長浜近世城下町ふるさとまつりThe Nagahama Castle Town Local Festival is an event that started only five years ago.
The festival is held castle town area which has a number of historic buildings from the samurai era in which the local community was built in the shadow of Nagahama Castle.
The local shopping arcades in this area host some events including stalls for vendors selling local products, musical performances, a stage show with mock sword fights and presentations by local historians and business people.
The highlight of the event is a samurai parade.
The photo journal below covers the stage show portion of the festival from 6/9/2018.
|Nagahama's Hideyoshi [Toyotomi]|
|Mitsunari-kun. A mascot representing Ishida Mitsunari, a daimyo from the Sengoku era.|
Note the kamon crest; Dai-ichi, Dai-mon, Dai-kichi.
|Mitsunari and Hideyoshi together. Historically, Mitsunari was a subordinate of Hideyoshi.|
|Participant wearing samurai armor.|
Notice the calabash gourd (hyoutan) being worn on his waist, this item was used as a canteen in the samurai era and is a common symbol in the area.
|Ninja performers waiting to take the stage.|
|Samurai observing the stage show.|
|Each of these people wears armor which represents famous samurai from the area (or who campaigned in the area) during the Warring States Period (Sengoku Jidai).|
|Kuroda Kanbei, is famously associated with Himeji Castle but his clan originated in the Omi area (now part of Shiga).|
|A helmet ornament with a haraigushi (shinto purifcation wand) design.|
|Stage show. Bokuto (wooden swords) covered with silver foil used as a stage prop.|
|A stage show about a brave kunoichi (female ninja).|
|A dramatic pose.|
Note the horned helmet of Sanada Yukimura in the front row.
|A solo demonstration as a metal sword is wielded.|
|A dramatic pose.|
|Note the kiri-mon crest in the background (the 5-7-5 kiri-mon variation) which is associated with the Toyotomi clan (in this context, but is associated with the Japanese government and the imperial as well).|
|Ninja waiting to take the stage.|
|Ninja wearing conical straw hats, tongari-gasa.|
|Acrobatic ninja battle on the stage.|
|A samurai lady vs ninja show.|
|A member of a cast full of cute girls.|
|A tangle of crossed blades.|
|A kunoichi/cat girl.|
|An acrobatic fighting show.|
These shows are designed for fun and stage fighting often makes me cringe so it was interesting when one of the background songs chosen was "Let's Get Ridiculous."
|The organizers gave out two prizes to the stage performers;|
A sword for the best group and a bottle of sake for the best performer (seen here being awarded a junior high school student).
|A victory for the acrobatic ninjas.|
|Kamishibai (comical picture-story presentation)|
|Straw turtles, a symbol of longevity.|