Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Archery festival as an offering for peace

The Fujisaki Hachiman Shrine in Kumamoto City, Japan, recently held its Izarisai, an archery festival held every year at this time as an offering for peace and bountiful crops in the new year.

In the festival, a total of eight archers shoot two arrows each. The more bull's-eyes they get, the better everyone's luck will be that year, supposedly, so you can bet these archers practice seriously in the weeks leading up to the festival.

The Izarisai is said to trace its roots back to a celebration of the driving off, in the year 935, of the rebel general Taira no Masakado, who tried (unsuccessfully) to launch an uprising against the state. (See a picture of his grave here.)

—Mellow Monk

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