Showing posts with label rice planting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rice planting. Show all posts

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rice Planting Matsuri


Its that time of the year again. In my neighborhood the month of May is spent planting rice. My neighbors dont go on vacation for Golden Week, the time off from their regular job is spent preparing the paddies and planting.

Down in Kawahira half a paddy remains unplanted......


Its waiting for the arrival of the procession from the local community center. Its Tauebayashi time again.


The maidens line up along the paddy and wait.....


While the farmer and his oxen do a ceremonial circuit of the paddy.


Then the drummers and singers begin to perform the rice planting song.


A man and a woman place a bottle of Sake at a sacred sprig in the center of the paddy, plant a few rice seedlings around it and ask the kami of the rice paddy to watch.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rice planting maidens. Saotome.


Saotome, rice-planting maidens from last weekends Tauebayashi Matsuri up in Atoichi.


Saotome appear in all kinds of rice planting ceremonies and rituals all over Japan. The link between agriculture, fertility, and sexuality was common to many rites in agricutural societies, though as far as I know in Japan the explicit link still exists at only one shrine up in Asuka.


Nowadays the maidens come in all ages.


It is difficult to overstate the obsession Japanese have with rice.


To the horror of any Japanese who know me, I don't like the plain, white, sticky, stuff!

Barbarian that I am.


Actually for most japanese, rice only became the staple food relatively recently. For most of japanese history the common people subsisted on a porridge made from various grains. White rice was reserved for special occasions.


The rich lived on white rice, and it is believed emperors and lords sometimes died from beri-beri.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rice Planting!.... the musical!

The third post on the Tauebayashi Matsuri we went to on Sunday. This time a look at the musicians who play the worksong during the rice planting.


This character has no name, though he is wearing a Hyottoko mask. He keeps time for the music with a pair of small "changara", which is the local name for small hand cymbals.


There is a single flute player in the ensemble, and a group of 3 kodaiko players. The kodaiko is carried vertically and only the top is hit.


There is one player of the dora, a kind of bell/gong.


Most of the musicians play the okedo taiko, and it provides the meat of the sound. It is carried horizontally and both heads are struck.


For the first half of the planting the music was performed by the childrens ensemble, playing a smaller okedo taiko.


A short video of the lead singer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Faces from a Matsuri


Another series of photos from the rice-planting matsuri we went to yesterday, the Tauebayashi, in Kawahira.

I don't feel very comfortable taking photos of people, so I'm not very good at it, but in the context of a matsuri, where everyone is taking photos, I do try.


The only masks to be seen were on the farmer and his Ox that led the procession and then did a ritual circuit of the rice paddy accompanied by suitable mooing.


This is the lead singer of the musicians. He sings of what a beautiful day it is and how much fun it is to be out in the paddies planting rice. easy enough for him to sing as he is not bent over all day actually planting :)


The matriarchs of the village look on, critically one suspects.


It is supposed to be maidens that do the planting, but there are very few maidens in rural Japan, most having moved to the cities. However there were a couple of young beauties among the mostly middle-aged planters. Most photographers seemed to congregate at their end of the planting line.


For the first half of the planting it was the children who performed the music.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rice planting the old way. Tauebayashi Matsuri

Spent a great morning today downriver in the village of Kawahira for the Tauebayashi matsuri.

Tauebayashi is a rice-planting worksong from this region of Japan, and kawahira is one of a handful of villages that still perform it. They performed it at last summers Horanenya Matsuri in Gotsu Honmachi


In this first of four posts, the sequence of photos show the procession to the rice paddy to be planted.


It was a full matsuri, with lots of tasty local food at cheap prices, no crowds, and very friendly people, all attributes of village matsuri's that I enjoy.


I'll post more photos over the next few days.


If your only experience of matsuri has been at some of the big, famous, city-based matsuri's, then you have missed a really wonderful part of Japan.