Oniyo - At the Daizenji Tamatare Shrine

Oniyo - At the Daizenji Tamatare Shrine

Product Description

The Oniyo festival is one of the three largest fire festivals in Japan. It takes place at Daizenji Tamatare Shrine in Kurume, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Southern Japan. It is believed to date back to 368 AD, and according to legend originated when an official took revenge on a nobleman by burning him with a firetorch. These days it is used to cleanse the shrine of evil spirits and is one of Japan's most spectacular festivals, captured brilliantly on this DVD. One of the highlights is when a team sets fire to one of six huge bamboo torches, over a metre in diameter, thirteen metres long and weighing over a ton. Before the first one is set ablaze, all other lights are distinguished, the only light coming from the one torch bearer. The men, numbering about 20 or so, are dressed in white loincloths and headbands. For about two hours the streets are awash with flames, reverberating with noise. To the sound of taiko drums and chants, a procession makes its way between the shrine and the river two times. Men chant wildly, rousing the evil spirits from the shrine adn leading it to the river to be cleansed. The festival winds down after the final procession brings the cleansed spirits back to the shrine. 60 minutes, filmed 7th January 2007.