§882-1101@Mitai 1515, Takachiho, Miyazaki, 882-1101 JAPAN
Outline of Exihibition
This Page is an illustrated record of the permanent display at the center. In real exhibithion, english interpretation for diplay is not ready yet. Sorry.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE HUMAN RACE& FOSSIL DISTRIBUTION MAP
‘ The Process of Evolution
‘ Discoveries of human fossils in East Asia
THE ENVIRONMENT & ANIMALS OF THE PALEOLITHIC ERA
Over the Paleolithic era there were 4 ice ages. Approximately 20,000 years ago, during the Wiirm ice age, Japan was connected to the continent and sea level was 150 metres lower than it is today. The temperature was 7-8 degrees lower than that of today and the Takachiho region was covered with subarctic zone forests such as larch, spruce and Japanese hemlock. It is most likely that the Nauman elephant and other large now extinct animals lived in the region.
‘ Animals of the Paleolithic Era
THE IZURUHA CAVE (Hinokage Town)
The Izuruha Cave lies in a mountain range at an altitude of 920 metres. The well sunlit entrance to the cave faces southward towards a stream which empties into the Hinokage River. In 1965-66 an archeological excavation was carried out at this site. From the second, third, sixth, seventh and eighth layers of this excavation remnants from the Jomon and Pre-ceramic periods were revealed. Of particular interest were the stone objects found in the eighth layer which were tools used some 20,000 years ago.
‘ Inventory of relics uncovered at the Izuruha Cave excavation
IWATSUCHIBARU SITE (Kitakata Town)
Iwatsuchibaru is situated on a river bank of the Gokase River at an altitude of 120 metres.The archeological excavation of this site revealed 3 separate layers of artifacts. From the first layer came the remnants of a fire place and objects from the early Jomon period such as earthenware and stone arrowheads. The second layer revealed earthenware with finger nail made impressions as well as small stone implements. From the third layer came scrappers and fragments from the Pre-ceramic period. The relics from the second layer are of particular value as they are thought to date from the period which gave birth to earthenware. While small stone implements have been unearthed at other sites within Miyazaki Prefecture (including Maino, Nobeoka City and Funano, Saito City ) they are of a different nature to these relics. Objects from the third layer however are comparable with objects uncovered at the Izuruha Cave site.
THE JOMON PERIOD
The 10,000 years following the Paleolithic period (from 10,000 B.C. to 300 B.C.) is known as the Jomon period. The Jomon period is named after the discovery of pottery with cord like markings. While the hunting and gathering lifestyle of the Paleolithic period continued through this time, significant changes included the usage of earthenware, the emergence of the bow and arrow and the beginning of fishing. The use of earthenware and the beginning of cooking brought about a change in the eating habits of the Jomon people with previously inedible plants becoming part of the diet. The lifestyle of the Jomon people reverted between settled and nomadic but the discovery of new foods increased the length of time spent in one place and also the size of communities.
THE JOMON POTTERY OF TAKACHIHO
According to its shape and pattern, Jomon earthenware is divided into six different periods. Earthenware has been uncovered in Takachiho from each of these periods. Representative is the Jinnai Site, where middle to late period pieces of Nishihira Style, Mimanta Style and Goryo Style were discovered. The black polished earthenware from this period has been discovered in a great variety of shapes which indicates interaction with the Kumamoto and Oita regions.
THE JOMON PEOPLE
Lifestyle of the Jomon People
It has proved difficult to obtain an accurate profile of the Jomon people. Despite relying heavily on nature, it is believed that the Jomon people lead a relatively stable life. It is certain however that from time to time fears existed concerning hunger and illness. Clay figures and stone poles are thought to have been used in festivals by the Jomon people to praise the power of nature and to also to pray for an abundant supply of food.
The Jomon Calendar
Japan's distinct seasons together with the Jomon people's total reliance on nature determined their calendar in the following way.
spring : bud sprout gathering
summer : fishing
autumn : acorns, walnuts and other nut gathering
winter : hunting
The changing of the seasons was in every sense the calendar of the Jomon people.
These figurines, which mostly represent pregnant women and which were often discovered partly broken, are believed to have been used in part of a ceremony to cure illness and also in prayers for abundant harvests. Such clay figures have been discovered in great numbers in the east of Japan but rarely in the west. In Kyushu a surprisingly large number have been unearthed, particularly in the area around the outer crater of Mt. Aso.
‘ Distribution Map of Clay Figurine Findings in Kyushu.
PRINCIPLE ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES OF TAKACHIHO
‘ The Jinnai Site
At this site (located in Kurumazako, Oaza Mitai) artifacts from the late/post Jomon period were discovered. In July of 1956 an archeological excavation of the site was carried out by the Shinto Cultural Society; in September 1960 by the Prefectural Board of Education; and in February 1980 by the Takachiho Board of Education. In March of 1976, the Jinnai site was declared a place of historical importance by Miyazaki Prefecture. The excavations to date have turned up the only stone poles and clay figurines to be found within the prefecture; a rare stone sword; stone axes, cross shaped stone implements; personal accessories and other stone implements. Also discovered were a large number of earthenware items corresponding to the Mimanta and Goryo Styles.
‘ The Sebetto Site
This site is located on a slight hill on the south side of the Takachiho Shrine. In 1943 the archeologist Tsunetaro Ishikawa discovered a pit house here and an archeological excavation was conducted before construction work began on the Kodono apartment complex. This excavation dated the pit dwelling from the late Jomon period as well as uncovering earthenware and stone arrow heads.
‘ The Umenokibaru Site
An archeological excavation in 1984 of this site in the Otani region uncovered late Jomon period earthenware of the Mimanta and Nishihira Styles and earthenware made with bands of clay. Many stone arrow heads and axes were also discovered as well as pit dwelling and an urn from the late Yayoi period . This style of urn had a distribution from the upper Gokase River to the upper-middle Oono River in Oita Prefecture. The distinctive feature of this piece is its decoration with G shaped characters.
Route to Japan
Rice is believed to have arrived in Japan through northern Kyushu around the 3rd century B.C. along with metal implements, cloth and polished stone implements. While there are a number of paths it may have taken, the route from southern China via the Korean peninsula is thought to be the most likely.
The Spread of Rice throughout Japan
Following its arrival in northern Kyushu, the technique of growing rice spread rapidly eastward reaching the western Tokai region. By the 1-2 centuries A.D., excluding Hokkaido and Okinawa, the culture of growing rice had become an entrenched part of Japanese society. While rice growing culture arrived to the plains of Miyazaki relatively quickly, it did not reach Takachiho until the late-middle range of this period.
THE YAYOI PERIOD
The 500 year period from the 2-3 centuries B.C. until the 3rd century A.D. is referred to as the Yayoi period. In contrast to the hunting and gathering lifestyles of the Paleolithic and Jomon periods, the Yayoi period saw the start of food production which centred largely on the production of rice. The entry of steel and copper tools into the country along with the technology to make such implements saw a change not only in people's everyday lives but also brought about fundamental reform in the structure of society. Before long the regions of Japan would become politically integrated.
THE TOOLS OF RICE HARVESTING
Ishibocho (stone knife) was the implement used to harvest ears of rice during the Yayoi period. Scattered discoveries of ishihocho around Mt. Aso and the upper stream area of the Oono River, in places where it would not seem possible to grow rice, suggest that wet land rice farming was practiced in these areas. In the Takachiho region, ishihocho have been discovered at the Iwato Shrine, Takachiho Senior High School, Kurobaru (Iwato), Kodono and Oshioi.
THE USUITOBIRA SITE
A survey was conducted at this site before construction work began on the extension of the Takachiho Rail line in 1977. The exact nature of the site was not determined, however, the bulk of the items uncovered were earthenware objects from the late Yayoi period. Discoveries of G marked urns and Shimojo Style urns suggests interaction with the Bungo area (modern day Oita) while finds of Kurokami Style earthenware of the Menda Style suggests interaction with the Higo region (modern day Kumamoto). Further, the carbonized remains of deciduous broadleaf trees provides evidence that the climate of Takachiho was somewhat cooler than that of today.
The late Yayoi period saw the continued integration of regions and the appearance of burial mounds to mark the tombs of regional leaders. By the latter half of the third century these burial mounds had assumed uniformity. It was from this period that enormous keyhole shaped mounded tombs were constructed throughout the regions of western Japan. It is thought that this was due to an alliance between the regional leaders centred at Kinai (the area around Nara). The period over which these keyhole shaped tombs were constructed ( from the latter half of the 3rd century until the 6th century) is known as the Kofun period. By the 7th century a nation state had emerged and the construction of these keyhole shaped tombs came to an end.
THE APPEARANCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF BURIAL MOUNDS
In the latter half of the 3rd century, burial mounds appeared in the regions of western Japan centred around the region of the Seto Inland Sea. The kofuns of Akatsuka in Oita Prefecture and Ishizukayama in Fukuoka Prefecture are representative of this period. The period following this saw a rapid expansion in the spread of burial mounds. By the latter half of the 4th century the distribution of these tombs was from the lower north-eastern region of Japan through to southern Kyushu. The No.13 tomb in Saitobaru, constructed in the latter half of the 4th century, is the oldest kofun in Miyazaki Prefecture. This indicates that up until this period, the leadership of southern Miyazaki was part of the political regime centred in Kinai. The state of affairs in Takachiho during the Kofun period is not known until the 6th century.
‘ Kofun Distribution
‘ Late Yayoi Period Burial Mounds and the Appearance of Kofuns
CORRIDOR STYLE TOMBS (interaction with Higo)
In the Takachiho region, tombs of a corridor style not seen elsewhere within the prefecture have been discovered. The distinctive features of these tombs are the bed and stone pillow in the entrance chamber. These distinguishing features are referred to as Higo-Gata and this style of tomb tells us that 6th century Takachiho had interaction with the Higo region (modern day Kumamoto).
During the Kofun period, the practice of riding horses became common place in Japan. The various implements used to control the horse such as the bit, headgear and bridle, as well as various ornamental objects are shown in this diagram.
Magatama are the comma shaped jewels of the Kofun period which were generally made of talc. The discovery of magatama at the sites of rituals and festivals as well as many isolated discoveries leads us to believe that these objects were not thought of as mere ornaments but rather as a spirit possessing tool.
‘ Distribution Map of Komochi Magatama Finds
‘ Komochi Magatama discovered in Gokase
THE MARUYAMA STONE COFFINS
At this site (eastward sloping hill face, altitude 620m) 10 stone coffins and 2 corridor style tombs have been discovered. Of these, 3 stone coffins have been properly excavated.
In 1977, tomb B was excavated and found to be constructed from 6 layers of tuff from Mt. Aso. The coffin was 175cm in length and 55cm wide. Buried together with the body, 4 steel knives, a steel ring and 55 flat disc-shaped beads were discovered. The construction of the coffin as well as the objects discovered within suggest that it dates from the Kofun period. The discovery in another stone coffin of a bone dagger, featuring a design of intersecting diagonal and curved lines, hints that these tombs may date from the 5th century.
THE IPPONGI TOMB
Belonging to the Airabaru group of tombs, the Ippongi corridor style tomb was discovered after a typhoon in 1957 and subsequently excavated. The chamber was 2.2m in length, 3m wide and the ceiling 1.15m high. On both sides of the chamber existed a raised area and a stone pillow, thus resembling a bed.
On the south-east side of the chamber, a human skeleton and a number of objects including a steel sword, steel arrowheads and magatama were discovered. Of particular interest however were 4 bell-shaped harness pendants the like of which have been discovered at only one other site in Miyazaki Prefecture.
From the articles discovered, it is estimated that the tomb was constructed in the latter half of the 6th century.
THE OSHIKATA MINAMIBIRA TOMB
The Oshikata Minamibira site is located on a north-west facing slope at an elevation of 313m. Two corridor style tombs were discovered in 1955 when the area was being prepared for a chestnut plantation. Both tombs were constructed with a slightly raised area on each side of the chamber which were furnished with stone pillows.
Chamber number one had a length of 2.0m, a width of 2.5m and was sealed with a stone slab. Items discovered include knives, steel arrowheads, various horse trappings, globular and cylindrical beads and earthenware (sue ware). Analysis of these objects suggests that the tomb dates from the middle to late 6th century.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF@NATIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS
Following the Taika Reform of 645, the regions of Japan came under the central administration of the Yamato Imperial Court. Under this new system the province of Hyuga was divided into 5 districts, or Koori, which were further divided into smaller areas called Gou.
The records from this period make reference to Chiho Gou of Usuki No Koori, Hyuga province and also to Chiho Gou of Aso No Koori, Higo province.
It is thought that the Takachiho of ancient times was part of a large region of middle Kyushu that was split into two by the Taika Reform.
ORIGINS OF TAKACHIHO SHOU
By the middle of the Heian period the system of public land ownership, which had been a foundation of the country's laws, had broken down and the trend of private land ownership continued. Using the people under their influence, shrines and temples as well as the aristocracy, continued to clear the land and more and more of it came under private ownership.
The entire province of Hyuga, which was far away from the central government, became private land and until the Edo period the region of Chiho Gou ( Usuki No Koori ) came to be known as Takachiho Shou.
THE LEADERS OF TAKACHIHO SHOU
No accurate records from the Nara and Heian periods exist concerning the ruling clan of Takachiho, however, the existence of ancestors from the Mitai clan and the ancient mountain clan the Kourogi's suggest that it may have been one of these groups.
A Record of Takachiho from Ancient to Modern Times (a publication of 1802) records that in the year 950 the Mitai clan welcomed (adopted into the clan) the eldest son of Bungo's (modern day Oita) Oganotaida Koremoto, Masatsugu, who subsequently called himself Tarou Takachiho.
Until the Azuchi-Momoyama period Takachiho was ruled by the descendants of Masatsugu Tarou Takachiho who all took the Takachiho name.
THE BEGINNINGS OF SAMURAI GOVERNMENT
In the middle of the Heian period, due to the chaotic state of regional politics, ruling families and farmers took up arms to protect their land. These groups which appeared in every region were the beginnings of the samurai class.
In the country, these samurai groups were formed mainly from the Genji and Heishi clans and grew stronger in the face of opposition from the imperial court and nobility. This confrontation eventually resulted in a sharing of political power with the imperial court.
Thus began samurai government and a feudal society. The era from the Kamakura period until the end of Muromachi period is referred to as the middle ages.
THE NAME CHANGE TO MITAI
With the opening of the Kamakura shogunate, Yoritomo Minamoto appointed a guard and a lord in every region to protect public order. In Takachiho Shou the head of the Takachiho clan was appointed to serve as lord.
At the fall of the Kamakura shoganate, a struggle broke out between the northern and southern regions. Takachiho fought with the south as an ally of the Kikuchi clan from the Aso region. At this time the name of the Takachiho clan was changed to Mitai. While the reason for this is unclear, it is thought that it was a reward to the powerful people within the clan for entering the battle. Mitai was the name of the central region of the village and the place where these powerful people most likely resided.
TAKACHIHO AND THE PERIOD OF CIVIL WARS
During the reign of Yoshimasa Ashikaga, the eighth shogun, a power struggle between the feudal lords lead to the War of Onin. The result of this battle was the overthrow of the Ashikaga shogunate by Nobunaga Oda.
The 100 years leading up to the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1576-1600), when Oda took political power, is referred to as the period of Civil Wars.
During this period Takachiho joined together with the Otomo clan from Higo (modern day Kumamoto) but at the battle of Takajou River was defeated by the Shimazu clan. This left the Mitai clan of Takachiho as an ally of Shimazu and at the attack of Takamori castle Takachiho fought as the vanguard.
‘ The distribution of feudal lords during the Civil War period.
THE 48 FORTS OF TAKACHIHO
To protect the village of Takachiho, the Mitai clan selected various sites which were surrounded by steep mountains, valleys, rivers or plateaus and constructed fortifications. These were known as the 48 forts of Takachiho.
THE POWERS OF HYUGA
The dream of Nobunaga Oda to unite Japan was inherited by his successor Hideyoshi Toyotomi. At this time the province of Hyuga was divided between a number of rulers.
THE DOWNFALL OF THE MITAI CLAN
When Hideyoshi conquered Kyushu he appointed Mototane Takahashi as feudal lord of the Nobeoka region. In 1591 (the 19th year of the Tensho period), in an effort to bring Takachiho under his control, Takahashi drew Sousetsu Kai of the Mitai clan into an alliance and dispatched him to the hills.
At the ensuing battle, starting with Chikatate Mitai, almost all of the Mitai clan perished.
In 1598 (the 3rd year of the Keicho period) Daizen Tomitaka, the master of a fort in Iwato,
was the last to fall signaling the ruin of the Mitai clan.
‘ The grave of Chikatake Mitai
‘ The grave of Daizen Tomitaka
From an historical perspective documents are an extremely valuable resource.
Particularly during the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods, rule by document became the established practice and the laws and ordinances of the shogunate and feudal lords also came to be communicated in this way.
In rural areas, responsibility for writing documents regarding the settlement of land taxes; keeping land and population registers; recording details of village affairs and the like was placed upon the leader of the village. In Takachiho many such documents exist to this day and are preserved in the old households of the region.
THE EDO SHOGUNATE AND THE RURAL COMMUNITIES
Following the death of Hideyoshi, Ieyasu Tokugawa opened the Edo shogunate. With a powerful economic foundation, Tokugawa controlled the imperial court, the feudal lords and also the temples and shrines of the country. What was to follow was a system of national control by feudal lords; the suppression of Christianity and a policy of national isolation.
In rural communities a distinction in social standing was made between honbyakusho, (land owners) and mizunomibyakusho (peasants).
In Takachiho, from the class of honbyakusho a village headman and others were elected to govern the village on the orders of the feudal lord. Further, every five households formed a group which was given collective responsibility for the payment of land taxes and prevention of crime.
According to records, the Takachiho of the Edo period had only a small number of rice fields. Thus, even for the festivals of Obon, new year and for funerals, rice was in scarce supply. The staple diet of this time was made up from millet, corn, wheat, buckwheat, Japanese millet and taro. In times of famine and crop failure, arrow root, nuts, seeds and weeds were eaten to stave off hunger.
Even in hard time, farmers were expected to pay an annual rice tax as well as taxes on all crops. The life of a farmer was not an easy one.
Due to such harsh policies and in opposition to the feudal lords, peasant uprisings began to occur. In 1755 (the 5th year of the Horeki period), in the town of Yamaura (current day Kamiiwato), the dissatisfaction with heavy taxes and with the officials of the town lead to an incident where some 248 people fled to the neighbouring territory of Bungo (modern day Oita).
‘ Major peasant uprisings
TAKACHIHO THE LAND OF THE GODS
From the middle of the Edo period research into classic Japanese literature expanded and in the latter days of the Tokugawa government the themes of exclusionism (anti-foreign sentiment) and reverence for the emperor were very strong.
In 1847 (the 4th year of the Koka period), a group of villagers influenced by this classic literature and dissatisfied with the feudal lord of Nobeoka, began a secret campaign to have the region of Takachiho declared as a domain of the gods. This in effect would have freed Takachiho from the control of Nobeoka.
As the representative of this movement, Kengo Sugiyama from the village of Kamino visited the imperial court at Kyoto. Although obtaining the imperial permission which he went there to recieve, he was intercepted on his return journey by the Nobeoka clan which effected the end of the villagers campaign.
THE BIRTH OF A MODERN STATE
Pressure from world powers ended a long shogunate imposed period of isolation and Japan opened to the world.
Following soon after this, a movement centred in Satsuma (modern day Kagoshima) emerged with the aim of bringing down the shogunate. Eventually, the Edo shogunate crumbled and a new era of government was welcomed in. The new government elected to recreate Japan into a modern state and moved to introduce the advanced culture of the west into the country. There were many major changes to the education system and other areas.
Unfortunately, there also resulted at this time an anti Buddhist movement which lead to the destruction of many Buddhist temples and other cultural assets.
THE BIRTH OF MIYAZAKI PREFECTURE
In the year 1871 (the 4th year of the Meiji period) came the abolition of clans and the establishment of prefectures. In the area which was known as Hyuga, six prefectures were created; Nobeoka, Takanabe, Sadowara, Obi, Hitoyoshi and Kagoshima.
Using the Oyodo River as a border, in November of 1871 these prefectures merged to became Mimitsu and Miyakonojo Prefectures. In 1873 these two prefectures became one and Miyazaki Prefecture came into being.
In 1876 Miyazaki merged with Kagoshima (i.e. became a region of Kagoshima) Prefecture. However, the prefectures were once again separated in 1883 ending a campaign by Miyazaki residents.
THE SEINAN BATTLE AND TAKACHIHO
The new policies of the Meiji government brought major changes to the lives of many Japanese people. However, the lives of the people in the country changed little and their discontent resulted in a succession of rebellions. In 1877 (the 10th year of the Meiji period) Takamori Saigo from (modern day) Kagoshima led a rebellion which is referred to as the Satsuma or Seinan Rebellion.
Takachiho allied itself with the forces of Takamori Saigo and the regions of Takachiho bore witness to some fierce fighting. The government troops were eventually victorious but Takamori Saigo managed to escape from Nobeoka through Takachiho and Gokase to his base where he committed seppuku.
‘ The movements of Takamori Saigo
THE TEMPLES AND SHRINES OF TAKACHIHO
The Takachiho region has been blessed with an abundance of myths and legends and also many shrines. According to records of the time, in the year 1743 there were some 554 shrines in the region.
A large number of these shrines are in honour of celestial gods. There are also many shrines which are dedicated to the Kumano faith (a belief intertwined with Buddhist ideals which grew out of the Kumano Shrine in Wakayama Prefecture) which became popular in the Kamakura period. However, in 1871 (4th year of the Meiji period) there came a ruling which stated that each village shall have no more than one shrine. Many shrines disappeared and in most cases the central shrine came to take the village name.
Up until 1596, Takachiho's temples were mostly of the Sodo or Tendai Buddhist sects but the spread of the Jodo sect at this time saw many temples convert. Presently there are 12 temples in Takachiho. The Buddhist faith of Takachiho's townspeople is evidenced by the worship of the many Buddhist stone images scattered around the town.
THE MAJOR TEMPLES OF TAKACHIHO
‘ Kinryuzan Imayama Temple (Tendai sect) This is the oldest temple in the region, being founded in 701 and completed in 719. The image of worship is an eleven faced Kannon (Goddess of Mercy). In 1867 (the first year of the Meiji period) use of the temple was discontinued but was latter revived in the year 1904.
‘ Shuunzan Ryusen Temple (Sodo sect) The priest Kangan, who was the third son of the Emperor Gotoba (1183-1198), is said to have founded this temple which was originally made up of 7 branch temples. The main idol of worship is the Sakamuni Buddha. In 1578 the temple's roof was reconstructed after fire .
‘ Houchizan Senpuku Temple (Jodoshin sect) Founded in the Tendai sect, this temple converted in 1472 to the Jodoshin sect. Tombstones in the temple's grounds date from the year 970.
THE MAJOR SHRINES OF TAKACHIHO
‘ Takachiho Shrine
Reference to the Takachiho Shrine in a publication (Sandaijitsuroku) dating from the year 858 indicates it is probably a typical shrine from this period. As the central shrine of the region, Takachiho Shrine represents the many smaller shrines once found in the surrounding area.
‘ Kushifuru Shrine
The Kojiki (Ancient Chronicles of Japan, dating from 712) contains references to Kushifuru. Until 1694, when the actual shrine was constructed, the entire Kushifuru mountain was seen as an object of worship.
‘ Amanoiwato Shrine
Amanoiwato Shrine deifies the sun goddess Amaterasu and is worshipped as the place where, according to legend, she hid herself away in a cave. The shrine is split by the Gokase River into the eastern and (outer) western shrines. Approximately 500m upstream from the shrine lies the Amanoyasukawara cave where according to legend the gods met to decide how to draw the sun goddess out of her cave.
TAKACHIHO'S STONE MONUMENTS
‘ Cultural Assets by the Roadside
(Buddhist images and other stone monuments)
Takachiho Yokagura is a festival in which the local deity is welcomed into a villager's home and 33 sacred shinto dances are performed. Yokagura is performed over the coldest months of the year and lasts from early evening until noon the next day. It is a festival to thank the gods for the year's harvest and a prayer for an abundant coming harvest.
Kagura, which is also known as Yodo, is the major calendar event of the region.
TAKACHIHO TRADITIONAL PUPPETRY
The exact period in which puppet shows appeared in Takachiho is unclear, but in 1785 an entry in the diary of the Iwato village headman contains the character which has the meaning puppet or marionette. Further, in surviving records from Yunokino (Kamino region), mention is made of a shamisen and a tattered costume. It may thus be inferred that the puppet tradition had been passed down in Takachiho from an earlier time.
‘ Yunokino Puppetry
In the Yunokino region the puppet performing tradition continues to this day.
In 1898, masks and costumes were acquired from Awa in Tokushima Prefecture which included early generation Tenguhisa masks. From this period, 39 masks and 3 costumes have been preserved.
‘ The Yushio Troupe
Due to a fire in the Yushio region of Kawachi in 1928, the items of this troupe were largely destroyed, however, a Tenguhisa mask and 14 other masks were somehow saved.
‘ The Naganouchi Troupe
The Naganouchi puppet troupe of the Iwato region dates from the early Meiji period (1867~) when masks and costumes were acquired from a visiting puppet troupe from Awa, Tokushima Prefecture. However, the group disbanded at the beginning of the Showa period (1926~) and today only 5 masks survive.
(intangible) CULTURAL ASSETS OF TAKACHIHO
‘ Kamino Usudaiko Dance
On the 24th of January (lunar calendar) at the Ryusen Temple in Kamino, the Jizou festival is celebrated. The beginnings of this festival come from a battle between the Shimatsu and Otomo clans at the Takajo River when Mitsumune Hirata of the Shimazu forces slung a taiko drum around his neck and performed a dance on the road. This dance is now performed as a prayer for abundant harvests and to protect against fire and water shortages.
‘ Pole Fighting
In the Edo period, samurai children and foot soldiers practiced pole fighting as a martial art for personal protection. Following this period it has come to be performed in procession as a performance to please the gods at Shinto festivals. The styles which have been preserved in Takachiho are the Toda, Shinkage and Taisha.
‘ Kyubei Bridge
The Kyuhei Bridge in Kamino was completed in March 1863. Of the stone bridges which remain from the Edo period, the Kyuhei along with the Takahashi and Dawatase bridges (also of Shimono) are said to be the oldest in the prefecture.
‘ Hakushu Kitahara Monument
The writer Hakushu was born in 1885 (18th year of the Meiji period) in Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture and came to Takachiho in 1942. Due to an eye disease, he was at this time blind. In November of the following year, at the age of 57, he passed away. Over 200 volumes of Hakushu's literary works survive to this day.
In 1949, to commemorate Hakushu's time in Takachiho, this monument was erected at Takachiho gorge by his supporters. The poem inscribed on this monument was composed after Hakushu's arrival in Takachiho and was a gift to his leading student Osamu Kimata.
TAKACHIHO LIFESTYLE OF DAYS GONE BY @
Until the beginning of the Meiji period, life in the Takachiho region was difficult. People were largely self sufficient, with the majority of clothing being made from hemp fibre, a special product of the area. Work clothing called kogin was representative of the region. Footwear consisted of straw sandals called ashinaka and hineritabi which were woven from hemp yarn.
Food was scarce. The staple diet of most people was corn mixed with such grains as millet and taro.
‘ Diet of the Meiji and Taisho Periods
05.00-06:00 Chanoko (corn rice; dumpling soup; potato; sweet potato)
08:00 Breakfast (corn rice; miso soup; pickled vegetables)
12:00 Lunch (remaining corn rice was eaten as grilled rice balls)
15:00-16:00 Kobiri (dumplings; potato; manju)
19:00-20:00 Dinner (wheat porridge; corn rice; dumpling soup)
22:00-23:00 Yonagari (dumpling; potato)
Houses were of a ridgepole construction which had thatched roofs completed with ornamental rafters which projected upwards.
A typical house was divided into a kitchen, living room, entertaining area and bed room. The ceiling was formed with long poles of bamboo and the ceiling space area used for storage. Yokagura was performed largely in the entertainment area but frequently took over the whole house and the garden.
THE DIALECTS OF TAKACHIHO
In the old Takachiho Village, the region known today as Nishiuski gun, both the Sangasho and Takachiho dialects were spoken. The Sangasho dialect was strongly influenced by the Higo (present day Kumamoto) and Chikugo (present day Fukuoka) language while the Takachiho dialect was close to that used in Bungo (present day Oita) and Hyuga (present day Miyazaki). Takachiho dialect is today used in most parts of the surrounding region. It is believed that this came about due to strong trading links from early times with such places as Nobeoka and Taketa.
In Oshikata and Mukoyama pronunciation differs slightly from that of other areas. Examples of the different vowel pronunciations are presented in the following table.
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WILD BOAR OFFERING FESTIVAL
THE TAKACHIHO MONUMENT
Kihachi the Frost God and the Wild Boar Offering
Legend tells the story of Emperor Jinmu's brother (Mikeirinomikoto) offering a wild boar to subdue Kihachi the Frost God. At the Takachiho Shrine on December 3 of the lunar calendar each year, an offering is made to console the spirit of Kihachi. This festival is offered as a Shinto prayer for an bountiful new crop.
On the alter of the shrine a wild boar is sacrificed, seven dancers including the Shinto priest then perform Sasafuri Kagura, a graceful and unique dance which is said to be Takachiho kagura in close to its original form.
‘ The Takachiho Monument
Located on a slightly elevated area on the southern side of Kushifuru Hill is the Takachiho Monument. This monument was erected in 1967 at the instigation of the late Tokujiro Kai, an honorary citizen of Takachiho.
Inscribed on the stone is a passage from the Hyuganokunifudoki (now lost writings) describing the descent of the gods to earth and a poem, Koka, taken from the Manyoshu, Japan's oldest anthology of poems.
New years day was referred to as Oudoshi. The first tasks of the new year were gathering of wood by the men and collection of water by the women. On the 7th of January, as an act to protect against evil spirits and also to drive away insects, half burned pieces of bamboo were pulled from the fire and banged against objects to give a loud bang sound. The flame from this fire was then taken and used to cook up a porridge using the seven herbs of spring.
On the 21st of March each year the so called Taishi festival is held at rest houses around Takachiho. The festival is celebrated with tea and festive red rice.
At Kusakari Bon, the beginning of the Bon festival, the Banba dance was performed. Then, in memory of those deceased welcoming their first Bon festival, the Nenbutsu, Gaku and Danshichi dances were performed at houses and graves .
As well as the Jugoya festival (an offering to the moon god ) and the chestnut festival, on the 10th of October (lunar calendar) wild boar dumplings were made and offered at the shrine alter.
From the month of November through to February, the local deities are welcomed into the homes of the townspeople and kagura is performed. During this festival the townspeople forget the cold and become one with the gods. Kagura is performed as an expression of thanks for the autumn harvest and also as a prayer for a bountiful new crop.
Takachiho Gorge was formed by the swiftly flowing water of the Gokase River. The lava which gushed from Mt. Aso in ancient times has gradually been eroded away to form a spectacular gorge with sheer cliffs and pillar shaped formations of 50-100m in height and some 2km in length. The rapids and deep water of the gorge are the basis for many local legends.
This Page is an illustrated record of the permanent display at the Takachiho
Community Center (History & Folklore Museum). It is hoped that international
visitors to the Takachiho Community Center find this Home@Page to be a
Editor - Shunsuke Ogata (Museum Curator)
English Translation - Anthony Scanlan (Ex-Coordinator for International Relations of Takachiho, )
Editing Assistant - Tomoaki Kurihara
Takachiho Board of Education © 2002, All Right Reserved.