Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tale of Genji Museum

Genji Museum in Uji

From the famous novel by Murasaki Shikibu


Monday, June 17, 2019

Akashi gunners

明石時のウイーク 砲術演武

Akashi Toki no Week

Akashi is a city between Himeji and Kobe. Next to JR Akashi station there is a large park (54 hectares) which has the ruins Akashi Castle.

The Toki no Week Festival (or the "time week Festival") is held in mid-June and is a celebration of the status of Akashi City (or more specifically, the Akashi City Planetarium) as location of the 135th meridian and the center of the official Japan Standard Time zone.

The festival is similar to the Akashi Castle Festival that is held in November.

The festival features a line of flea market stalls, food vendors, representative from various groups (like military recruiters, firefighters, local information etc.). There was also a cardboard box maze for kids.

The mains stage of the event featured local dance groups, a local mascot, MCs and performers.

The main attraction of the festival was a demonstration of samurai-era gunmanship (Houjutsu), in which a squad of historical gunners in samurai armor wield Sengoku-era muskets, pistols and hand-cannons. The guns are not loaded with live ammunition but the gunners made a show of packing gunpowder into the guns and lighting the pan with a length of burning rope.

This was the largest gathering of people that I have seen simultaneously firing guns in Japan; much larger than similar demonstrations at Himeji Castle or the Sakai Festival parade.

Photo journal from 6/16/2019

岡山城鉄砲隊 - The Okayama Castle Gun Corp

The Okayama Castle Gun Corp has also been seen in an earlier matchlock gun demonstration at the Himeji Castle Festival.

A leaning posture while holding a small matchlock pistol.

Member of the Teppou Tai group in front of the south-west turret of Akashi Castle.

Small folding stools for the people wearing armor.

An impressive line of gunners.

Preparing their weapons.

Preparing to fire from a kneeling position.

A rapid succession of shots, from far to near. Even after only one or two shots there is a thick veil of smoke.

This man with the ornate armor also appeared in Himeji.
According to the group's website they have five appearances scheduled for the April-June period. 

An up close demonstration of how this gun is loaded.

A foreigner in the group.
He was not present when the group appeared at the Himeji Castle Festival.
He had a British accent.

A few interesting datemono on the helmets.

Gunners firing from a mix of standing and kneeling positions.

Firing a pistol.

Firing a pistol

Preparing to fire a pistol.

Firing a pistol.

Firing from a seated position.

Firing a larger hand cannon.

Picking up one of the heavier guns.

Making hand gesture while preparing to fire.

Note the cord wrapped around his wrist; this seems to be a way of holding onto the gun to control recoil.

An unusual set of armor.
Note the pistol holster.

The conclusion of the demonstration.

Packing the older guns away in large wooden crates.

Packing a gun away in a modern foam case.
You can see the south-western turret of Akashi Castle in the background.
Shot with a retro filter.

The gunners passing by as they leave the field.
Shot with a pop filter.

A wide angle lens shot from an Eken action camera.


  1. http://www.akashi-tokikando.com/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashi,_Hy%C5%8Dgo
  3. https://teppoutai.com/
  4. https://kansaiculture.blogspot.com/2018/05/matchlock-gun-demonstration-at-himeji.html

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Trick Art at Kyocera Dome

Masashi Hattori Trick Art Exhibit

A few years ago, trick art was quite a popular thing. There were artists around Japan creating public art displays which attracts visitors to visit shopping centers and pose with flat panels of art the manipulate perspective to create immersive 3D illusions (called "trick art" / "3D art" / or "anamorphosis") to make for interesting photo ops when shot from just the right angle (the Himeji shopping arcade had a 3D art coures at about the time of this photo journal).

There were some galleries which hosted travelling exhibitions of high quality versions of this art.

Trick Artist Masahi Hattori, from Saitama, had a travelling display from 2010 - 2017.
In 2014 his art was displayed in 22 venues; including Kyocera Dome in Osaka.
The various display events lasted from 5 days to 3 months; the Kyocera Dome display lasted about 6 weeks.

The displays included a photo contest where gallery patrons submitted their fun photos to the artist for a chance at cash prizes; the current photo contest is running from October 2018 to September 2019 and the prizes range from 10,000 yen to 30,000 yen. You can see past photo award winners on the artist' website.

Photo journal from 8/8/2014:

A Wheel [Ring] of Fire

Flying carpet.

Note the posters in the background with instructions for a suggested pose;
Here it is supposed to look like Frankenstein is dropping you into a pit.

A swashbuckling scene.
Not the suggested perspective, but with this shot you can see some of the background at the museum.

Hippos are actually quite dangerous animals.
You need to rotate your camera for this one; the right side of the photo is actually the floor while the lion and the branch hanging over the lion are on standing wall panels.
A better pose would have been simply standing up and s\pretending to cling to the tree branch.

Another circus scene.

Hostile native American scene?

Another circus scene.
Again; the camera needs to be tilted to the side here.

A ninja scene, most people had to get on the floor for this one.

This one was mostly a single 2D panel but there was a prop chair.

Another shot were most people had to pose on the floor with a tilted camera.

Another swashbuckling scene; they provide you with a prop hat and sword for this one.

An ancient Egyptian scene; most people went for a "being crushed" pose but the foot massage works too.

A cage wrestling scene.

This one involves getting on your knee and hiding your real legs from the camera.


  1. http://www.mhttr.com/%E4%BD%9C%E5%93%81%E4%BE%8B/
  2. http://hotelkinki.com/jp/component/zoo/item/3d-art-exhibit-at-osaka-dome
  3. http://www.mhttr.com/%E3%82%B3%E3%83%B3%E3%83%86%E3%82%B9%E3%83%88/