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80122-0014 - Rural Houses near Nara, Japan , 1934

Nara 1934
Rural Houses

Artist Unknown
Publisher New York State Education Department
Medium Glass Slide
Period Showa
Location Nara
Image No. 80122-0014
Purchase Digital File
Author

Typical rural houses near Nara. It is late April or early May as can be seen from the Koinobori streamers fluttering in the wind in celebration of Boys’ Day on May 5.

The day is still popular and many a Japanese has nice childhood memories of singing songs like the following:

屋根より高い鯉幟
大きな真鯉はお父さん
小さな緋鯉は子供たち
面白そうに泳いでる

Higher than the roof-tops are the koinobori
The large Black Carp is the father
The smaller Golden Carp are the children
They seem to be having fun swimming

70412-3414 - Koinobori streamer with painting of Kintaro
Artwork of Kintaro on a Koinobori streamer.

Often koinobori contained a drawing of the mythical folk hero Kintaro. The carp symbolized endurance, while Kintaro was a child of superhuman strength and courage. So his image was used in the hope that the sons of the house would become equally brave and strong.

Kintaro’s story is believed to have been based on the life of a warrior called Sakata no Kintoki (坂田公時) who lived during the Heian Period (794-1185). There is a shrine, called Kintoki Shrine (公時神社 or 金時神社), dedicated to Kintaro at the foot of Hakone‘s Mt. Kintoki.

Boys’ Day was originally known as Tango no sekku (端午の節句). It was one of five annual ceremonies that were held at the Japanese imperial court. The name was changed to Children’s Day in 1948 (Showa 23) to include both male and female children.

This glass slide is one of a series of slides of Japan that was used by the New York State Education Department to teach students about Japan.

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Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). Nara 1934: Rural Houses, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on September 28, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/455/rural-houses

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