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LastUpDate: September 1, 2010
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Hakata Culture vol.44


New ginger, Hakata champon, and Hojoya hajiki!

New ginger, Hakata champon, and Hojoya hajiki! Picture

One sure sign that autumn is coming soon to Fukuoka-Hakata is the Hojoya festival. With the Hakata Gion Yamakasa and the Hakata Dontaku, it is one of the three most important festivals in the area. The Hojoya festival is said to have originated in the year 720 at the Usa Hachiman-gu Shinto Shrine in Oita to commemorate the war dead. Since then, the festival has been an event for honoring the living. It is held in Fukuoka every year from September 12 - 18 at the Hakozakigu Shinto Shrine in Higashi Ward. The main path of the shrine is lined with open air stalls, and it is well known for being the only time that Hakata champon is sold at Hakozakigu.

Each of the approximately 700 stalls that extend to the Hakozaki beach offer distinctive attractions, such as unique products, shooting galleries, ring tosses, and yo-yo fishing enjoyed until night. One of the noted products sold at this time is freshly harvested ginger. There were many ginger fields in the area near the shrine until just before the war. The goryon-san, housewives in commercial establishments who combined work and family responsibilities, frequently shopped here for gifts, and this is still an established practice for Hakatakko.

Other popular items include the Hakata champon and the toys of thin glass tubes that make a distinctive sound when blown into. Each are painstakingly hand painted by the miko shrine maidens, and sold for a limited time. They are such a popular item every year that people start to line up early every morning to buy them. Then there is the Hojoya hajiki, small pieces two centimeters in diameter that are used for a game resembling tiddlywinks. Since 1979, they’ve been made by artisans of the local Hakata ningyo doll association using the same earthen materials and process. This item is so popular it is usually sold out in the morning of the festival’s first day.

Until about a century ago, the Hakata merchants would close their shops, celebrate with their families and neighbors, and hold large parties. The women had new kimono made for the occasion and brought the food and dinnerware to the parties, turning them into large picnics. These were called makudashi, and groups today are trying to keep alive the Hakatakko spirit by recreating these makudashi. Enjoy the festival any way you like, but be sure not to miss it.



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新ショウガと博多チャンポン、それに放生会おはじき

 福岡・博多に秋の訪れを告げてくれる祭りが放生会、標準語的には「ほうじょうえ」ですが、地元ではなまって「ほうじょうや」と呼びます。博多祗(正しくは"示氏"を一文字にしたもの。祗の右側、氏の下にある一を削除してください)園山笠、博多どんたくと並んで博多の三大祭りの一つ。放生会は八幡宮につきものの行事で、古くは西暦720年に大分の宇佐八幡宮で、戦争の犠牲者を供養したのが始まりだといわれます。それ以来、この祭りは生きているものを慈しむ行事となりました。福岡では毎年9月12日から18日まで、東区筥崎宮で行われますが、今は約1キロメートルの参道にずらりと並ぶ露店と、この時期だけ筥崎宮で売られる「博多チャンポン」が有名になりました。

 箱崎の浜まで約700の露店がそれぞれの特色を出しながら、さまざまなものを売っていて、射的や輪投げ、ヨーヨー釣りなど夜まで楽しめます。この時期の名物は新ショウガ。戦前までは筥崎宮周辺にたくさんのショウガ畑があり、博多商人の奥様"ごりょんさん"たちがお土産で買って帰ったそうです。これは今も博多っ子の習わしとして定着しています。

 そして人気が「博多チャンポン」、薄~いガラスでできたビードロで、息を吹き込むと「ポコペンポコペン」と音が鳴ります。筥崎宮の巫女さんたちが、ひとつひとつ丁寧に絵付けしたもので、限定販売ということもあり、発売日の早朝から並んで買う人がいるほど、毎年大変な人気です。もう一つ大人気なのが「放生会おはじき」。おはじきは直径2センチほどの小さなもので、土製で博多人形と同じ製作過程で作られます。博多人形師の団体「白彫会」が1979年から制作しており、これも放生会初日の午前中に完売するほどの人気。 

 大正時代頃までは、博多商人たちが店を休んで家族単位、町内単位で放生会に繰り出し、大パーティを開いていたそうです。女性は着物を新調してもらい、食料や食器も持参して大宴会、ま、ピクニックのようなものですね。これを「幕出し」と呼んでいました。今でも博多っ子の志を残そうとしているグループが「幕出し」を復活しています。楽しみ方は人それぞれ。とりあえず行ってみましょう!