Showing posts with label Waki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Waki. Show all posts

Friday, May 28, 2010

105 years ago today.


On May 28th 1905 the Russian ship Irtysh ran aground on the Shimane coast just off the fishing village of Waki (now part of Gotsu).

The villagers took to their boats and helped to successfully save and bring to shore the more than 200 crew and officers.


The Russians were given food and shelter and helped in every way by the mostly poor fishermens families.

Every year, this year on June 13th, Waki celebrates a Russian festival and dignitaries come from Russia to thank the village once again for their kindness.

In the small Waki Community Center is a small museum with photos, documents, items salvaged from the Irtysh, and gifts from Russia.


The story of how the Irtysh came to its end is pretty interesting.

In 1904, without a declaration of war, the Japanese attacked the Russian Far East Fleet in Port Arthur (Manchuria). Comparisons with Pearl Harbor are obvious. So began the Russo-Japanese war.

In a bold move the Czar ordered his Baltic Fleet to sail 18,000 miles, half way round the world, to hook up with the remnants of his Far East Fleet at Vladivostock. The Irtysh was a supply ship attached to the Baltic Fleet.


In the straits between Japan and Korea the Japanese navy engaged the Russians in a great naval battle that has been equated with Trafalgar. Known now as the Battle of Tsushima, the Russians were soundly defeated, and the damaged Irtysh was seen limping away from the battle and the next day ran aground off Waki.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

October means Matsuri. Matsuri means Kagura. Part 9


The ninth, and final, matsuri I went to in October was in Waki-cho, a seaside village that is part of Gotsu.


Earlier in the afternoon we stopped by a bunch of shrines in the area that were all having their matsuri that night. While we were at the shrine in Waki there was a ceremony going on for all the people of the village that had turned 60 years of age that year. The Chinese dating system that the Japanese adopted is based on 60 year cycles, the 12 animals times the 5 elements, so 60 is the end of one complete cycle and holds special significance.


That night at the matsuri I saw something I'd not seen at any other matsuri. Elevated "boxes", protected from the weather and with views over the crowds to the kagura stage. These were for all those elders who had become 60 that year. A nice touch I thought.


The matsuri was well attended, though Waki no longer has its own kagura group, one from Hamada was performing. All the streets of the village had the shimenawa running along them, and a lot of matsuri banners were flying from peoples houses.


This will probably be the last post on kagura for a while :)