Japan Video Topics 2015-10 (DVD)

Kiriko - Lantern Festivals of Noto

The Noto Peninsula, famed for its World Heritage farming traditions, holds numerous autumn festivals featuring giant paper lanterns called kiriko. These go back over 300 years, and each town has its own distinctive style. There’s a very local feel to this living tradition, which draws many people back to their hometowns for an annual visit to family and friends. The huge lanterns are carried in procession, surrounding the neighborhood mikoshi portable shrine on its parade through town to pray for a good harvest and a safe and prosperous year.

 

Haiku - The World’s Shortest Poem

The haiku is a form of Japanese poem consisting of 17 syllables arranged in lines of 5, 7 and 5. These tiny, subtle poetic gems provide extremely condensed insights into the beauty to be found in nature. Even today, 400 years after its invention, there are over five million Japanese enthusiasts creating poems in this form. And now the haiku has begun capturing imaginations overseas too, as shown by a recent international event where haiku poets recited their work in over 30 languages. We explore the global appeal of the world’s shortest poem.

 

Stamps and Seals - For Business and Fun

In Japan, instead of signing your name, stamping an impression of it from your personal engraved seal has long been the traditional method for authorizing contracts, signing for parcel deliveries, or certifying bank documents. A recent twist on this custom, so deeply embedded in daily life for the Japanese, is the stamp rally. In this pastime that’s become popular with young and old alike, people visit specified sites or monuments around the country to fill a book with impressions from their unique and attractively designed rubber stamps.

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