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Yamhoko parade 2020 canceled in Gion Matsuri

THE GIST OF THIS ARTICLE

The following is the contents of this article.

 

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Overview

On 20 April, Yasaka shrine announced that Yamahoko parade 2020 and Yoiyama was canceled due to COVID-19. In early June, it will decide whether Yamahoko-building takes place or not.

たけちよ
たけちよ

IF you were interested in Gion matsuri, check the link below, BAAH!!

Gion Matsuri Festival
Articles on the reason why Gion Matusri is cerebrated, Mikoshi, Yamahoko Parade, Schedule, and others
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What is Yamahoko/Yamaboko parade?

Overview

In Yamaboko/Yamahoko parades, Yamahoko floats stroll in the down town of Kyoto on 17(Sakimatsuri) and 24(Atomatsuri) July.

Yamahoko or Yamaboko, both pronunciations are available. Yamaboko means Hoko, Yama, and Yatai. (I’ll show you examples later.) We have 8 Hoko and their names have the word “鉾” like a suffix ; Naginata 鉾, Tsuki 鉾, and so on. “鉾” is pronounced as “Hoko,” if it appeared alone. On the other hand, when it is put after a word, it can be pronounced as “Hoko,” or “Boko.” There is a common rule the way to pronounce the letter in Japanese language but there is a local rule about Yamahoko float: It depends on a district which each Yamahoko belong. As you can imagine, it leads us confusion. So, when Yamaboko was designated as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, it was decided that 鉾 was to be pronounced as “Hoko.” To avoid the confusion, I’ll use “Hoko” later in this article though I say “Naginata boko,” or “Tsuki boko” in colloquial way.

Yamahoko floats are sometimes referred as “Mobile Museum” but it is a byproduct. They play roles of “Yorishiro.” Yorishiro is an object to which Deities descend to. To them, “Ekishin” Deities descend. Ekishin is a Deity who bring us malady. Ancient Kyoto often suffered epidemic and people thought Ekishin caused them. They asked the Deity of Yasaka shrine (It was called Gion Kanjin in those days.) to put them down. This is a purpose of Gion Matsuri (It was called Gion Goroye in those days.) still exists today.

七里ヶ浜親方
七里ヶ浜親方

Yamhoko floats are Yorishiro. The Deities of Yasaka shrine come to a downtown of Kyoto on Mikoshi to put down Ekishin Yamabok floats gathered. THIS IS GION MATSURI. Check the link below!

Why is Gion matsuri celebrated?
Gion matsuri has changed in many ways but its aim reminds the same for 1150 years. In this article, you can learn the exact reason why Gion matsuri is celebrated.

Yamahoko  parade takes place 2 times: In Sakimatrusi and Atomatsuri. There are 23 floats in Sakimatsuri and 11 floats in Atomatsuri. Their turns in the parade are decided by lot but the turns of some floats like Naginata hoko are fixed.

In Sakimatsuri, each float depart Kaisho (a kind of headwaters of it) and gets on Shijo street and comes back to Kaisyo by way of Shijo Kawaramach, Kawaramachi Oike, and Shijo Karasuma. Atomatsuri is vice versa.

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How does the parade go on?

General info.

In this chapter, we’ll see interesting events in the parade.

Kuji Aratameくじ改め

シカさん
シカさん

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As I referred in the previous chapter, the turns Yamahoko in the parade depends on lot except some examption. A check point at Shijo Sakaimachi crossing, a kind of delegate of Yamahoko shows a lot it drew. The lot is in a box folded with strings. The delegate unfold the strings with his folded Sensu, a traditional fun. Bugyo (Mayer of Kyoto city) makes sure that the hoko is in an appropriate turn. With his permission, Yamahoko pass the check point. This custom started in 1500 for the purpose of the fairness Yamahoko engaged in the parade.

Cutting off “Shimenawa” しめ縄切り

祇園祭2016 長刀鉾 生稚児 注連縄切り

At Shijo Fuyacho, there are two bamboos. The tips of them are connected with Shimenawa rope. This rope tells the secular world and the sacred one. Ikichigo on Naginatahoko cut the rope off and Naginatahoko enters the sacred world and Yamahoko parade begins. (In the video, around 6:00, he cuts off the rope.)

Ikichogo perfoms “Chigomai” dance performance.

Tsuji Mawashi 辻回し

【祇園祭2017】長刀鉾の辻回し@四条河原町

Yamahok floats turn around at least three times en route. The turning around of them is called “Tsuji Mawashi (To make floats turned around at crossing).” Hoko, Hikiyama and Yatai have four wheels but have no staring wheels. People tow them put slivered bamboo under the wheels and spray water over them as lubricant and pull the ropes to make Yamahoko turned.

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