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A stirring display of fireworks can be seen in the evenings during the Toyohashi Gion Festival in July. Praying for a bountiful harvest, good health, and good fortune, residents of the eight neighborhoods under the protection of Yoshida Shrine stage this display as an offering to the shrine's deity. There are hand-held fireworks shot from a bamboo tube about a meter long with an inside diameter of some 12 centimeters. The tubes, which are wrapped in rough rope to prevent slipping, are held in an upright position and lit. Blazing red pillars of sparks spout high into the sky, 8 to 10 meters on a windless night, and come raining back down like a waterfall. Their hot ashes bathe the tube holders, who remain completely motionless during the 30 seconds or so that the gunpowder burns. The stoicism of the young tube holders calls to mind the mountain ascetic. These hand-held fireworks displays are said to have begun during the Warring States period (1467-1568). Providing young men with an opportunity to show their mettle, they served as a rite of passage to adulthood. The time-honored methods used to manufacture fireworks and to stage these displays have been passed down over the generations. The spectacle of youths being bathed in hot ashes can be seen not just in Toyohashi but also in a number of other communities in eastern Mikawa.

 


Aichi Prefecture is located roughly in the middle of the Japanese archipelago and is the nation's top industrial prefecture, being the home of Toyota Motor Corp. and other leading-edge manufacturers. It also has a rich history and cultural tradition that continue to enrich the lives of residents today. A number of large-scale projects are planned to lead the prefecture into the twenty-first century, including the 2005 World Exposition and a new international airport.

AICHI VOICE is a colorful English-language publication issued by the Aichi International Association, a nonprofit organization established by the Aichi Prefectural Government, to introduce Aichi's proud traditions and latest trends to a worldwide audience.

This Website contains the magazine's contents in electronic form to give everyone with Internet access a chance to learn more about our prefecture.

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To be updated in November 2001
All Rights Reserved Copyright 1998 Aichi International Association

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