Annual events

January Uncategorized

What is the meaning and origin of shishi-mai? Why does the shishi-mai bite your head?


  Shishi-mai (獅子舞) or lion dance is performed on various occasions such as New Year celebrations, festivals, and other celebrations, but probably not many of you know what is the meaning and origin of shishi-mai. Shishi-mai lions bite heads of a crowd around, and many kids start to cry in fear. Why does shishi-mai bite people on the head? Let’s find out the meaning and origin of shishi-mai  this time.   What is the meaning and origin of shishi-mai? The purpose of Shishi-mai is to drive away evil spirits, famines and plagues. Shishi-mai is thought to have been introduced from ...

December January Winter events

What is “kadomatsu”? When is the decorating period of the “kadomatsu”? How should it be done away with?


  Among the many new year decorations, there is the “kadomatsu”. As you prepare for the new year, there might be questions such as “when shall the kadomatsu be put out?” or “how should it been done away with?”. We hope our findings on the meaning, origin, how to put it out, and how to do away with the “kadomatsu” be helpful for your new year preparations.   What are the meanings and origins of the “kadomatsu”? “Kadomatsu” is one of the new year decorations made out of bamboo and pine. It is put in front of the house gate. ...

November Uncategorized

History and Origin of “Kotatsu” When Do We Get “Kotatsu” Out?


  When it gets cold, we miss kotatsu, don’t we?  (A kotatsu is a traditional Japanese table with an electric heater attached to the underside.) Many of you may have an experience of eating mandarin oranges in kotatsu and, there being so comfortable, lying down there for a while and falling asleep before realizing…… Not only human beings but also cats love kotatsu—as we sing in the lyrics of “Snow”, a famous Japanese nursery rhyme: “cats curl up in kotatsu”.  We should not get kotatsu out just because it has become cold; rather, there seems to be a day when ...

October November

What are the differences between kan’namesai and niinamesai? -Their Meanings and Origin-


Among the imperial court rituals performed in autumn (rituals performed by the Emperor, who is at the center of Shinto rituals, to pray for the peace, security, and prosperity of the nation and people and enshrine spirits and ancestors) are the festivals called kan’namesai and niinamesai.   Kan’namesai is also called “kan’namenomatsuri (kan’name festival)” or “kan’nienomatsuri (kan’nie festival)”. Niinamesai is also called “shinjosai” or “niinamenomatsuri (niiname festival)”. What are each of these two festivals that are extremely similar in appearance when written?  Are there any connection and differences between them? This time, we would like to take a look at ...

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