Celebrating Ryo-chan’s Shichigosan in Tenkawa

New York, N.Y. God of performing arts, Tenkawa Shrine Celebrating Ryo-chan’s Shichigosan in Tenkawa

My grandDAUGHTER was 3 years old on July 15th, so I went to Japan for 753 on June 9th. I was asked to do TRADITIONAL CEREMONY FOR HER for the Tenkawa Shrine in Nara, which I am always taking care of.

Tenkawa Shrine is a shrine in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, and the official name is “Tenkawa Daibenza Tensha”. You may be aware that many of you may know that singers and talents worship as places where the god of performing arts is enshrined. The main deity of the Tenkawa Shrine is Benten-sama, and Benten-sama is a god who has long been known as a god of performing arts.

When we say entertainment, it doesn’t mean what people in the entertainment industry are doing on TV now, but in the past, “entertainment” meant art such as Noh. Since THE NOH SCHOOL Kanze was the people of the Southern Dynasties, I made a lot of famous Noh songs in Kanagawa by the hands of Kanami and Zeami’s father and son, and CREATED AND dedicated to the Emperor.

And there was a sad history that was passed down to Sado. SADO ISLAND Thanks to that, the Tenkawa Shrine WAS THE BIRTHPLACE OF NOH AND THEREFORE still holds more than 30 items of great cultural value, such as Noh masks and costumes, which are important to know the history of Noh.

Even now, there are four dedications of THE HEAD KLAN Iemoto’s Noh plays in January, April, July, and November. Noh is a traditional Japanese art, an important intangible cultural property, and is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

My grandAUGHTER, who was born and raised in the United States, also wore a kimono, because She was 753  SPECIAL AGE at Tenkawa Shrine. First of all, I give a congratulatory message to God and offer a tamakushi to express my gratitude for being able to live safely until the age of three.

WE ALL bowed twice and bowed my hands, AND it was really cute. Ryo-chan also participated in the ritual magically. By the way, do you know the origin and meaning of Shichigosan? It seems that from the Heian era, it was an event that was the origin of Shichigosan. Until the age of three, the girl had shaved her hair and started to grow at the age of three. This ritual is called the “hair resting ceremony.”

It seems that the boy had a ritual of wearing a hakama for the first time at the age of five. It changed in the Kamakura era and it became a ritual to tie kimonos with obis instead of strings, and it still made sense for the Japanese to still wear their first kimono or hakama at “753.” (SHICHIGOSAN). I knew that.

The shape close to the present seventy-five-three was completed in the Edo era, NOT MANY WARS and many of the events that we Japanese people still do today were completed in the Edo era, but unlike the previous eras Perhaps the samurai, wealthy merchants, and shogunate could afford to spend money and time on ceremonies because they did not do so often. CULTURE CONSIOLIDATED. SPENT A LOT OF MONEY ON CEREMONIES AND RITUALS

Speaking of Shichigosan, it’s Chitose candy. It is said that the stick-shaped candy dyed in red and white, which is made in hope of longevity, started around the Edo period, although there are various theories.

It is said that it is a good idea to put as many candy in the bag as there are ages, but hesitating to give 5 or 7 candies of that size to children. (Lol)

The Tenkawa Shrine is located in the deep deep forest of Yoshino, and you can get up and down by walking through it and heading to the ritual venue. I was deeply impressed by the fact that my grandson, who will soon be 3 years old, walks with his own feet through the thick trees that I wonder if the trees have been watching over this area for hundreds of years.

Going through the red torii, crossing the round bridge, and climbing the stone stairs all the way, there are many gods in the middle of the temple called Goshaden, but it has fallen from heaven here.

There is a meteorite (a stone that does not exist on the earth). After that, there is another staircase, and when you go up it, you will finally reach the main hall. There are two Tenkawa “Isuzu” (BELLS) and they are tied with a thick rope. There is a staircase on top of it, and there is a place where you can give a congratulatory message to talk with God, and the BEHIND is Noh THEATER.

We will offer a dedication next to the Kagura and Ototsuki drums.When I was a daughter, I went to Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto with my parents, and there were still a lot of photos at that time, so I remembered various things.

Because I live in NY, I am very happy to have the opportunity to celebrate the growth of my grandchildren in such a Japanese way. I am grateful to the priest and everyone at the Tenkawa Shrine for taking care of me.

(Next issue will be July 27 issue)

Originally published as Vol. 3 in Weekly Biz, July 20, 2019; translated by Jim Luce.

See: Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura Column in Japan’s Weekly Biz



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About Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura

View all posts by Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko was born into a distinguished old family in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated from Toho conservatory of Music in Tokyo. In 1961 she came to U.S. as a pianist sponsored by the Boston Symphony. She studied at Boston University, New York University, and received her Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from New York State University and the International Academy of Education in Tokyo. From 1968 to 1992, she promoted cultural exchanges from East to West and vice versa, and became a world famous impresario, producing 2,000 events each year all over the world encompassing over 140 countries. In this connection, in 1972, she went to Dharamsala to find the lost Tibetan Folk Opera, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she remains a lifelong friend. In 1973 and 1991 she arranged and funded personally the tours of the Folk Opera of Tibet to the West. She has received many medals and honors from different countries. Her tireless life long work in Philanthropic field is vast and well known ranging from Save the Beacon Theater, Save the Boat People, Help the Homeless, natural disasters of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as relief to AIDS and HIV positive children in Africa. She has been a dedicated Board Member to both the J. Luce Foundation and Orphans International for years. Her work focuses on the Tibetan people; Tibetan children remain especially strong in her heart. She raised fund for the new academic building for Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, India and supported many aspects of the school. See HuffPo pieces entitled Japanese Holistic Healer in NYC to Build School for Tibetan Orphans in India, A Japanese Dinner with Raul Castro’s Daughter, and NYC Gala in Support of Tibetan Orphans Set for January.

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