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Tanegashima's big summer event, the Teppo Festival

Tanegashima's big summer event, the Teppo Festival
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Tanegashima's big summer event, the Teppo Festival, a major event on the island

This page introduces the Tanegashima Teppo Festival held in Nishinoomote City in the northern part of Tanegashima Island.

The Cabinet Office's "Let's go to the border island" project introduces Tanegashima in detail, and the Tanegashima Teppo Festival is also mentioned.

The Cabinet Office's page on the Teppo Festival has only one photo, so we will show more photos on this site.

Overview of Historic Teppo Festival

The Tanegashima Teppo Festival is a festival held on Tanegashima Island to pass on Tanegashima's arquebus culture and history and to honor the skills of its arquebus crews. It is said that arquebus were developed by the vassals of the Tanegashima clan, and their history dates back more than 400 years.

Tanegashima's arquebus are made with precision casting techniques and are famous for their power and accuracy.

The Teppo Festival is centered on parades and performances by arquebus squads gathered from each district of Tanegashima.

Each district wears a different costume and carries a arquebus in the parade. When the arquebus are fired, the sound and smoke of the arquebus fill the air, creating a powerful performance.

The arquebus decorations and decorative carts are also a highlight of the festival.

Local food and souvenirs will be sold during the Teppo festival.

Tanegashima Island is home to many delicious foods that are hard to find in the mainland, such as inji-tori (a kind of bird), eels, shiitake mushrooms, Ise shrimp, red king crab, dakuma (long-armed shrimp), nigatake (a thin bamboo shoot that is excellent tempura), citrus fruits such as tangerines and ponkan (ponkan) and their processed foods, and abundant fish and squid from local waters, including black sea bream and yellowtail, and kuma-no-te (shellfish that can be caught on the shore), There are many delicious foods that are hard to find in the mainland, such as nagarame (called "tokobushi" by the locals), precious hamazeri (tempura is recommended), and mini bananas, which can be enjoyed during the Tekkosai Festival.

(These local delicacies vary with the seasons, so they are not always available.)

Local traditional handicrafts and folk art are also available for purchase, making them perfect souvenirs.

The Teppo Festival attracts many tourists. The beautiful nature, sea, and historical buildings of Tanegashima are also highlights of the festival, so it is recommended to visit tourist spots on Tanegashima after enjoying the Teppo Festival.

The Teppo Festival is usually held on a Sunday in late August, but in recent years, the schedule may be changed due to infection prevention, etc. Please check the schedule on the website of Nishinoomote City.

One of the best festivals on Tanegashima Island that many people visit

This festival is held to preserve and pass on the art of gunnery passed down in Tanegashima, and includes a parade and performances using traditional arquebus made on Tanegashima.

There are also events to introduce the history and culture of Tanegashima, attracting many tourists.

The highlight of the festival is the powerful performance by the arquebus squads. The sound of the arquebus and the smoke from the arquebus as they move dynamically is a sight to behold and draws loud cheers from the crowds of onlookers.

During the festival, visitors can also enjoy local cuisine and souvenirs, and enjoy Tanegashima to the fullest.

It is difficult for a single photographer to capture this festival in photos!

I also go to the festival as a photographer, and the scope of the parade is very large, with many teams participating, including a parade in the center of the downtown area, Yasaka Shrine, and a fishing port.

Only the Teppo Festival has so many events that I am desperate to photograph.

In the evening, there is a stage performance and fireworks at a park near the high-speed boat terminal, but you will need a lot of energy, spare batteries, and memory if you want to take photos of all these events.

Introduction of the noon session of the Teppo Festival

We have already introduced the Teppo drums and the bustling high school girls at the Teppo Festival in a separate article, but since the Teppo Festival has a lot of content, this time we will focus on the lunchtime portion of the festival.

Teppo Festival Parade

I used to live in Minami-Tane Town, so I don't understand the Teppo Festival very well, so I can't explain in detail.

Parade of local businesses and school officials

Tanegashima High School, introduced in Buttobi Girls' High School, also wrote the song.

Basketball and volleyball teams also participate. Photographer Confused.

This is the baseball club of Tanegashima Junior High School. I would like to write an article about the remote island Koshien, when pictures come out.

鉄砲祭りのパレード9

Parade of Teppo festival 9

Thanks to the placards saying "Yari-mochii" and "Keyari-mochi".

The members of the local Tanegashima Firearms Preservation Society, who are the stars of the festival.

Thank you to the members of the Sakai Firearms Preservation Society of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, our friendship city, for coming a long way to support us.

Beautiful ladies of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, a border sightseeing concierge of our friendship city, Sakai City

Here comes the float with many photographer cronies.

Thank you for coming a long way to Tanegashima.

Behind Sakai Concierge, there were also two fresh Tanegashima people riding in the back.

Elementary School Fife and Drum Corps

鉄砲祭りのパレード20

Parade of Teppo festival 20

About Tanegashima Firearms

The Tanegashima flintlock arquebus is said to have been developed by Shigenobu Kondo, a vassal of the Tanegashima clan, around 1604 in the early Edo period.

At the time, iron products were being actively produced on Tanegashima, and the idea was to use them to manufacture firearms. Therefore, the flintlock rifle was developed by the islanders of Tanegashima, and was made using precision casting techniques unique to Tanegashima.

Tanegashima flintlock rifles were made using a special technique in which iron melted at high temperatures was kneaded together with copper and silver in the arquebus-making process, resulting in extremely precise casting of the flintlock rifle and outstanding accuracy and power. The art of making flintlock rifles was passed down from generation to generation by Tanegashima clan members and islanders, and it flourished as one of the main industries of the Tanegashima clan.

Firearms were important weapons in battle in those days, and the Tanegashima clan participated in many battles by making use of its superior firearm technology and achieving great success. In particular, Yoshihiro Shimazu, the lord of the Tanegashima Clan, followed Hideyoshi Toyotomi to the Battle of Sekigahara, where the Tanegashima Flintlock Rifle Corps played an active role.

Today, Tanegashima's flintlock rifles are not used in battle, but are more often displayed in traditional arts and festivals. However, their high casting technology and accuracy in hitting targets are still highly regarded, and they are much loved by many people as one of Japan's traditional crafts.

About Princess Wakasa of Tanegashima who married a Portuguese for the completion of a firearm

There is a story about a woman named Wakasa-hime (Wakasa Princess) that you should know about when talking about firearms.

Wakasahime was the daughter of the Kutsuki clan, a provincial governor of Wakasa in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), who is said to have married a Portuguese in order to complete the construction of the Tanegashima flintlock rifle.

Her name varies according to historical records, and it is possible that she had an alias, but she is generally known as Princess Wakasa.

At that time, Portuguese who possessed the technology to manufacture flintlock rifles are said to have arrived in Japan and introduced the method of making flintlock rifles.

However, it is said that the technology introduced by the Portuguese alone was not sufficient to successfully manufacture firearms due to differences in the climate and materials used on Tanegashima.

Therefore, there is a theory that Princess Wakasa, the head of the Kutsuki clan, married a Portuguese woman and adopted the techniques and materials necessary for the manufacture of firearms.

However, it is a fact that the Tanegashima flintlock rifles had high casting technology and accuracy, and it is possible that Princess Wakasa contributed in some way to the manufacture of flintlock rifles.

The story of Princess Wakasa is also linked to the legend of Shimazu Yoshihiro, a warlord of the Warring States period, who led his own vassals to fight the Portuguese and rescue Princess Wakasa and the Portuguese.

Although this legend, too, is said to differ in some respects from the historical fact, Princess Wakasa has been passed down as one of the figures who played an important role in the history of firearms on Tanegashima.

Second half of the Teppo Festival Parade

The Tanegashima Teppo Festival includes not only a parade of gunmen, but also a parade of floats ridden by women in kimonos. In this parade, local women participate, playing taiko drums and shamisen while riding on floats in traditional local kimonos through the streets of Tanegashima.

One of the highlights of these floats is their beautifully decorated appearance, with decorations around the body. The floats are also topped by women playing taiko drums and shamisen, who perform enthusiastically as the body of the float sways.

Since this parade is held on the same day as the Tanegashima Teppo Taisai Festival, it is one of the highlights of the Teppo Festival and popular among tourists.

The sight of women in kimonos riding on floats and the sounds of drums and shamisen echoing through the air is different from the powerful parade of the arquebus, and gives visitors a sense of the traditional culture of Tanegashima.

More photos to follow.

A motorcycle is also waiting. It seems to be a very busy day on the festival day.

The photographers are smiling as they take pictures of the floats.

They are rearranging the floats.

Dedication to Yasaka Shrine on Tanegashima

Yasaka Shrine, located in Nishinoomote City on Tanegashima Island, is one of the oldest shrines on Tanegashima, with a history of more than approximately 1,200 years.

Yasaka Shrine is mainly dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, who is known as the god of learning, and is therefore often worshipped as a god of learning. Other deities enshrined in the shrine include Amaterasu, Susanoo-no-Mikoto, Okomiki-no-Mikoto, and Shohikono-no-Mikoto.

There are a number of historical structures within the shrine grounds, including a sacred giant camphor tree that is believed to have remained since the shrine's founding, and the main shrine and worship hall, which are designated as national important cultural properties. Also within the precincts of the shrine is a huge stone gate called "Giant Stone Gate," whose powerful appearance is a sight to behold.

Every year, the "Prayer Festival" is held on January 3, attracting many worshippers. The Yasaka Festival is held every May and is known for its portable shrine procession and sacred music.

Yasaka Shrine is one of the most famous shrines on Tanegashima, and its history, cultural assets, and festivals are loved by many people.

About the Procession of the Gods of Tanegashima

The Teppo Matsuri is famous for its "Teppo Matsuri Goshinko Gyoretsu," a procession of shrine parishioners and local people who march in procession while firing arquebus.

This procession starts from Hachimangu Shrine in Chinmunomori Park and parades through Tanegashima City, with Shinto priests and local youths carrying portable shrines and sacred flags while carrying arquebus

This procession is joined by people from local towns, businesses, and schools, totaling several thousand people.

In the past, the procession of the Teppo festival's deities was a powerful spectacle, with the sound of firearms being shot echoing through the air, but now it is just a procession.

The procession is also led by people wearing white costumes called "Tsushima-uchi," which is the traditional costume of Tanegashima.

The procession of the gods of the Teppo Festival is one of the festivals that symbolize the culture and traditions of Tanegashima, and is loved by many people.

White costume called "Tsushima-uchi", a traditional costume of Tanegashima

At Yasaka Shrine

Summary of Tanegashima's major summer event, the Teppo Festival

In fact, there seemed to be an event going on at the fishing port (pulling a portable shrine out of the sea?), but it was too much for me to photograph alone. It was impossible for me to take pictures by myself, but I tried to introduce as much as I could.

Since the festival is held on Tanegashima Island, which has a long history, there are many anecdotes about it, and I think it would be interesting for those who are interested to find out more about it.

I also recommend the legend of Princess Tamayori in Minamitane Town, which is close to the myth of Tanegashima.

Thank you very much for reading this article.

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-Japanese Tradition (English)