Source: Memoirs of a Gaijin
As humans, we are social by nature. Be it with family, friends, or fellow fanatics, we are wont to gather in mutual celebration or commiseration, and this may take many forms. Perhaps we gather to watch opposing sports teams battle over a piece of pigskin, or maybe we assemble with all the other Avengers to see the newest Marvel movie, or even just convene to cook food in each other’s company.
There is an innumerable amount of ways for us to come together, but the commonality in each of these things is how they create a community for the attendees. Highs and lows of the events are shared by the guests, bringing them all closer together, and it is this creation of a community that makes the Japanese Matsuri truly remarkable.
Matsuri are celebrated all over Japan at all times of the year, and the occasions range from the commencement of the next season to religious ceremonies to simple communal parties. Invariably, each event carries with it a communal atmosphere, one which is extended to all visitors, and it does not stop once the matsuri has concluded. Instead, it persists on in the memories it creates, the traditions it preserves, and the anticipation it sows for future matsuri.
A community makes the matsuri and the matsuri makes the community in turn.
Immortal Memory in Matsuri
Japan is the most homogeneous nation on the planet, and a hallmark of it homogeneity is just how static its culture has remained despite its rapid modernization. Cash is still used extensively, many businesses still run within small families, and a myriad of festivals are still held throughout the country across the year. And by looking deeper into the history of matsuri, we can better understand how the memories and legacies of matsuri continue to inform …continue reading