The festival is more interesting if you learn “軕 (Yama)”. / Interview with Mr. Asano interview ②

This year’s Ogaki Festival is getting closer. The opening date of 2018 is May 12 (Sat) and 13 (Sun).

The Ogaki festival was designated as an important intangible cultural asset of the country in 2015 and in the following 2016 it was registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. It was an inconspicuous existence as a local festival so far, but it became a festival of the world fame.

Ogaki is said to be the capital of water, a beautiful river flows, and water is blooming everywhere. It is exciting just by imagining how a splendid 軕 kneads in the green young leaves of early summer.

Mr. Asano was born in Ogaki, brought up in Ogaki, and served as a reconstruction chairperson when rebuilding Aioi.

In recent years he have published a book “The Folklore of the Local Culture I Want to Talk About” Ogaki Festival, so to speak, it is a specialist of the Ogaki Festival.

The second half talked about the biggest sight of the festival “軕” Yama.


– Please tell me about the origin of “Yama” which is the point of the Ogaki Festival.

It is said that when the Ogaki Hachiman Shrine was rebuilt by Toda in 1648, it was the first time that Yama appeared in the Ogaki Festival. It was not a gorgeous thing like present Yama, it was called a “Kuruma watarimono”. For example, “Ishibikiyama” which is one of the Kuruma watarimono was the stone truck carrying the stone at the time of expansion of Ogaki Castle.



There are “Sanryo Yama”and Yama in each of the 10 towns, but what are the differences?

There are “Sanryo Yama” and “Hon Yama” in the Ogaki Festival. Sanryo Yama are “Kagura Yama”, “Daikoku Yama” and “Ebisu Yama”. These are gifts brought by Ogaki lord. Sanryo Yama are small and naive making, the side curtain is red, yellow, and green. The costumes of the townspeople are stylish with a Yukata, white socks on snow cloak, and Sugekasa on shoulder. Ten city is divided into Kagura group, Daikoku group, Ebisu group.

Hon Yama is in each town, has a decorative shape, it is taller than Sanryo Yama. There are Mechanical dolls in some Yama.

The fact that there are not so many examples in Japan that the lords’ Yama and the citizens’ Yama exist at the same time designated the reason for the important intangible folk cultural property of the country.


I heard that there are various kinds of performances, please tell us about the distinctive things.

Kagura Yama’s performance is “Yutate Shinji” and the birthplace of it is Toyama Village in Nagano Prefecture.
Here, every November, each shrine carries out “Yutate Shinji”, which is called “Shimotsuki Festival”.

It is said that God gather from all over the country at this Shimotsuki Festival and drink hot water boiled in spring of Toyama village, and it takes injury.
In ”Spirited Away” that the film of Ghibli, Okusare is soaked in the hot springs of Toyama village and spit out filths. I heard that the Shimotsuki Festival is the model.
Mechanical dolls of Kagura Yama also spray hot water for driving away misfortune and illness.




– I see. It is interesting! Is the way to show Yama changed so far?

That’s right. In the past, the lights of the lanterns were candles.
When they turned the Yama, the lanterns burned, so they could not turn Yama.Now it turns into a light bulb from a candle and there is no worry of fire.





– Mr. Asano, you were also the executive chairman of the rebuilding of Aioi. Please tell us your hard work.

Seven Yamas of the Ogaki Festival were burned down in the war damage of 1945. Aioi is also one of the burned Yama. Aioi has been rebuilt as Shiraki ‘s Yama for the first time in 51 years in 2006. Afterwards, in 2009 Yama was painted in lacquer, attached metal fittings, etc and in 2012 it was completed.
Speaking of hardships, the construction of reconstruction funds was also difficult, and also it was hard to persuade to the people the necessity of rebuilding.. In addition, there is no one who knows the auspicious accompaniment, lacquer, sculpture, metal fittings made before the war. A clue is just a small monochrome picture. A clue was just a small monochrome picture. I was in great trouble collecting materials. In the meantime I did not get a household work, I was immersed in Yama. However, as everyone is pleased with the completion now, it is a pleasant memory.


– Thus, the Ogaki Festival has continued for more than 370 years only because of the efforts of citizens. I was looking forward to the festival. Ms. Asano, thank you for your precious story!