Thursday, July 15, 2010

All the Fun of a Parade in One Box

At this year's Cool Japan Festival, guests can look forward to visiting the mikoshi, a portable Shinto shrine carried around during celebrations. These shrines are always extremely elaborate and awe-inspiring, often having Phoenix carvings along it, and sometimes are lined with gold plating and jewels. Mikoshi are the equivalents of parade floats in the West, except they are always carried by volunteers and meant to show the spirit of the festival through the more people that have to carry the shrine.

In some regions of Japan, such as Matsuyama, the Mikoshi Festival involves a battle between two or more mikoshi-bearing teams. This is a king-of-the-hill type event that gets very aggressive when the teams duel by first taunting each other then charging and smashing their mikoshi into each other. The massive number of spectators that gather to watch are always at risk for being injured. Apparently it's not uncommon for people to die from being trampled on at this event each year, but people love it because of this very danger!

But we guarantee everyone's safety at the Cool Japan Festival, since our mikoshi will be for display purposes only. Come and check it out. Take pictures of it. After all, how often do you see a mikoshi anyway?