explanation: Persons who have mastered "Ninjutsu". Master of not only all the combat technique but also scientific knowledge like medicine and chemistry, their activity had been very intensive during Sengoku period. But most of these heroes, like Sarutobi Sasuke or Kirigakure Saizo were invented during Edo period when the war had ended: their exploits are so exaggerated that they look like a kind of superman or 007


忍術 忍び 忍法
alternative words: Ninjutu, Ninjitsu, Ninjitu, Shinobi, Ninpo, Ninpou
keywords: martial art, ninja
related topics: Ninja , Sengoku period , Heian period , Onmyodo
related web sites: ,
explanation: One of the Japanese martial arts. Originated from Onmyodo of Heian period, it had been associated with a magic like prestidigitation or hypnoses and the medical knowledge. With a development of samurai society, more violent and combative technique had been introduced. During a civil war period of the 16th century (Sengoku period), the specialists of those arts (Ninja) had been highly appreciated and the famous schools of Ninjutsu like Koga and Iga had been prosperous.

Ninomiya Kinjiro

二宮金次郎 二宮尊徳
alternative words: Ninomiya Sontoku, Kinjiro Ninomiya, Sontoku Ninomiya
keywords: famous person, scholar, statesman
related topics: Daimyo , Edo period
related web sites:
explanation: Born in 1787 in a poor peasant family of the western Kanagawa and lost both parents in childhood. But young Kinjiro succeeded to become a great land owner by hardworking abandoned fields. Due to the development of a money based economy, many daimyo of Kanto region had been over indebted so they asked an aid of Kinjiro to restore desolated villages. As a symbol of hardworking, many Japanese schools had a statue of young Kinjiro, reading a book while transporting firewood.


alternative words: Nishiki-e, Nishiki e
keywords: art, ukiyoe
related topics: Ukiyoe , Edo period , Hishikawa Moronobu , Suzuki Harunobu
related web sites: , ,
explanation: Polychrome Ukiyoe art technique invented by Suzuki Harunobu around in 1765. Initiated by Hishikawa Moronobu at early Edo period, until this date Ukiyoe had only one (Sumizuri-e) or few colors (Tan-e and Benizuri-e). By superposing dozens of different color printing, each color showing light and shade, he succeeded to create the world's first full color printing. Since the invention of Harunobu, Ukiyoe had risen to the biggest popular art of Edo period.


錦鯉 緋鯉
alternative words: Nishiki goi, Higoi, Koi fish, Koi, Colored carp, Carp
keywords: craft
related web sites: , , ,
explanation: In some regions of Japan, by keeping waters in rice fields even after harvesting, the people raise carps for their meats. Since old times they have observed the appearance of colored carps due to a mutation but remained a local curiosity. Since the invention of locomotives and cars which allow to transport them for a long distance, raising colored carps has become a true business and many races have been created. Yamakoshi region in Niigata prefecture is well known for it.

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Last update: 27/07/20 17:27