I sat for a while listening to a No[h] play; [ . . . ] extraordinarily slow, belching, hideous declamation and arioso, both solo and chorus, the very antithesis of the delicacy & poignancy of the text: like Papal Bulls and Papal Pigs roaring, squealing & grunting: and very beautiful snatches of a mad-scene flute; and those wooden hammers urging it on. It is almost unassimilable, would be quite, if it had not an authority of extreme technique & tradition.
The Diaries of Sylvia Townsend Warner, page 274 (entry for July 5th, 1961).
A shikishi is a squarish board of stiff white paper typically used as a vehicle for ink painting and calligraphy. A work of art created on shikishi can also be called shikishi, the same way an oil painting gets called a canvas. The shikishi format has been in use since the 12th century and is still going strong. Owing to its handiness for both drawing and writing with ink, shikishi is popular at meet-the-mangaka events today. The shikishi below was given to voice actress Uesaka Sumire by Kio Shimoku in honour of her work as the voice of Rika Yoshitaki in the Genshiken Nidaime anime. Sources: Top. Bottom. See also.
The subjects of the Nô are all taken from old legends of the country; a shrine at Miwo, by the sea-shore, marks the spot where the suit of feathers was found, and the miraculously forged sword is supposed to be in the armoury of the Emperor to this day. The beauty of the poetry -- and it is very beautiful -- is marred by the want of scenery and by the grotesque dresses and make-up. In the Suit of Feathers, for instance, the fairy wears a hideous mask and a wig of scarlet elf locks; the suit of feathers itself is left entirely to the imagination; and the heavenly dance is a series of whirls, stamps, and jumps, accompanied by unearthly yells and shrieks; while the vanishing into thin air is represented by pirouettes something like the motion of a dancing dervish. The intoning of the recitative is unnatural and unintelligible, so much so that not even a highly educated Japanese could understand what is going on unless he were previously acquainted with the piece. This, however, is supposing that which is not, for the Nô are as familiarly known as the master-pieces of our own dramatists.
A.B. Mitford, Tales of Old Japan (1871), volume one, pages 163-4.
Crown Prince Naruhito poses between two freakishly tall Spaniards at a Miro exhibit.
It's the fourth round of the 2013 Emperor's Cup. Sixteen teams remain: thirteen from J1, Consadole Sapporo and Montedio Yamagata from J2, and AC Nagano Parciero of the JFL. Today Parciero visit Yokohama F. Marinos; Montedio Yamagata go to Kawasaki Frontale's home park; and Consadole Sapporo meet Ventforet Kofu on the neutral turf of Kumamoto Stadium.
How have Consadole done in the Emperor's Cup in recent years? Last year they were eliminated in Round Two by Parciero. In 2011 in Round Two by Mito HollyHock. In 2010 in Round Three by Nagoya Grampus. In 2009 in Round Three by Shimizu S-Pulse. In 2008 in Round Four by Yokohama F. Marinos. In 2007 in Round Three by TDK SC (later known as Blaublitz Akita). In 2006 they were knocked out in the semifinals by Gamba Osaka. That semifinal appearance is their best showing of the 21st Century to date.
On this date in 1855 the Great Ansei Earthquake rocked Edo (Tokyo) and set fire to a great part of the city. It was one of three great earthquakes to strike Japan following the arrival of Commodore Perry's fleet. Source: archives of the Prefecture of Gunma.
Asia League Ice Hockey is the top professional hockey league in Japan and South Korea, and also includes China's one professional team.
The eight teams each play a schedule of 42 games from September to March, after which the top four move on to the playoffs, with best-of-five semifinals and finals. The Japanese clubs take time out in February for the All Japan Ice Hockey Championship, which has been going on since 1930. The Korea Domestic Championship dates back to 1955.
The teams are:
Oji Eagles. Founded in 1925 as the company team of Oji Paper, the Eagles play at Hakucho Arena (capacity 4,015) in Tomakomai, on the southern coast of Hokkaido. They have won the Asia League championship twice, its forerunner the Japan League championship 13 times, and the anyone-can-enter All Japan Championship 35 times including last year. They wear blue, white, yellow and black. The squad includes Canadians Aaron Keller, Mike Kompon and T.J. Kemp.
Nippon Paper Cranes. Oji Eagles' rival on the ice and in the boardroom, Nippon Paper Cranes are owned by the Nippon Paper Group, and play at Kushiro Ice Arena (capacity 3,000) in Kushiro on the eastern coast of Hokkaido. They began in 1949, have won the Asia League three times and the All Japan Championship five. Black, red, blue and white. Canadian: Eric Regan. The club name puts you in mind of the art of origami.
Anyang Halla. Founded in 1994, they won the Korean Ice Hockey League five times, and then after 2003 the Asia League once plus one co-win. They play at the Anyang Sports Complex Arena attached to Anyang Stadium. Blue, yellow and white. Canadians: Brock Radunske, Dustin Wood. Anyang is a city of about two-thirds of a million on the southern outskirts of Seoul.
High1. Founded in 2004, High1 joined the Asia League the next year. They are based in Goyang, South Korea, on the north side of Seoul. Black and red. Canadians: Bryan Young who has played 17 games for Edmonton, David Brine who played 9 games for the Florida Panthers and later played for Medveščak Zagreb, and Michael Swift.
China Dragon. This club is an amalgamation of two venerable Chinese powerhouses, Harbin and Qiqihar, both founded in 1954 and neither based anywhere near Shanghai. The team roster closely matches that of the Chinese Olympic team. Colours: red and yellow. No Canadians.
Tohoku Free Blades. Founded 2008. Their home address is Niida Indoor Rink (capacity 1,576) in Hachinohe, Aomori, the northernmost prefecture on the island of Honshu. Blue, gray and white. They have won the championship once, and were declared co-winners the year of the tsunami. Canadians: Darrell Hay, Brad Farynuk and Ned Lukacevic.
Daemyung Sangmu. New this year. This is the hockey team of the South Korean military and is tasked with training the South Korean national team for the 2018 Olympics. They play at the Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul. Black, yellow and red. No Canadians.
The league had a team in Khabarovsk, in the Far East of Russia, for one season. The KHL has since moved into that town and Vladivostok.
This robust woodcut can be found opposite page 204 in volume 1 of A.B. Mitford, Tales of Old Japan published in 1871. Mitford writes in his Preface:
For the illustrations, at least, I feel that I need make no apology. Drawn, in the first instance, by one Ôdaké, an artist in my employ, they were cut on wood by a famous wood-engraver at Yedo, and are therefore genuine specimens of Japanese art.
I wish he had named the famous engraver. As for Ôdaké, there were a couple of well-known artists, Odake Kokkan and Odake Chikuha, in the following generation. Is Mitford's one their father?
Emperor Akihito's Heisei era began in 1989, and so corresponds very closely to the era of the J-League, which began in 1993 and saw the professionalisation of the top levels of Japanese soccer and the emergence of Japan as a soccer power.
It's the third round of the Emperor's Cup. 32 teams compete, including Consadole Sapporo who visit Júbilo Iwata, Mito HollyHock who are up against Vegalta Sendai and Zweigen Kanazawa who face Shimizu S-Pulse. [Sapporo advance.]
At the bottom of a little lane, close to the entrance of the village, stands an old shrine of the Shintô (the form of hero-worship which existed in Japan before the introduction of Confucianism or of Buddhism), surrounded by lofty Cryptomerias. The trees around a Shintô shrine are specially under the protection of the god to whom the altar is dedicated; and, in connection with them, there is a kind of magic still respected by the superstitious, which recalls the waxen dolls, through the medium of which sorcerers of the middle ages in Europe, and indeed those of ancient Greece, as Theocritus tells us, pretended to kill the enemies of their clients. This is called Ushi no toki mairi, or "going to worship at the hour of the ox," and is practiced by jealous women who wish to be revenged upon their faithless lovers.
When the world is at rest, at two in the morning, the hour of which the ox is the symbol, the woman rises; she dons a white robe and high sandals or clogs; her coif is a metal tripod, in which are thrust three lighted candles; around her neck she hangs a mirror, which falls upon her bosom; in her left hand she carries a small straw figuer, the effigy of the lover who has abandoned her, and in her right she grasps a hammer and nails, with which she fastens the figure to one of the sacred trees that surround the shrine. There she prays for the death of the traitor, vowing that, if her petition be heard, she will herself pull out the nails which now offend the god by wounding the mystic tree. Night after night she comes to the shrine, and each night she strikes in two or more nails, believing that every nail will shorten her lover's life, for the god, to save his tree, will surely strike him dead.
A.B. Mitford, Tales of Old Japan, volume 1 (1871), pages 38 - 40. See here. Also here.