Blessed man
The Saidai-ji Eyo festival, considered one of the three strangest festivals of Japan, is a Buddhist ritual in which 9000 men compete to grab just a pair of sacred wooden sticks to decide who will be the "Blessed man" for the year. A blessed man is one to whom the gods and Buddhas have brought good fortune, and it is believed that those who are awarded the sacred sticks receive them because of their deep piety. Naturally, these blessed man gain attention from others, and enjoy enough popularity to completely change their daily lives. Therefore, what is tested of each blessed man is his dignity and character. He must not let his abundant luck ruin his spirit, and must bear the task of returning the luck bestowed upon him by the gods and Buddhas back to the people. The over 500 year-old tradition of Eyo is based on an underlying understanding of the state of human life, greater than the ideals and trends of a single generation, and this idea has been cherished and passed down through the centuries.

Purification Ceremony

Meoto-iwa (The Married Couple Rocks) in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, Japan has been known since ancient times as a place of pure sands and has been respected as a purification beach which cleans the mind and body. On the day of the summer solstice, when the sun's energy is most abundant, there was a "midsummer festival" where people purified themselves while bathing in the morning sun as it rose between the rocks of Meoto-iwa. Even today, on the summer solstice, many men and women from all over the country enter the ocean as the sun rises and purify themselves.

 © 2023 by Yosuke Kashiwakura

  • Yosuke Kashiwakura