Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shrine Mutual Respect

I went on a class field trip to one of the largest settlements of Koreans in Japan. Most of the people there were born and raised in Japan, but because of Japan's system of naturalization, many of them are not Japanese citizens. The area we experienced primarily consisted of Korean food shops. This was the first time I saw signs written in Hangul (the Korean alphabet) in Japan.

Nearby, a very small Danjiri (portable shrine) festival was taking place. This is an entirely Japanese event though some ethnic Koreans likely participate. This background of this festival was rather interesting. In the past there were two villages that were geographically very close but separated by a large river. In recent times, the river was diverted meaning that the villages were suddenly in closer contact. Each village had it's own Danjiri festival so when the river was moved, they began holding their festivals at the same time. As a show of respect, the Danjiri from one village travels to the main permanent shrine in the other village and "bows" to the shrine. Pictured here, as the musicians inside the Danjiri beat a lively rhythm, men from the village tip the back of the Danjiri up making it appear as though it is bowing to the other village's permanent shrine.

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