On January 15, 2012, Shinzan shrine naked pilgrimage festival （新山神社裸まいり : shinzan jinja hadaka mairi ） was held in Yurihonjo city （由利本荘市）of Akita prefecture（秋田県）, Northern Honshu, Japan.
Shinzan ya yukino sando rasha noboru
climb the snowy approach –
Shinzan shrine Hidenori
Manisha Kundu-Nagata says in her blog Life with hubby as follows.
The Hadaka Mairi (pilgrimage) Matsuri is a winter festival where naked men brave the cold and snow and proceed to a rather distant Shinzan shrine. The naked men carry offerings to the shrine by walking through the snow. There are different opinions and sayings regarding the origin of the Hadaka Mairi Matsuri. One of the stories is that shugensha monks protected the Shinzan shrine by walking naked as a form of ascetic training and practice. Shugendo is an ancient Japanese religion in which enlightenment or oneness with god is obtained through the study of the relationship between man and nature. It is centered on an ascetic, mountain-dwelling lifestyle and incorporates teachings from koshinto, buddhism, and other eastern philosophies including folk animism. Monks following shugendo religion are known as shugensha. The monks prayed for the toughness of body, the safety of homes, the happiness of the families, and bumper crops in the fields. Every year the monks went to the shrine to display in front of the god the results of their training, practice, and the growth of their mind and body.
You will get familiar with the festival through the following blog.
Lastly, let me post haiku and photos by Corinne Kinvig, Sabrina Ketcherside, and Charlotte Regnier, who studied about haiku and learned to write haiku at the class by Alexander Dolin, PhD, Professor of Japanese Literature and Civilization Studies at Akita International University（国際教養大学）.
Corinne Kinvig contributed the works of haiku and photos to us in November, 2011.
Sabrina Ketcherside also contributed the works of haiku to us in November, 2011.
Charlotte Regnier also contributed the works of haiku to us in November, 2011.
The next posting ‘For New Year 2012 (5)’ appears on February 4.
― Hidenori Hiruta
On August 1, 1689, Basho visited Kisakata （象潟）, Akita Prefecture （秋田県）, Northern Honshu, on his journey.
Basho wrote about Kisakata in his travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』 .
Here I take up the latter part of this section.
Here is a painting of Kisakata exhibited at the Kanmanji Temple.
Photo courtesy; as per original copyright at:
Donald Keene translated this part into English as follows:
Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, I rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water. To the west, one can see as far as Muyamuya Barrier; to the east, the road over the embankment leads to Akita in the distance. The sea is to the north. The place where the waves of the sea break into the lagoon is called Tide-Crossing. Kisakata is about two miles in either direction.
Kisakata resembles Matsushima, but there is a difference. Matsushima seems to be smiling, but Kisakata wears a look of grief. There is a sadness mingled with the silent calm, a configuration to trouble the soul.
Basho’s last lines say that there is something woeful about Kisakata.
I wonder if Basho predicted that such a natural disaster as earthquake might occur in Kisakata in the future.
In fact, on July 10, 1804, a big earthquake occurred in Kisakata about 105 years after Basho’s visit there. The earthquake caused upheaval of ground by 2.4 meters. As a result, the lagoons were changed into dry land.
Here is a photo of the backyard of the Kanmanji Temple in Kisakata, 321 years after Basho’s visit.
Koji Otomo, curator at Shoji Taro Memorial Museum in Akita-city, contributed his poems on the earth to our network.
春愁 無情 Spring Woe No Mercy
大地 ゆらぐ日 On the day when the earth quakes
海 怒りて the sea gets furious
慟哭 cries bitterly
三陸の海を the Sanriku coast
引き裂く tears into pieces
花 待つことなく Flowers wait for no man
人 逝く those there pass away
波に 消える vanish into waves
世界に ただひとつ The only nation in the world
被爆の国 ニッポン the atom-bombed nation, Japan
その空に in the skies
白い光の 恐怖 the terrors of white rays
六十有余年 A little more than 60 years
問われる 政治 what has politics done?
問われる いのち what is life?
喪われた こころ lost hearts
どうして for what reason?
繰り返すことばは the repeated words
がれきに 吸い込まれ are absorbed into rubbles
沈黙（しじま） 空しく silence is empty
潰滅の地に In the annihilated areas
おののきばかり there remain nothing but shivers
人 ただ侘（た）つ those there have only to mourn
ふるさとの こころに In the heart of home
槌音 響くは hammering sounds will resound
いつの日か when is it?
Here is a photo of the ruined fortress （払田柵）in Akita Prefecture（秋田県）, constructed in the Heian period（平安時代）(794-1185).
Haikuists in Akita contributed haiku to our network.
They are members of the haiku group: Ten’I (Providence)（天為俳句会）led by Dr. Akito Arima（主宰 有馬朗人）.
余震なほ朔太郎忌の星月夜 伊藤沐雨 (Mokuu Ito)
on the starlit night
燭台に朱のろうそくや余震来る 伊藤智子 (Satoko Ito)
on the candlestick
vermeil candles burning
the aftershock comes
大津波退きオリオンの煌めける 伊藤慶子 (Keiko Ito)
huge tsunami gone out
大地震の果てなる春の浅きかな 五十嵐義知 (Yoshitomo Igarashi)
great earthquake over
なにもかも攫はれし地に黄水仙 笹尾巳生子 (Mioko Sasao)
in the waste land
鎮魂の瓦礫の町に春の雪 進藤八重子 (Yaeko Shindo)
the towns of devastation
奥入瀬の激しき調べ春の霜 鈴木東亜子 (Toako Suzuki)
of the Oirase River
浴槽の揺れの余震や春寒 寺田恵子 (Keiko Terata)
of bathtub shaking
被災地につくしたんぽぽなずなかな 山内誠子 (Seiko Yamanouchi)
for the devastated areas ―
field horsetail’s shoots,
dandelions, and shepherd’s purses
囀に小さな森の膨らめり 和田仁 (Jin Wada)
the small woods seem
bigger and bigger
Here is a photo of daffodils and local springwater (郷清水) in Akita Prefecture.
Hiroko Kawashiri （川尻弘子） in Akita contributed haiku too.
the earthquake over
too heavy for the canal
the pale moon ―
i feel like…
someone is calling
Last of all, let me post my haiku.
over the ruined fortress
The next posting ‘Haiku about the Great East Japan Earthquake (5)’ appears on May 28.
― Hidenori Hiruta
First of all, I present you the following haiku I wrote when I visited 角館（かくのだて）(Kakunodate), Akita.
stands in beauty
Sakurabana Hyakusui no hi o kazari keri
This is a monument inscribed with two tanka poems written by平福百穂（ひらふく ひゃくすい）(Hirafuku Hyakusui)(1877 – 1933), who was a Japanese-style painter as well as a tanka poet. He was born and brought up in 角館 (Kakunodate) , which is famous for the birthplace of 小田野直武 （おだの なおたけ）(Odano Naotake)(1750 – 1780), one of the greatest painters of Akita ranga (秋田蘭画) , also known as the Akita-ha (秋田派).
平福百穂 (Hirafuku Hyakusui) was greatly influenced by Akita ranga (秋田蘭画) and earnestly tried to introduce and spread its style, in which the Akita painters for the most part painted traditional Japanese themes and compositions using Western-style techniques and an approximation of oil paints.
The monument for Hyakusui’s tanka poems was erected in 角館 (Kakunodate) on September 9, 1944, with the two following tanka poems inscribed with.
Seeing the current of the river moved in different sites,
I realize what many years have passed since I left hometown.
How lucky I have felt to be in such a bright spring of the Tohoku district,
where trees have just begun to bud all at once, giving nice smells!
Secondly, I present some of my haiku I wrote when I visited 男鹿半島(Ogahantou), or
the Oga Peninsula in English.
down the coastline
through the islands
the Oga Peninsula
into cobalt blue water
the Oga Isles
Thirdly, I present some haiku about summer.
staring the cool
someone sits in shade
from the pond
Hiroshima no more
Lastly, I present the latest haiku from my own blog: http://akitahaiku.blogspot.com/.
cools the air
bathes in the water
The next posting ‘Haiku by Brian McSherry in Japan (2) appears on July 24.
― Hidenori Hiruta
On August 26, I visited 象潟(Kisakata), 秋田(Akita) and took some pictures of the spots referred to in『奥の細道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku’ .
I also wrote some haiku there. I’d like to post some pictures and haiku.
松尾芭蕉( Matsuo Basho )(1644-1694) arrived at Kisakata on the evening of August 1, 1689, when a misty rain started to fall, obscuring Chokai Mountain.
The next morning the weather cleared beautifully. When the morning sun rose in all its splendor, Basho and his party took a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata. They put in first 能因島 (Nohin jima), Nohin Island, where they called at the remains of the hut in which 能因(Nohin)(988-?), a waka poet, lived in seclusion for three years.
Here are the photos of Nohin Island.
My haiku is this:
(Nohin jima nebu no hana yuki roh shoh ju)
mimosa blossoms gone
old pine trees
After that, Basho and his party left for the opposite shore, where they landed from their boat, and they saw the cherry tree that stands as a memento of 西行法師(Saigyo hoshi)(1118-1190), Saigyo, who wrote of it in 1174:
Kisakata no sakura wa nami ni uzumorete hana no ue kogu ama no tsuribune
A cherry tree is covered
At times by the waves;
Fishermen must row their boats
Above the cherry blossoms.
Translated by Donald Keene
Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which is now called 虫甘満寺(Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple.
Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, Basho rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water.
Now there is the stone for tying the boat with a rope (舟つなぎの石)(fune tsunagi no ishi) found behind the temple, where Basho and his party landed, tying their boat.
And we can see Mt. Chokai from there.
Here is a photo of the boat-tying stone and Mt. Chokai.
By the way, I’d like to show you a photo of Mt. Chokai, taken at the countryside of Kisakata.
There I wrote the following haiku:
(haku un no Chokaisan ni tonbo tobu)
rising in white clouds
Here I’d like to tell you about the origin of the name ‘Mt. Chokai’.
Kanji characters, 鳥(tori), bird , 海(umi), sea , and 山(yama), mountain, are used for that name in Japanese. This means that the mountain was filled with birds and had a wonderful view of the sea.
Here is a photo of the sea taken from the slope in Kisakata, which leads to the foot of Mt. Chokai.
There I also wrote the following haiku:
(hatsu obana umi no kanata ni shima hitotsu)
Fresh pampas grasses
facing the horizon
― Hidenori Hiruta