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Goin’ Japanesque!

Innoshima Suigun Festival, Recreating Sengoku Period Naval Force

In modern Japan, you cannot usually find anyone who goes out wearing their armors. You probably can’t find such people in Europe and America either. However, some people overseas believe that there are samurai or ninja still existing in Japan.

Innoshima Suigun Festival, a festival recommended to foreign tourists who feel excitement towards Japan of the past, will be held in Hiroshima’s Innoshima on 3 days of June 26th, August 27th and August 29 of 2016.

 

Innoshima Suigun Festival

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Innoshima Suigun Festival is a festival that recreates the Murakami Suigun, a group of people who could be described as a local naval force or sea guard operated in current Hiroshima’s Innoshima from Nanbokucho Era to Sengoku Era (1336 – 1590). In this festival, people appreciate and honor the teachings from Innoshima’s ancestors and everything related to them, and cherish the peace.

 

3 Highlights of Festival

The thing to note about this festival is that it consists of three parts.

1. Island Festival

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The first phase of the festival is the Island Festival which is considered as the opening of the festival. This year, in 2016, it will be held on June 26th under the theme in which people wish for the successful festival and give appreciation to their ancestors. At the opening ceremony, about 40 warriors gather. All of their armors are handcrafted piece by piece. Each suit of armor is crafted by about 20 experienced craftsmen making it a high-quality armor. 

2. Fire Festival

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The second phase of the festival is the Fire Festival which will be held on August 27th. In the past, when Murakami Suigun would come back to Innoshima Island after triumphing in the battle, the drum of victory was beaten. People who were left in the island rejoiced the return of naval force and welcomed them while making sounds with things such as caldrons and dancing at the beach. The impressive sights of the “Innoshima Murakami Suigun Chorakumai Dance”, warriors pitching a camp at the torch-lit beach and the Kobaya corp’s entrance to the beach are the performances you would want see with your own eyes. The fireworks will go off at the end of the Fire Festival so you can’t take your eyes off until the very end of the festival. 

3. Sea Festival

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The Sea Festival, the third phase of the Innoshima Suigun Festival, will be held on August 28th, which is the next day of the Fire Festival. Fourteen oar pullers, one boatman and one drummer ride on the Kobaya, a wooden messenger ship of Murakami Suigun, and compete in the 1km course. There is boating experience offered on the Kobaya that day so if you want to do more than just watching, why not try it.

 

Hassakun

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Hassakun, Innoshima Island’s costumed mascot character, is working on the public relations campaigns for his local island, Innoshima Island. He of course takes part in heating up the Innoshima Suigun Festival as well as appears on the pinned buttons used in public relations campaigns. You can find him in various occasions.

 

Original Warrior Goods

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Warrior’s armor T-shirt

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Towel with suigun warrior illustration

Among all the official goods of Innoshima Suigun Festival, “Warrior’s armor T-shirt” and “Towel with suigun warrior illustration” are the items you would want to get your hand on. It’s also good to use them but they can also be used as interior goods. There are also other official goods available at the festival so make sure you look for them. Enjoy the time of samurai to your heart’s content.

Related: The Shimonoseki Strait Festival: Time Travel to the Edo Period!

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Azuki

About the author

Favorite genres are various aspects of Japanese otaku culture. Having been away from Japan for some time, there are many scenes where Azuki realizes the differences between international culture and Japanese culture. Through her own experience and knowledge, she hopes to deliver useful information to the international community who are interested in Japan.

View all articles by Azuki
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