Colors and Traditions at the Chichibu Night Festival

  The Chichibu Night Festival took place on December 3rd in Saitama’s Chichibu city, approximately 90 minutes north of central Tokyo. Starting from the Chichibu Shrine, men and women dressed in happi (traditional festival clothing) paraded four gorgeous and exquisite floats and two kasaboko (a float with willow-like fronds descending in a giant umbrella shape), […]

Usagi Juku: Preserving Japanese Armor Culture and Tradition

Every year, on the 23rd of November, the Yoroi Kizome ceremony is held at the World Heritage-listed Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Families from several generations, from grandparents to grandchildren, can participate and proudly wear their handmade yoroi (armor) and kabuto (battle helmet). The backdrop is during the peak of Kyoto’s foliage season, making the […]

Inside the Niinamesai: The Emperor’s Most Difficult Ritual

 The Emperor continues to privately conduct the Niinamesai rituals. This picture was taken by the Imperial Household Agency in November 23, 2013, when he celebrated his 80th birthday.    Labor Thanksgiving Day is a Japanese national holiday celebrated on November 23rd. Even within Japan, however, most people aren’t aware this particular date was inherited from a pre-1945 imperial […]

Sword Fittings of the Mitsumura Collection on Exhibit November 3 to December 17

Matching pair of sword guards Design by Kongosai (Matsuo) Gassan (1815-1875). 19th C. Nezu Museum, formerly Mitsumura Collection.   From November 3rd until December 10th, 2017, Nezu Museum is holding an exhibition of some of the most exquisite swords and sword fittings in Japan. It features the collection of Toshimo Mitsumura, a Meiji period businessman and […]

Honor and Responsibility: 2017 Laureates on What the Præmium Imperiale Means to Them

The laureates and international advisors of the 29th The Præmium Imperiale International Arts Awards held a press conference on Tuesday, October 17, at the Hotel Okura Tokyo in Toranomon, ahead of the awards ceremony.   Awardees from five divisions, who were set to be honored in an October 18th dinner, were present: Iranian-American artist Shirin […]