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Field 2014

Culture tips, Field 2014, Field Journal, JST Video

Three Summer Matsuri in Aomori-ken

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Summer is the time for vacation, late nights and joyous festivals, and Aomori-ken is no exception! Summer matsuri are some of the most amazing event you can spot in the area, and they are full of colors, musics and singings, with a lot of delicious street food waiting just for you. Today, I would like to share with you three of the most fun matsuri I ever went: the Tanabata Matsuri in Misawa, the Hachinohe Sansha Matsuri and the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri

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Iyo-san the kamisama of the mountain
Anthropology, Field 2014, Field Journal

The kamisama of the mountain: Iyo-san

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The second kamisama I could meet was an older woman who lives with her daughters in the suburbs of Hirosaki. I visited her on August 4th, 2014 together with a new informant, Noriko, a very nice lady from the city who accepted to conduct me to the kamisama; with me, came a fellow researcher and Aya, the young interpreter from Misawa. Noriko led us to the kamisama’s house, a small building with a wide garage rearranged as a living room, to enjoy some fresh air in the hot summer days.

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Kimura-san, the kamisama of the north
Anthropology, Field 2014, Field Journal

The kamisama of the north: Kimura-san

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Tōhoku area witnessed the development of a different form of shamanism, characterized mainly by the fact that here we have sighted persons (in some case also male practitioners)  called kamisama カミサマ, kamisanカミサン, gomisoゴミソ, etc., who entered the profession through a completely different path and developed different skills and practices. Their number is still higher than that of the itako, and often their popularity is widespread. They usually become shaman as the result of a personal physical or mental trauma that led them to ascetic practice and eventually to the contact with the kami.

I could meet two very different professionals in Aomori-ken, Kimura Fujiko木村藤子 (in Mutsu-shi), a charming and interesting woman in her sixties, and Iyo san イヨさん (from Hirosaki area) an older woman in her eighties who faced a long training in the mountains. Here, I want to share with you my experience with Kimura-san.

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Meeting an itako Matsuda
Anthropology, Field 2014, Field Journal

Meeting an itako: Matsuda-san #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I could met Matsuda san a second time in the summer 2014, the 31st July after the Osorezan Taisai; since the Taisai is a very intense and demanding moment for the itako (Matsuda expecially had a great number of clients for all the four days of the taisai), when we called her to ask a new meeting, she asked to arrange it a few days after the festival, so that she could recover from the fatigue and she could perform a proper kuchiyose for me.

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Field 2014, Field Journal

Meeting an Itako: Aoyama-san

Reading Time: 7 minutes

After the first meeting with Nakamura-san, I knew I had to meet more itako in order to have a better understanding of their activity, their life and their world. Since today there are very few itako (probably not even ten) I had to patiently call the phone numbers I had, hoping some of these ladies would agree to meet with me. After a long search and some rejections, I could convince two of them to have an interview with me; one of them is Aoyama-san, an eighty-year-old lady living with her husband in Tsugaru.

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