[:it]Japan Travel: Pellegrinaggio di Yanaka - La Tokyo nascosta[:en]Japan Travel: Yanaka Pilgrimage - Hidden Tokyo[:ja]Japan Travel: Yanaka Pilgrimage - Hidden Tokyo[:]

[:it]

La Tokyo nascosta: pellegrinaggio alla ricerca della buona fortuna.

Photo credits: japaneseprints.livejournal.com  

Il rapporto che i giapponesi hanno con la religione, e soprattutto con la spiritualità, è molto particolare. Non molto eclatante, a volte nascosto, ma è un legame sempre presente, fatto di piccoli gesti quotidiani e rituali. A volte, in occasioni particolarmente importanti o in periodi difficili si fa visita a questa o quella divinità per chiedere protezione e benevolenza. Tra le divinità più venerate in tutto il Paese ci sono quelle che vengono chiamate le 'Sette Divinità della Fortuna', in giapponese Shichi Fukuji (七福神).Non è quindi inusuale trovare brevi percorsi di pellegrinaggio in onore di questi dei.

Queste sette divinità sono arrivate in Giappone ormai secoli fa, e sono frutto di un lento processo di assimilazione. Processo che ha visto fondersi insieme Buddismo, Induismo, Taoismo e Shintoismo ovviamente. Camminando per un percorso prestabilito si toccano i templi di tutte e sette le divinità collezionando timbri o iscrizioni a commemorazione della visita.
Questi pellegrinaggi sono più frequenti durante le prime due settimane dell'anno. Questo è infatti il periodo in cui, secondo le antiche tradizioni giapponesi, le sette divinità approdano a terra con la loro 'nave dei tesori' distribuendo doni e buona fortuna a tutti.

Soltanto a Tokyo ci sono più di 20 percorsi di questo tipo e quello di cui vogliamo parlarvi oggi vi porterà alla scoperta di Yanaka.
Yanaka è una piccola perla risalente all'epoca Edo, incastonata tra alti palazzi, vie dello shopping e il famoso parco di Ueno. Il suo cuore antico ha saputo mantenersi intatto, ed è spesso meta di molti turisti che vogliono ritrovare nella grande metropoli un assaggio del suo passato.

Pellegrinaggio attraverso Yanaka

Photo credits: flickr.com - Patrick Kenawy

Questo percorso attraverso Yanaka inizia dalla stazione di Tabata, facilmente riconoscibile essendo una delle fermate della Linea Yamanote, che collega con il suo percorso circolare, tutte le zone di attrazione principale della città.

La vostra prima tappa sarà il tempio Tokakuji, a poca distanza dalla stazione.
Essendo questa la prima tappa del pellegrinaggio, qui potrete acquistare il rotolo rappresentante le sette divinità che poi vi verrà segnato ad ogni tappa.
Questo tempio ospita Fukurokuji, divinità che come suggerisce il nome stesso è il dio della saggezza, della ricchezza e della longevità. Spesso rappresentato calvo e con una fronte sproporzionatamente alta, è accompagnato da una gru e una tartaruga, simboli di longevità. A volte è presente un cervo nero. La sua statua è collocata nel giardino retrostante il tempio che viene aperto al pubblico solo per il Nuovo Anno.

Ma nonostante il tempio sia dedicato a Fukurokuji, la prima cosa che attirerà la vostra attenzione all'ingresso saranno due statue Nio. Queste due statue si ergono a protezione del tempio e anche dei malati che ne chiederanno la protezione. Si ritiene infatti che abbiano poteri curativi.
Se soffrite per qualche malanno, acquistate l'apposito foglietto di carta rossa presso il tempio e attaccatelo sulla statua li dove avvertite dolore. La divinità vi guarirà.

Sempre qui, potrete acquistare una mappa del percorso, per facilitarvi la strada.

Photo credits: flickr.com - realitycheck2002

La seconda tappa è il tempio Sei'un-ji, conosciuto anche come Hanamidera. Come suggerisce il nome, il tempio era, ed è ancora oggi, una meta particolarmente adatta ad assistere alla fioritura primaverile. Questo è possibile grazie agli alberi di ciliegio e alle azalee qui piantate nel XVIII secolo. Il tempio è dedicato al dio Ebisu, il più giovane tra i sette, divinità del commercio e protettore di pescatori e lavoratori, ma anche dei bambini piccoli.

Ad appena un minuto di distanza, si trova il terzo tempio del pellegrinaggio, il tempio Shusei-in che ospita Hotei. Questa divinità, conosciuta anche come il Budda che ride, è rappresentata come un uomo calvo e panciuto, dal sorriso bonario che spesso accompagnato da bambini. Hotei potrebbe essere associato al nostro Babbo Natale in quanto anche lui porta con se un sacco di doni che elargisce soprattutto ai bambini.
La statua di Hotei nel tempio Shusei-in è particolarmente bella. Fermatevi a pregare presso di essa, ma anche ad ammirare i murales dipinti che caratterizzano il tempio.

Photo credits: japantoday.com

Un pò più defilato è il tempio Choan-ji, la vostra tappa successiva.
Qui trova la sua dimora Jurojin, divinità della longevità. La sua rappresentazione è molto simile a quella di Fukurokuji ed è per questo che queste due divinità vengono spesso sovrapposte. Ma è possibile trovare anche Itabi, delle statuine erette per preservare il riposo delle anime dei morti risalenti al periodo Kamakura (1185-1333) e Muromachi (1336-1573). Il tempio Choan-ji ne ospita ben tre risalenti a questo periodo.

Superato questo tempio, dirigetevi verso il Cimitero di Yanaka e la vostra prossima destinazione sarà il tempio Tennoji. Esso vi accoglierà al suo ingresso con una grande statua di Budda risalente alla fine del 1600. Ma il vostro obbiettivo principale sarà un piccolo altare alla vostra destra. Qui risiede Bishamonte, il dio guerriero, rappresentato con una lancia e una pagoda tra le mani, a simbolo della sua duplice natura. È il dio dei guerrieri che punisce i malvagi, e l'associazione con il pacifico predicatore Budda non deve stupire. Bishamonten infatti, noto anche come Tamonten, è anche il protottero dei luoghi in cui Budda predica.

Penultima tappa di questo pellegrinaggio è il tempio Gokoku-in, dimora del dio Daikokuten, divinità della ricchezza e dei raccolti, ma anche protettore della casa e in particolare della cucina. Da notare un piccolo palco nel cortile antistante il tempio utilizzato per rappresentazioni in onore della divinità.

L' ultima tappa, forse quella più bella, vi porterà ad attraversare il parco di Ueno fino ad arrivare al stagno Shinobazu e al tempio Bentendo.
Benten è ospitata in questo tempio, dea delle arti e della musica. Questa divinità si dice essere più felice quando è circondato dall'acqua, ecco perchè il tempio si trova vicino a questo stagno, e il suo simbolo è un liuto. Benten è anche la divinità della conoscenza e della saggezza, visitata quindi anche da coloro che desiderano avere successo sul lavoro o per un esame.
Il tempio, seppure una ricostruzione moderna, resta fedele alla struttura originaria ed è particolarmente riconoscibile per i suoi colori brillanti. Dominanti sono il rosso, il bianco e il verde acqua.

Photo credits: flickr.com - Toshihiro Gamo

Qui termina il pellegrinaggio, ma lungo il percorso non mancano certo le distrazioni che renderanno ancora più piacevole il vostro viaggio.

Lungo il percorso

Photo credits: Japan Italy Bridge

Lungo la strada troverete una miriade di altri piccoli templi sia buddisti che shintoisti. Fate una passeggiata nell'antico quartiere di Yanaka Ginza, proprio alle spalle della stazione di Nippori e fermatevi a mangiare qualcosa ad uno dei tanti chioschetti tradizionali della zona.
Appena fuori da Yanaka troverete il piccolo tempio Kyooji, sul cui portone centrale è possibile ancora vedere dei fori di proiettile. Questi segni sembrano risalire alla battaglia di Ueno del 1868 durante la quale le truppe imperiali cacciarono via dalla allora Edo le truppe fedeli allo shogun.
Il cimitero di Yanaka poi vi darà modo di fare una piccola sosta. Un luogo di pace che vi sorprenderà ancora di più durante la fioritura dei ciliegi.
Per non dimenticare il Parco di Ueno, un piccolo gioiello verde nel cuore di Tokyo. Meta rinomata per la sua meravigliosa fioritura dei ciliegi, ospita al suo interno anche per il famoso Zoo di Ueno con i suoi panda.

Photo credits: Japan Italy Bridge

Nel parco, tra gli altri, è presente anche il tempio Toshogu con la sua pagoda, dedicato a Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nel periodo tra aprile e maggio sarà anche possibile entrare nel bellissimo giardino che ospita una piccola ma impressionante collezione peonie, uno dei fiori più amati dai giapponesi.

Non mancano poi musei e negozi tradizionali, in un viaggio alla scoperta di una Tokyo un pò diversa da quella che siamo abituati a conoscere, ma certo altrettanto affascinante.[:en]

Hidden Tokyo: pilgrimage in search of good fortune.

Photo credits: japaneseprints.livejournal.com  

The relationship that Japan has with religion, and with spirituality in particular, is very peculiar. It is discrete, sometimes hidden, but it is an ever-present bond
made of everyday gestures and rituals. Sometimes, in particular occasions or in difficult moments, Japanese people pay a visit to this or that deity asking for protection and benevolence. Among the most revered deities in the whole country there are the 'Seven Gods of Fortune', in japanese Shichi Fukuji (七福神).It is therefore not unusual to find short pilgrimage routes in honor of these gods.

These seven deities arrived in Japan centuries ago and are the result of a slow process of assimilation. A process that saw Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto blend together. Walking through a fixed course reaching the temples of all the seven divinities, the pilgrim collects seven stamps or inscriptions to commemorate the visit.
These pilgrimages are more frequent during the first two weeks of the year. In fact, this is the period in which, according to ancient Japanese traditions, the seven deities land on the shore with their 'ship of treasures' distributing gifts and good fortune to everyone.

Only in Tokyo there are more than 20 such pilgrimage courses, and the one we want to talk about this time will take you on a journey of discovery through Yanaka.
Yanaka is a small pearl dating back to the Edo period, set among tall buildings, shopping streets and the famous Ueno park. Its ancient heart has been kept untouched, and is often the destination of many tourists who want to find in the great metropolis a taste of its past.

Pilgrimage through Yanaka

Photo credits: flickr.com - Patrick Kenawy

This path through Yanaka starts from Tabata station, easily recognizable because it is one of the stops on the Yamanote Line, which connects all the main touristic spots of the city with its circular route.

Your first stop will be the Tokakuji temple, a short walk from the station.
As this is the first temple of the pilgrimage, here you can buy the scroll representing the seven deities that will then be marked at each destination.
This temple houses Fukurokuji, a deity that, as the name suggests, is the god of wisdom, wealth and longevity. Often represented as a bald old man with a incredibly high forehead, he is accompanied by a crane and a turtle, both symbols of longevity. Sometimes a black deer is also present. His statue is placed in the garden at the back of the temple and is open to the public only at New Year’s.

Although the temple is dedicated to Fukurokuji, the first thing that will attract your attention at the entrance will be two Nio statues. These two statues stand guard at the temple also giving their protection to the sick who ask for their help. In fact it is believed that they have healing powers. If you suffer from some illness, buy the appropriate piece of red paper at the temple and attach it to the statue where you feel the pain. The deity will heal you.

Here, you can also buy a map of the walk, to make it easier for you to find the way.

Photo credits: flickr.com - realitycheck2002

The second stop is the Sei'un-ji temple, also known as Hanamidera. As the name suggests, the temple was, and still is today, a particularly suitable destination to see flowers blooming in spring. This is possible thanks to the cherry trees and the azaleas planted here in the 18th century. The temple is dedicated to the god Ebisu, the youngest of the seven, god of commerce and protector of fishermen and workers, but also of young children.

Just a few steps away, there is the third temple of the pilgrimage, the Shusei-in temple that hosts Hotei. This deity, also known as the laughing Buddha, is represented as a bald man, with a round belly and a good-natured smile, who is often surrounded by children. Hotei could be associated with our Santa Claus as he brings gifts that bestows especially to children.
The statue of Hotei in the Shusei-in temple is particularly beautiful. Stop to pray at it, but also to admire the painted murals that characterize the temple.

Photo credits: japantoday.com

A bit more difficult to find is the Choan-ji temple, your next stop.
Here finds his home Jurojin, deity of longevity. Because of the similarities they share even in they way they are represented, Jurojin is often identified with Fukurokuji. But here is also possible to find Itabi, statues erected to preserve the repose of the souls of the dead during the Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1336-1573) period. The Choan-ji temple houses three of them dating back to this period.

After this temple, head to Yanaka Cemetery and your next destination will be the Tennoji temple. It will welcome you with a large statue of a seated Buddha dating back to the late 1600s placed at its entrance. But your main objective will be a small shrine on your right. Here is housed Bishamonte, the warrior god represented with a spear and a pagoda in his hands, symbols of his dual nature. He is the god of warriors who punishes the wicked, and the association with the peaceful preacher Buddha should not surprise you. Bishamonten, also known as Tamonten, is also the protector of the places where Buddha preaches.
The second to last stop of this pilgrimage is the Gokoku-in temple, home of the god Daikokuten, deity of wealth and crops, but also protector of the house and in particular of the kitchen. A particular note goes to a small stage in the courtyard in front of the temple used for representations in honor of the deity.

The last destination, perhaps the most beautiful one, will take you through the Ueno park to reach the Shinobazu pond and the Bentendo temple.
Benten is housed in this temple, goddess of the arts and music. This deity is said to be happier when surrounded by water, which is why the temple is near this pond, and her symbol is a lute. Benten is also the divinity of knowledge and wisdom so, those who wish to succeed at work or in an exam pay a visit to her.
Although the temple is just a modern reconstruction, it remains faithful to the original structure and is particularly recognizable thanks to its bright colors. Dominant are red, white and teal.

Photo credits: flickr.com - Toshihiro Gamo

Here the pilgrimage ends, but along the way there are plenty of distractions that will make your journey even more enjoyable.

Along the walk

Photo credits: Japan Italy Bridge

Along the way you will find a myriad of other small Buddhist and Shinto temples.
Take a stroll through the ancient district of Yanaka Ginza, just behind Nippori station, and stop to eat something at one of the many traditional kiosks in the area.
Just outside Yanaka you will find the small Kyooji temple where you can still see bullet holes on its central gate. These marks seem to date back to the battle of Ueno in 1868, during which the Imperial troops drove away from Edo the troops loyal to the shogun.
Yanaka cemetery will then give you a place to stop and rest. A place of peace that will surprise you even more during the cherry blossom.
And don’t forget the Ueno Park, a little ‘green jewel’ in the heart of Tokyo. A destination renowned for its wonderful cherry blossom and the famous Ueno Zoo with its pandas.

Photo credits: Japan Italy Bridge

In the park, among other temples, there is also the Toshogu shrine with its pagoda, that is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Between April and May it will also be possible to enter the beautiful garden that houses a small but impressive peony collection, one of the most loved flowers in Japan.

There are also museums and traditional shops, on a journey to discover a Tokyo that is a little bit different from what we are used to, but certainly equally fascinating.[:ja]

Hidden Tokyo: pilgrimage in search of good fortune.

Photo credits: japaneseprints.livejournal.com  

The relationship that Japan has with religion, and with spirituality in particular, is very peculiar. It is discrete, sometimes hidden, but it is an ever-present bond
made of everyday gestures and rituals. Sometimes, in particular occasions or in difficult moments, Japanese people pay a visit to this or that deity asking for protection and benevolence. Among the most revered deities in the whole country there are the 'Seven Gods of Fortune', in japanese Shichi Fukuji (七福神).It is therefore not unusual to find short pilgrimage routes in honor of these gods.

These seven deities arrived in Japan centuries ago and are the result of a slow process of assimilation. A process that saw Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto blend together. Walking through a fixed course reaching the temples of all the seven divinities, the pilgrim collects seven stamps or inscriptions to commemorate the visit.
These pilgrimages are more frequent during the first two weeks of the year. In fact, this is the period in which, according to ancient Japanese traditions, the seven deities land on the shore with their 'ship of treasures' distributing gifts and good fortune to everyone.

Only in Tokyo there are more than 20 such pilgrimage courses, and the one we want to talk about this time will take you on a journey of discovery through Yanaka.
Yanaka is a small pearl dating back to the Edo period, set among tall buildings, shopping streets and the famous Ueno park. Its ancient heart has been kept untouched, and is often the destination of many tourists who want to find in the great metropolis a taste of its past.

Pilgrimage through Yanaka

Photo credits: flickr.com - Patrick Kenawy

This path through Yanaka starts from Tabata station, easily recognizable because it is one of the stops on the Yamanote Line, which connects all the main touristic spots of the city with its circular route.

Your first stop will be the Tokakuji temple, a short walk from the station.
As this is the first temple of the pilgrimage, here you can buy the scroll representing the seven deities that will then be marked at each destination.
This temple houses Fukurokuji, a deity that, as the name suggests, is the god of wisdom, wealth and longevity. Often represented as a bald old man with a incredibly high forehead, he is accompanied by a crane and a turtle, both symbols of longevity. Sometimes a black deer is also present. His statue is placed in the garden at the back of the temple and is open to the public only at New Year’s.

Although the temple is dedicated to Fukurokuji, the first thing that will attract your attention at the entrance will be two Nio statues. These two statues stand guard at the temple also giving their protection to the sick who ask for their help. In fact it is believed that they have healing powers. If you suffer from some illness, buy the appropriate piece of red paper at the temple and attach it to the statue where you feel the pain. The deity will heal you.

Here, you can also buy a map of the walk, to make it easier for you to find the way.

Photo credits: flickr.com - realitycheck2002

The second stop is the Sei'un-ji temple, also known as Hanamidera. As the name suggests, the temple was, and still is today, a particularly suitable destination to see flowers blooming in spring. This is possible thanks to the cherry trees and the azaleas planted here in the 18th century. The temple is dedicated to the god Ebisu, the youngest of the seven, god of commerce and protector of fishermen and workers, but also of young children.

Just a few steps away, there is the third temple of the pilgrimage, the Shusei-in temple that hosts Hotei. This deity, also known as the laughing Buddha, is represented as a bald man, with a round belly and a good-natured smile, who is often surrounded by children. Hotei could be associated with our Santa Claus as he brings gifts that bestows especially to children.
The statue of Hotei in the Shusei-in temple is particularly beautiful. Stop to pray at it, but also to admire the painted murals that characterize the temple.

Photo credits: japantoday.com

A bit more difficult to find is the Choan-ji temple, your next stop.
Here finds his home Jurojin, deity of longevity. Because of the similarities they share even in they way they are represented, Jurojin is often identified with Fukurokuji. But here is also possible to find Itabi, statues erected to preserve the repose of the souls of the dead during the Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1336-1573) period. The Choan-ji temple houses three of them dating back to this period.

After this temple, head to Yanaka Cemetery and your next destination will be the Tennoji temple. It will welcome you with a large statue of a seated Buddha dating back to the late 1600s placed at its entrance. But your main objective will be a small shrine on your right. Here is housed Bishamonte, the warrior god represented with a spear and a pagoda in his hands, symbols of his dual nature. He is the god of warriors who punishes the wicked, and the association with the peaceful preacher Buddha should not surprise you. Bishamonten, also known as Tamonten, is also the protector of the places where Buddha preaches.
The second to last stop of this pilgrimage is the Gokoku-in temple, home of the god Daikokuten, deity of wealth and crops, but also protector of the house and in particular of the kitchen. A particular note goes to a small stage in the courtyard in front of the temple used for representations in honor of the deity.

The last destination, perhaps the most beautiful one, will take you through the Ueno park to reach the Shinobazu pond and the Bentendo temple.
Benten is housed in this temple, goddess of the arts and music. This deity is said to be happier when surrounded by water, which is why the temple is near this pond, and her symbol is a lute. Benten is also the divinity of knowledge and wisdom so, those who wish to succeed at work or in an exam pay a visit to her.
Although the temple is just a modern reconstruction, it remains faithful to the original structure and is particularly recognizable thanks to its bright colors. Dominant are red, white and teal.

Photo credits: flickr.com - Toshihiro Gamo

Here the pilgrimage ends, but along the way there are plenty of distractions that will make your journey even more enjoyable.

Along the walk

Photo credits: Japan Italy Bridge

Along the way you will find a myriad of other small Buddhist and Shinto temples.
Take a stroll through the ancient district of Yanaka Ginza, just behind Nippori station, and stop to eat something at one of the many traditional kiosks in the area.
Just outside Yanaka you will find the small Kyooji temple where you can still see bullet holes on its central gate. These marks seem to date back to the battle of Ueno in 1868, during which the Imperial troops drove away from Edo the troops loyal to the shogun.
Yanaka cemetery will then give you a place to stop and rest. A place of peace that will surprise you even more during the cherry blossom.
And don’t forget the Ueno Park, a little ‘green jewel’ in the heart of Tokyo. A destination renowned for its wonderful cherry blossom and the famous Ueno Zoo with its pandas.

Photo credits: Japan Italy Bridge

In the park, among other temples, there is also the Toshogu shrine with its pagoda, that is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Between April and May it will also be possible to enter the beautiful garden that houses a small but impressive peony collection, one of the most loved flowers in Japan.

There are also museums and traditional shops, on a journey to discover a Tokyo that is a little bit different from what we are used to, but certainly equally fascinating.[:]


[:it]Japan Modern Culture: Kimi no Na wa - Your Name[:en]Japan Modern Culture: Kimi no Na wa - Your Name[:]

[:it]

Kimi no Na wa - Your Name

Photo credits: Tumblr.com

Your name (titolo originale: 君の名は。- Kimi no Na wa.) è il fortunato film d'animazione giapponese diretto da Makoto Shinkai e prodotto dalla CoMix Wave Films. Tra il 2016, anno di rilascio, e il 2017 ha sbancato i botteghini non solo in Giappone ma in tutto il mondo.
L’opera ha i tratti di una storia d'amore adolescenziale, ma anche del thriller fantascientifico intriso di riferimenti alle tradizioni e alla cultura giapponese. Con continui cambi di prospettiva e balzi temporali, una animazione vivida e avvolgente, una colonna sonora che accompagna le scene e ne sottolinea i dettagli, Your name ha saputo conquistare milioni di fan.

La Storia

Photo credits: www.zerochan.net

Il centro della storia sono due ragazzi delle scuole superiori, Mitsuha Miyamizu e Taki Tachibana.
Mitsuha vive nel piccolo villaggio montano di Itomori nei pressi di Tokyo e ama passare il suo tempo con i suoi due amici Sayaka e Tessie. Ha una sorella più piccola e un padre, politico locale, che sembra essere poco interessato a loro. La madre invece è morta e le due sorelle vivono con la loro nonna. Mitsuha, come la nonna, è destinata a diventare una miko, sacerdotessa del tempio locale di cui la sua famiglia è custode. Ma è una vita che le sta stretta, oltre a causarle un pò di imbarazzo con i compagni. Ciò che desidera è trasferirsi nella sfavillante metropoli e vivere come una ragazza normale, anzi di essere nella prossima vita un bel ragazzo di Tokyo.

Taki invece vive proprio nel centro di Tokyo e conduce una vita normale divisa tra scuola, amici e il suo lavoro part-time. Nel tempo libero infatti fa il cameriere in un ristorante italiano, Il giardino delle parole, nome che è un chiaro riferimento ad una precedente opera di Shinkai. E' un ragazzo un pò irruento ma in fondo gentile che aspira a diventare architetto. Come gli altri colleghi di lavoro, è innamorato della bella collega Miki Okudera.

Un giorno però, la vita dei due protagonisti, che vivono senza sapere dell'esistenza l'uno dell'altra, viene sconvolta da qualcosa di impensabile. In quella che sembrava una mattina come tutte le altre i due si ritrovano, senza una spiegazione plausibile, a scambiarsi di corpo. Questi scambi continueranno per diverso tempo tanto che, superata l'iniziale sorpresa, i due cercano di adattarsi alla nuova condizione. Comunicando soprattutto tramite un diario sui rispettivi cellulari in un certo senso si aiuteranno a vicenda. Mitsuha, con il suo lato dolce e affabile, aiuterà Taki ad avere un appuntamento con la collega di cui è innamorato. Taki invece, con il suo temperamento, aiuterà Mitsuha ad affrontare i suoi compagni di scuola e ad essere più sicura di se. Non ci vorrà molto perché i due, pur non essendosi mai incontrati, comincino a provare qualcosa l’uno per l’altra.

Photo credits: twitter.com

Un giorno Mitsuha racconta a Taki di una cometa che passerà sui cieli del Giappone proprio nel giorno del suo appuntamento con la bella Okudera. Ad Itomori è il giorno della festa d'autunno. Il ragazzo non capisce di cosa parli ma quando cerca per la prima volta di chiamare il cellulare di Mitsuha, il suo tentativo fallisce. Capisce che per loro non è più possibile scambiarsi i corpi e decide quindi di andare ad incontrarla di persona.
Quando finalmente scopre il nome del villaggio, scopre anche che era stato distrutto tre anni prima. Un frammento della cometa Tiamat era precipitato su Itomori, distruggendo quasi completamente il villaggio ed uccidendo un terzo degli abitanti, tra i quali anche Mitsuha.
Taki si reca allora al santuario del dio protettore locale, Musubi, sulla cima del monte Hida poco fuori dal villaggio. Dopo essere entrato nel luogo sacro decide di bere il Kuchikamizake, il sake preparato da Mitsuha e che lui stesso, nei panni di lei, aveva lasciato lì come offerta trovandosi di fatto a viaggiare indietro nel tempo. Rivede il passato di Mitsuha e si risveglia ancora una volta nel corpo della ragazza, poco prima della caduta della cometa. Consapevole di ciò che accadrà Taki fa di tutto per far si che gli abitanti del villaggio si rendano conto del pericolo. Ma sa anche che quella è la sua ultima occasione per vedere Mitsuha. Corre quindi ad incontrare la ragazza in cima al monte Hida, dove il suo corpo del futuro era rimasto. Qui, i due protagonisti riescono a vedersi, per pochi istanti, prima che le loro memorie vengano cancellate. L’impegno dei due giovani salva il villaggio cambiando così il corso della storia, ma allo stesso tempo lascia in loro un senso di vuoto. Questo distacco da qualcosa a cui non sanno dare né un nome né un volto li spinge a cercarsi pur non avendo più memoria l’uno dell’altra.

Il Successo

Photo credits: one--anime.blogspot.it

Il film, proiettato in anteprima nel luglio 2016 in occasione dell'Anime Expo di Los Angeles, è stato poi distribuito nelle sale cinematografiche Giapponesi a partire da agosto. Da subito acclamato come un capolavoro, nella sua marcia trionfale ha attraversato ben 92 paesi incassando più di 355 milioni di dollari. Questo lo rende il primo anime per numero di incassi nella storia. Un traguardo che nemmeno gli autori stessi si aspettavano di raggiungere.
Questo successo commerciale lo ha reso il secondo film di animazione di maggior successo in patria dopo la Città incantata di Hayao Miyazaki. È in oltre il quarto film più visto secondo solo a Titanic e Frozen. Ma si è anche guadagnato la posizione di film di animazione giapponese più visto in diversi altri paesi del mondo.

Per quanto riguarda l’Italia, il primo trailer in lingua italiana è stato trasmesso solo dal 6 dicembre 2016. Successivamente, il film è stato proiettato in circa 160 sale dal 23 al 25 gennaio 2017 grazie a una collaborazione fra Dynit e Nexo Digital. Il successo di incassi è stato tale che ne sono state fatte diverse repliche, con un incasso totale è stato di circa 700.000 euro.

A guardare questi numeri non stupisce che il direttore Shinkai sia stato definito da alcuni come il successore di Hayao Miyazaki. Titolo che l’interessato ha molto umilmente rifiutato affermato di non esserne all'altezza

Temi e Simbologia

Photo credits: instarix.com

L'ispirazione per la storia è arrivata all'autore da opere quali Inside Mari di Shūzō Oshimi o Ranma ½, così come anche da opere classiche come il Torikaebaya Monogatari risalente al periodo Heian (794 - 1185). Ma un'altra fonte di ispirazione per l'autore pare essere stato un antico poema della poetessa Ono no Komachi, che visse tra l’800 e il 900.
In una sua poesia la donna scrisse : "Forse ero assorta in pensieri d'amore quando chiusi gli occhi? Lui comparve. Se avessi saputo che era un sogno non mi sarei svegliata."

E in effetti più che scambiarsi di corpo i due protagonisti di Your name sognano l’uno dell’altra. Ciò è possibile perchè Mitsuha è una sacerdotessa devota al dio Musubi, la divinità che governa le esperienze e le connessioni umane. Quando Taki nel corpo di Mitsuha si rivela alla nonna, l’anziana donna non ne sembra sconvolta, anzi. Lei stessa infatti ne aveva avuto esperienza trattandosi di un particolare potere della famiglia, pur non ricordando più il ragazzo nei suoi sogni.

Photo credits: forum.gamer.com.tw

Il tempio, situato in cima ad una montagna che sembra essere il cratere di una precedente apparizione della cometa, rappresenta un luogo sacro. Rappresenta il confine tra il regno degli dei e quello terreno, tra il regno dei vivi e quello dei morti. Per entrarvi, bisogna lasciare una parte di sé, e Mitsuha lascerà una parte di sè nel sake da lei preparato. La creazione del Kuchikamizake è una tradizione di famiglia Miyamizu, assieme alle danze tradizionali e all'intreccio dei fili. È un particolare metodo di creazione del sake che prevede la masticazione del riso per attivarne la fermentazione.

Sono molto importanti a questo proposito le parole pronunciate dalla nonna di Mitsuha:
“Musubi, è l’antico nome del dio guardiano di questi luoghi.
Intrecciare i fili è Musubi.
Il legame tra le persone è Musubi.
Lo scorrere del tempo è Musubi
Tutto questo è parte del potere della divinità.
I fili intrecciati che fabbrichiamo sono un dono della divinità e rappresentano lo scorrere del tempo stesso.
Essi convergono e prendono forma. Si curvano, si intrecciano. A volte si sciolgono, si rompono, e poi si riconnettono di nuovo.
Questo è Musubi. Questo è il tempo.
Musubi è anche condividere qualcosa con qualcuno.”

Queste parole, oltre a rappresentare un concetto spirituale molto profondo, rendono anche la forza del gesto compiuto da Taki quando beve il sake preparato da Mitsuha. Questo gesto infatti è un atto simbolico di connessione profonda in cui il giovane assume in sé una parte di Mitsuha e del suo potere spirituale permettendogli così di incontrarsi.

Photo credits: fakemorisummer.wordpress.com

Altrettanto simbolico è il fatto che i due giovani si incontrino al tramonto. Secondo le antiche leggende infatti, il tramonto è il momento in cui il confine tra il mondo degli spiriti e quello terreno si fa più labile. Ed è per questo che i giovani possono finalmente incontrarsi pur essendo Mitsuha morta 3 anni prima. I due dovendo però sacrificare i loro ricordi per poter tornare nel mondo terreno.
Un’altra leggenda giapponese trova spazio nella storia. Taki e Mitsuha sembrano infatti essere altresì legati da quello che molti conoscono come il ‘filo rosso del destino’ che si dice leghi due persone destinate a stare insieme. Filo rosso simboleggiato in questo caso da un laccetto che la stessa Mitsuha aveva realizzato e poi donato a Taki.

Shinkai, che come abbiamo detto non si aspettava il successo di pubblico planetario, ha affermato che era nelle suo intenzioni creare un film che avesse come target i giovani giapponesi. Voleva creare qualcosa che li spingesse a credere nel loro futuro.
Lui stesso ha detto: "Ho creato questo film sperando che il pubblico giovane potesse credere nel fatto che 'forse c'è quel qualcuno nella mia vita che magari non ho ancora incontrato, ma che potrei incontrare domani, o in futuro.' "

Photo credits: www.amazon.co.jp

Un altro tema importante affrontato dal film è quello della giustapposizione tra la piccola città rurale e la grande metropoli Tokyo, qualcosa che l'autore stesso ha sperimentato. Cresciuto infatti in un piccolo villaggio, si è poi trasferito a Tokyo, cosa che accomuna molti giovani giapponesi.
Qui vediamo Mitsuha, vive immersa nelle tradizioni locali, ma desidera la vita di città, mentre Taki, immerso nella vita di città, impara ad apprezzare il passato e le tradizioni.
Ancora una volta sono le parole della nonna a venirci in aiuto: "Anche se le parole sono andate perdute è importante mantenere le tradizioni ". Con questo sembra volerci ricordare da dove veniamo, contrapponendosi al figlio, politico locale corrotto, che ha scelto di abbandonare completamente il tempio.
Le antiche tradizioni rappresentano il sostrato fondante della comunità, ciò su cui il presente si basa e che lega tutte le persone insieme. E quello che le rende capaci di affrontare anche i periodi più bui.
Il giappone non è estraneo ai disastri naturali, basti ricordare il recente terremoto del 2011, o il grande terremoto del Kanto del 1923. E come dimenticare il disastro atomico che pose fine alla seconda guerra mondiale. Da tutto questo, il Giappone ha sempre trovato il modo di ripartire, ponendo un interesse sopra gli altri: come impedire che ciò che è accaduto una volta accada ancora. Non c'è da stupirsi allora che in questo film i due protagonisti cerchino di impedire quello che sarebbe una vera e propria tragedia.
L'obiettivo del film è quello di dare speranza, ma invita anche a non dimenticare mai le proprie radici e l'unione spirituale che esse possono creare.
Potremmo affermare quindi che Your name abbia una funzione quasi catartica per chi lo guarda.

Punti di Forza

Photo credits:  Lovejude

Che siate tra coloro a cui il film è piaciuto o meno, Your Name ha sicuramente diversi punti di forza oggettivi.
Primo fra tutti l'animazione e la resa molto realistica delle ambientazioni, come è nello stile dell'autore del resto. I paesaggi sono descritti nei minimi dettagli e i colori sono caldi e brillanti. Le immagini sono così vivide da trasmettere, anche solo con i loro colori, le emozioni vive e pure dei protagonisti, contribuendo quindi alla funzione catartica del film.
Pregevole è anche la colonna sonora che è stata composta dal vocalist della rock band giapponese Radwimps, Yojiro Noda.
A Noda, caldamente voluto dallo stesso Shinkai, è stata fatta una sola richiesta : “fare in modo che la musica fosse un complemento al dialogo o al monologo dei personaggi".
E considerati i risultati possiamo dire che proprio questa colonna sonora rappresenti una delle chiavi del successo di questo film.

Questo mondo sembra volermi tenere buono
Come desideri allora, io mi dibatterò splendidamente.
Your Name Theme song - Yojiro Noda

Eppure, nonostante le critiche positive, Shinkai ha affermato che il film è in realtà non è così riuscito come lo aveva pensato. La mancanza di tempo e di fondi lo hanno costretto a consegnare al pubblico un opera che lui stesso definisce incompleta.
Ha infatti affermato : "Ci sono cose che non abbiamo potuto fare, Masashi Ando (direttore dell’animazione) avrebbe voluto continuare a lavorarci ma ci siamo dovuti fermare per mancanza di tempo e soldi…. Per me è un lavoro incompleto, sbilanciato. La trama va bene ma non è perfetta. Due anni non sono stati sufficienti."

Prodotti correlati e remake

Photo credits: Amazon.co.jp

Oltre al film, i prodotti correlati a Your Name comprendono altre opere, tra un romanzo, manga, guide al film e cd. Nel solo mese di dicembre 2016, le vendite di questi prodotti sono ammontate a circa 2,5 milioni di copie.
Il romanzo e il manga omonimi in italia sono editi dalla casa editrice J-Pop. Il film in versione Blu-ray e DVD normale, rilasciato nel luglio 2016, è arrivato in Italia nel novembre 2017.
Le vendite hanno confermato il successo delle sale cinematografiche.

Lo scorso settembre è stato anche annunciato che Kimi no na wa avrà presto un adattamento cinematografico hollywoodiano.
Il produttore scelto altri non è che J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Mission impossible). L'annuncio ha già scatenato i molti fan del film ma anche i semplici curiosi. Molte sono le voci preoccupate che questo adattamento possa stravolgere quello che a tutti gli effetti viene considerato un capolavoro.
E i precedenti non sembrano giocare a favore di questo live action. E’ ancora recente la notizia che il direttore del remake Netflix di Death Note abbia dovuto chiudere il suo account Twitter dopo essere stato attaccato duramente per il lavoro svolto. Duri attacchi sono stati riservati anche ad un altra opera di animazione molto amata, Ghost in the shell, il cui film con Scarlett Johansson non ha proprio soddisfatto i fan.
Kimi no na wa certo non è un film semplice da adattare in ambientazione occidentale per via dei suoi numerosi richiami a particolari ambientazioni e a particolari riferimenti culturali e religiosi. Si pensi a Mitsuha e alla sua famiglia, custodi del tempio del dio Musubi e delle antiche tradizioni del villaggio.
Per quanto riguarda i luoghi invece, oltre ad Itomori che è un villaggio di fantasia, ci sono delle città reali. Non solo Tokyo, ma anche Hida, e lo stesso lago di Itomori è ispirato ad un famoso lago giapponese, il lago Suwa.
Solo il tempo ci dirà quale sarà il futuro di questo adattamento.

Trailer italiano:


[:en]

Kimi no Na wa - Your Name

Photo credits: Tumblr.com

Your Name (original title: 君の名は。- Kimi no Na wa.) is the popular Japanese animated film directed by Makoto Shinkai and produced by CoMix Wave Films. Between 2016, year of the release, and 2017 it has become a big box-office hit not only in Japan but all over the world.
The work has the traits of a teenage love story, but also that of a sci-fi thriller with references to Japanese traditions and culture. With continuous changes of perspective and time, a vivid and enveloping animation, a soundtrack that accompanies scenes and underlines every detail, Your Name has won millions of fans over.

The Plot

Photo credits: www.zerochan.net

The focus of the story is two high school kids, Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana.
Mitsuha lives in the small mountain village of Itomori, near Tokyo, and loves spending her time with her two friends Sayaka and Tessie. She has a younger sister and a father, a local politician, who seems to care little for them. Their mother died and the two sisters live with their grandmother. Mitsuha, like her grandmother, is destined to become a Miko, a priestess of the local temple of which her family is the guardian. But this kind of life doesn’t suit her, as well as causing her a bit of embarrassment with her schoolmates. What she really wants is to move to the glittering metropolis and live like a normal girl, or better, be reborn as a handsome boy from Tokyo.

Taki, on the other hand, lives right in the centre of Tokyo and leads a normal life with his school duties, friends and his part-time job. In his free time, he works as a waiter in an Italian restaurant, Il Giardino Delle parole (The garden of words), a name that is a clear reference to Shinkai’s previous work. He is a bit impulsive but still kind at heart, and hopes to become an architect in the future. Like the other male coworkers, he is in love with his beautiful colleague Miki Okudera.

One day, however, the life of the two protagonists, who live without knowing of each other's existence, is overturned by something unbelievable. In what seemed like a normal morning, the two find out they have switched their bodies without any plausible explanation. These exchanges will continue for some time and after the initial surprise, the two try to adapt to their new condition. Communicating mainly through a diary on their cell phones they will, in a way, help each other. Mitsuha, with her sweet and affable side, will help Taki to have a date with the colleague he is in love with. Taki, with his temperament, will help Mitsuha face his classmates and become more self-confident. It will not take long before they begin to feel something for each other, even though they have actually never met.

 

Photo credits: twitter.com

One day Mitsuha tells Taki about a comet that will pass by on the day of his date with the beautiful Okudera. At Itomori, that will be the day of the autumn festival. The boy does not understand what she's talking about but, when he tries to call Mitsuha on the phone for the first time, his attempt fails. He understands that for them it is no longer possible to switch bodies and so he decides to go and meet her in person. When he finally discovers the name of her village, he also finds out that it had been destroyed three years before. A fragment of the comet Tiamat had fallen on Itomori destroying the village almost completely and killing a third of the inhabitants, Mitsuha as well.
Taki then goes to the sanctuary of the local guardian god, Musubi, on top of Mount Hida just outside the village. After entering the holy place he decides to drink the Kuchikamizake, the sake prepared by Mitsuha and that he himself, with her body, had left there as an offer. This allows him to actually travel back in time. He sees Mitsuha's past and wakes up in the girl's body again, just before the comet's fall. Aware of what will soon happen Taki does everything to ensure that the inhabitants of the village recognise the danger themselves. But he also knows that this is his last chance to see Mitsuha. He runs to meet the girl at the top of Mount Hida, where his body of the future had been left. Here, the two protagonists can see each other, for a few moments, before their memories are erased. Their commitment saves the village thus changing the course of history, but at the same time leaves a sense of emptiness inside of theme. A hole left from something to which they can not give either a name or a face that urges them to look for each other, even if they have no recollection of what had happened.

The Success

Photo credits: one--anime.blogspot.it

The film, which premiered in July 2016 at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, was then released in Japanese cinemas starting from August that year. Immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece, in the triumphal march it reached 92 countries, earning more than 355 million dollars. This makes it the number 1 highest-grossing-anime in history. A goal that even authors themselves did not expect to reach.
This commercial success made it the 2nd-highest-grossing film of all time in Japan after Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. It is also the 4th highest-grossing film after Titanic and Frozen. It has also earned the title of most watched Japanese anime in several other countries of the world.

As for Italy, the first Italian trailer was released only on December 6, 2016. Subsequently, the film was screened in about 160 theatres from 23 to 25, January 2017 thanks to a collaboration between Dynit and Nexo Digital. The success at the box-office was so great that several other dates were decided, bringing in a gross income of around 700,000 euros.

Looking at these numbers, it’s no surprise that director Shinkai has been sometimes referred to as Hayao Miyazaki’s successor; a title that the person himself has humbly refused saying he does not deserve it.

Themes and Symbolism

Photo credits: instarix.com

The inspiration for the story came to the author from works such as Inside Mari by Shūzō Oshimi, Ranma ½, as well as from classical works such as the Torikaebaya Monogatari dating back to the Heian period (794-1185). Another source of inspiration for the author seems to have been an ancient poem by the poet Ono no Komachi, who lived between 800 and 900. In one of her poems, the woman wrote: "Before I slept I thought of him, and into the dream he strayed. Had I known it was a dream, in the dream I would have stayed."

In fact, rather than swapping, the two protagonists of Your Name dream of each other. This is possible because Mitsuha is a priestess devoted to the God Musubi, the deity that governs experiences and human connections. When Taki, in Mitsuha's body, reveals himself to her grandmother, the old woman does not seem so surprised. Indeed, she herself had experienced the same thing since it is a particular family power, even though she no longer remembered the boy in her dreams.

Photo credits: forum.gamer.com.tw

Located at the top of a mountain that appears to be the crater caused by a previous appearance of the comet, the temple is a sacred place. It represents the boundary between the kingdom of Gods and Earth, between the realm of the living and that of the dead. To return to the mortal world you have to leave a part of yourself, and Mitsuha left a part of herself in the sake she prepared. The creation of the Kuchikamizake is a family tradition, along with traditional dances and braiding threads. It is a particular method of creating sake which involves chewing rice to activate its fermentation.

In this regard, Mitsuha grandmother’s words are very important:
“Musubi is the old way of calling the local guardian kami.
Tying thread is Musubi. Connecting people is Musubi.
These are all the kami’s power.
So the braided cords that we make are the kami’s art and represent the flow of time itself.
They converge and take shape. They twist, tangle, sometimes unravel, break, then connect again.
Musubi-knotting. That’s time.
Musubi is also sharing something with others”

These words not only represent a very profound spiritual concept but also make us understand the power of Taki’s gesture when he drinks the sake prepared by Mitsuha. In fact, this gesture is a symbolic act of profound connection in which the young man assumes in himself a part of Mitsuha and of her spiritual power, allowing him to meet her as well.

Photo credits: fakemorisummer.wordpress.com

Equally symbolic is the fact that the two of them meet at sunset. In fact, according to ancient legends sunset is the moment when the boundary between the world of the spirits and the world of the humans fades for a short moment and that is why they can finally meet, even though Mitsuha had died 3 years before. The two, however, had to sacrifice their memories in order to return to the earthly world.
Another Japanese legend finds its space in the story. Taki and Mitsuha seem to be linked by what many know as the 'red thread of fate’ that is said to tie two people destined to be together. The red thread that, in this case, is symbolized a thread that Mitsuha herself had made and then gave to Taki.

Shinkai, who as we said before did not expect the worldwide success it had in terms of audience, said that it was his intention to create a film that targeted Japanese youth. He wanted to create something that would push them to believe in their future.
He said: "I created this movie hoping that younger audiences would believe that ‘maybe there is the one in my life I might have not met yet but hopefully will see tomorrow or in the future.’ "

Photo credits: www.amazon.co.jp

Another important issue addressed by the film is the juxtaposition between the small rural village and the great metropolis of Tokyo, something that the author himself has experienced. In fact, he grew up in a small village and later moved to Tokyo, which is common to many young Japanese people.
Here we see Mitsuha, she lives immersed in local traditions but yearns for the city life; and we see Taki, immersed in city life, that learns to appreciate the past and traditions.
Once again, it is the grandmother's words that help us: "Even if the words have been lost, it is important to preserve these traditions". With this, it looks like she wants us to remember where we come from, in opposition to her son, a corrupt local politician who chose to abandon the temple completely.
Ancient traditions represent the founding substratum of a community, what the present is based on and which binds people together. And also what enables them to face even the darkest times.
Japan is no stranger to natural disasters, just remember the recent earthquake in 2011 or the great Kanto earthquake in 1923. And how to forget the atomic disaster that put an end to the Second World War. In all these occasions Japan has always found a way to start anew, placing one interest over the others: what can we do to prevent this from happening again. No wonder then that in this film the two protagonists try to prevent what would have been a real tragedy.
The goal of the film is to give hope but at the same time, it also invites us to never forget our roots and the spiritual union that they can create.
We could, therefore, say that Your name has a cathartic function for viewers.

Strong Points

Photo credits: Lovejude

Whether you are among those who liked the film or not, Your Name certainly has several objectively strong points.
First of all is the animation and the extremely realistic rendering of its setting. It is, after all, the style of its author. The film’s landscapes are described in detail and the colors are warm and bright. The images are so vivid that they are able to convey, simply by colour, the intense and pure emotions of the protagonists, thus contributing to the cathartic function of the film.
Also worthy of mention is the soundtrack that was composed by the vocalist of the Japanese rock band Radwimps, Yojiro Noda.
Noda, specially requested by Shinkai himself, had only one request to respond to :
“make it in a way that the music will (supplement) the dialogue or monologue of the characters".
And considering the results we can say that this soundtrack is one of the keys to the success of the film..

This world seems like it still wants to keep me tamed
As you wish, then- I'll struggle beautifully.
Your Name Theme song - Yojiro Noda

Yet despite the positive critics, Shinkai claimed that the film is actually not as good as he had thought. The lack of time and funds forced him to deliver to the public a work that he himself calls incomplete. He stated : "There are things we could not do, Masashi Ando [Director of animation] wanted to keep working [on] but we had to stop for lack of money ... For me, it’s incomplete, unbalanced. The plot is fine but the film is not at all perfect. Two years were not enough."

Related Products and Remake

Photo credits: Amazon.co.jp

In addition to the film, products related to Your Name include other works, such as a novel, manga, film guides and CDs. In December 2016 alone, the sales of these products amounted to around 2.5 million copies.
The novel and manga of the same name were published in Italy by the J-Pop publishing. The Blu-ray and normal DVD versions, released in July 2016, arrived in Italy in November 2017.
Sales confirmed the success in cinemas.

Last September it was also announced that Your Name will soon have a Hollywood live-action adaptation.
The chosen producer is none other than J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Mission impossible). The announcement has already triggered reactions from many people, both fans of the film and those who are simply curious. There are many who voiced worries that this adaptation could overturn what is already considered as a masterpiece.
Records do not seem to play in favour of this live-action. It is still recent news that the director of Death Note's Netflix remake had to close his Twitter account after being strongly attacked for his work. Attacks that did not spare another adaptation of the popular anime Ghost in the shell, whose film starring Scarlett Johansson did not satisfy its fans.
Your Name is certainly not an easy film to adapt to the western setting because of its numerous references to particular places and cultural and religious concepts that are specific to Japan. Just consider Mitsuha and her family, the guardians of the shrine of the deity Musubi, and the ancient traditions of the village.
As for places, in addition to Itomori which is a fantasy village, there are real cities. Not only Tokyo, but also Hida, and that the Itomori Lake itself is inspired by a famous Japanese lake, Lake Suwa.
Only time will tell us how this adaptation will turn out, and needless to say, we, as well as the fans, will be keeping our eyes peeled for it.

Trailer:

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva[:ja]

Kimi no Na wa - Your Name

Photo credits: Tumblr.com

Your name (original title: 君の名は。- Kimi no Na wa.) is the popular Japanese animated film directed by Makoto Shinkai and produced by CoMix Wave Films. Between 2016, year of the release, and 2017 it has become a big box-office hit not only in Japan but all over the world.
The work has the traits of a teenage love story, but also that of a sci-fi thriller with references to Japanese traditions and culture. With continuous changes of perspective and time, a vivid and enveloping animation, a soundtrack that accompanies scenes and underlines every detail, Your name has won millions of fans over.

The Plot

Photo credits: www.zerochan.net

Focus of the story are two high school kids, Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana.
Mitsuha lives in the small mountain village of Itomori, near Tokyo, and loves spending her time with her two friends Sayaka and Tessie. She has a younger sister and a father, a local politician, who seems to care little for them. Their mother died and the two sisters live with their grandmother. Mitsuha, like her grandmother, is destined to become a Miko, a priestess of the local temple of which her family is the guardian. But this kind of life doesn’t suit her, as well as causing her a bit of embarrassment with her schoolmates. What she really wants is to move to the glittering metropolis and live like a normal girl, or better, be reborn as handsome boy from Tokyo.

Taki, on the other hand, lives right in the center of Tokyo and leads a normal life with his school duties, friends and his part-time job. In his free time he works as a waiter in an Italian restaurant, Il giardino delle parole (The garden of words), a name that is a clear reference to Shinkai’s previous work. He is a bit impulsive but still kind at heart, and hopes to become an architect in the future. Like the other male coworkers, he is in love with his beautiful colleague Miki Okudera.

One day, however, the life of the two protagonists, who live without knowing of each other's existence, is overturned by something unbelievable. In what seemed like a normal morning, the two find out they have switched their bodies without any plausible explanation. These exchanges will continue for some time so that, after the initial surprise, the two try to adapt to their new condition. Communicating mainly through a diary on their cell phones they will in a way help each other. Mitsuha, with her sweet and affable side, will help Taki to have a date with the colleague he is in love with. Taki, with his temperament, will help Mitsuha face his classmates and become more self-confident. It will not take long before they begin to feel something for each other, even though they have actually never met.

 

Photo credits: twitter.com

One day Mitsuha tells Taki about a comet that will pass by on the day of his date with the beautiful Okudera. At Itomori, that will be the day of the autumn festival. The boy does not understand what she's talking about but, when he tries to call Mitsuha on the phone for the first time, his attempt fails. He understands that for them it is no longer possible to switch bodies and so he decides to go and meet her in person. When he finally discovers the name of her village, he also finds out that it had been destroyed three years before. A fragment of the comet Tiamat had fallen on Itomori destroying the village almost completely and killing a third of the inhabitants, Mitsuha as well.
Taki then goes to the sanctuary of the local guardian god, Musubi, on top of Mount Hida just outside the village. After entering the holy place he decides to drink the Kuchikamizake, the sake prepared by Mitsuha and that he himself, with her body, had left there as an offer. This allows him to actually travel back in time. He sees Mitsuha's past and wakes up in the girl's body again, just before the comet's fall. Aware of what will soon happen Taki does everything to ensure that the inhabitants of the village recognise the danger themselves. But he also knows that this is his last chance to see Mitsuha. He runs to meet the girl at the top of Mount Hida, where his body of the future had been left. Here, the two protagonists can see each other, for a few moments, before their memories are erased. Their commitment saves the village thus changing the course of history, but at the same time leaves a sense of emptiness inside of theme. A hole left from something to which they can not give either a name or a face that urges them to look for each other, even if they have no recollection of what had happened.

The Success

Photo credits: one--anime.blogspot.it

The film, which premiered in July 2016 at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, was then released in Japanese cinemas starting from August that year. Immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece, in its triumphal march it reached 92 countries, earning more than 355 million dollars. This makes it the 1st-highest-grossing-anime in history. A goal that even authors themselves did not expect to reach.
This commercial success made it the 2nd-highest-grossing film of all time in Japan after Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. It also is 4th-highest-grossing film after Titanic and Frozen. But it has also earned the position of most watched Japanese anime in several other countries of the world.

As for Italy, the first Italian trailer was released only on December 6, 2016. Subsequently, the film was screened in about 160 theaters from 23 to 25, January 2017 thanks to a collaboration between Dynit and Nexo Digital. The success at the box-office was so great that several other dates were decided, with a total income of around 700,000 euros.

Looking at these numbers, it’s no surprise that director Shinkai has been sometimes referred to as Hayao Miyazaki’s successor. Title that the person himself has humbly refused saying he does not deserve it.

Themes and Symbolism

Photo credits: instarix.com

The inspiration for the story came to the author from works such as Inside Mari by Shūzō Oshimi or Ranma ½, as well as from classical works such as the Torikaebaya Monogatari dating back to the Heian period (794-1185). But another source of inspiration for the author seems to have been an ancient poem by the poet Ono no Komachi, who lived between 800 and 900. In one of her poems the woman wrote: "Before I slept I thought of him, and into the dream he strayed. Had I known it was a dream, in the dream I would have stayed."

And in fact, rather than swapping, the two protagonists of Your Name dream of each other. This is possible because Mitsuha is a priestess devoted to the God Musubi, the deity that governs experiences and human connections. When Taki, in Mitsuha's body, reveals himself to her grandmother, the old woman does not seem so surprised. Indeed, she herself had experienced the same thing, being it a particular family power, even though she no longer remembered the boy in her dreams.

Photo credits: forum.gamer.com.tw

Located at the top of a mountain that appears to be the crater caused by a previous appearance of the comet, the temple is a sacred place. It represents the boundary between the kingdom of Gods and Earth, between the realm of the living and that of the dead. To return to the mortal world you have to leave a part of yourself, and Mitsuha left a part of herself in the sake she prepared. The creation of the Kuchikamizake is a family tradition, along with traditional dances and braiding threads. It is a particular method of creating sake which involves chewing rice to activate its fermentation.

In this regard, Mitsuha grandmother’s words are very important:
“Musubi is the old way of calling the local guardian kami.
Tying thread is Musubi. Connecting people is Musubi.
These are all the kami’s power.
So the braided cords that we make are the kami’s art and represent the flow of time itself.
They converge and take shape. They twist, tangle, sometimes unravel, break, then connect again.
Musubi-knotting. That’s time.
Musubi is also sharing something with others”

These words not only represent a very profound spiritual concept, but also make us understand the power of Taki’s gesture when he drinks the sake prepared by Mitsuha. In fact, this gesture is a symbolic act of profound connection in which the young man assumes in himself a part of Mitsuha and of her spiritual power, allowing him to meet her as well.

Photo credits: fakemorisummer.wordpress.com

Equally symbolic is the fact that the two of them meet at sunset. In fact, according to ancient legends sunset is the moment when the boundary between the world of the spirits and the world of the humans fades for a short moment. And that's why they can finally meet, even though Mitsuha had died 3 years before. The two, however, have to sacrifice their memories in order to return to the earthly world.
Another Japanese legend finds its space in the story. Taki and Mitsuha seem to be linked by what many know as the 'red thread of fate’ that is said to tie two people destined to be together. Red thread that, in this case, is symbolized a thread that Mitsuha herself had made and then gave to Taki.

Shinkai, who as we said before did not expect the worldwide success it had in terms of audience, said that it was his intention to create a film that targeted Japanese youth. He wanted to create something that would push them to believe in their future.
He said: "I created this movie hoping that younger audiences would believe that ‘maybe there is the one in my life I might have not met yet but hopefully will see tomorrow or in the future.’ "

Photo credits: www.amazon.co.jp

Another important issue addressed by the film is the juxtaposition between the small rural village and the great metropolis of Tokyo, something that the author himself has experienced. In fact, he grew up in a small village and later moved to Tokyo, which is common to many young Japanese people.
Here we see Mitsuha, she lives immersed in local traditions but yearns for the city life; and we see Taki, immersed in city life, that learns to appreciate the past and traditions.
Once again, it is the grandmother's words that help us: "Even if the words have been lost, it is important to preserve these traditions". With this, it looks like she want us to remember where we come from, in opposition to her son, a corrupt local politician who chose to abandon the temple completely.
Ancient traditions represent the founding substratum of a community, what the present is based on and which binds people together. And also what enables them to face even the darkest times.
Japan is no stranger to natural disasters, just remember the recent earthquake in 2011, or the great Kanto earthquake in 1923. And how to forget the atomic disaster that put an end to Second World War. In all these occasions Japan has always found the way to start anew, placing one interest over the others: what can we do to prevent this from happening again. No wonder then that in this film the two protagonists try to prevent what would have been a real tragedy.
The goal of the film is to give hope, but also invites us to never forget our roots and the spiritual union that they can create.
We could therefore say that Your name has a cathartic function for the viewer.

Strong Points

Photo credits: Lovejude

Whether you are among those who liked the film or not, Your Name certainly has several objective strong points.
First of all, the animation and the extremely realistic render of setting, as it is in the style of the author after all. The film’s landscapes are described in every detail and the colors are warm and bright. The images are so vivid that are able to convey, even with their colors only, the intense and pure emotions of the protagonists, thus contributing to the cathartic function of the film.
Also worthy of mention is the soundtrack that was composed by the vocalist of the Japanese rock band Radwimps, Yojiro Noda.
Noda, specially requested by Shinkai himself, had only one request to respond to :
“make it in a way that the music will (supplement) the dialogue or monologue of the characters".
And considering the results we can say that this soundtrack is one of the keys to the success of the film..

This world seems like it still wants to keep me tamed
As you wish, then- I'll struggle beautifully.
Your Name Theme song - Yojiro Noda

Yet despite the positive critics, Shinkai claimed that the film is actually not as good as he had thought. The lack of time and funds forced him to deliver to the public a work that he himself calls incomplete. He stated : "There are things we could not do, Masashi Ando [Director of animation] wanted to keep working [on] but we had to stop for lack of money ... For me it’s incomplete, unbalanced. The plot is fine but the film is not at all perfect. Two years were not enough."

Related Products and Remake

Photo credits: Amazon.co.jp

In addition to the film, products related to Your Name include other works, such as a novel, manga, film guides and CDs. In December 2016 alone, the sales of these products amounted to around 2.5 million copies.
The novel and manga of the same name are published in Italy by the J-Pop publishing. The Blu-ray and normal DVD versions, released in July 2016, arrived in Italy in November 2017.
Sales confirmed the success in cinemas.

Last September it was also announced that Kimi no na wa will soon have a Hollywood live action adaptation.
The chosen producer is none other than J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Mission impossible). The announcement has already triggered the reaction of many people, both fans of the film and those who are simply curious. There are many voices worried that this adaptation could overturn what is considered a masterpiece.
And records do not seem to play in favor of this live action. It is still recent news that the director of Death Note's Netflix remake had to close his Twitter account after being strongly attacked for his work. Attacks that did not spare another adaptation of the popular anime Ghost in the shell, whose film with Scarlett Johansson did not really satisfy its fans.
Kimi no na wa is certainly not a easy film to adapt in a western setting because of its numerous references to particular places and particular cultural and religious concepts. Think of Mitsuha and her family, guardians of the shrine of the deity Musubi and the ancient traditions of the village.
As for the places, in addition to Itomori which is a fantasy village, there are real cities. Not only Tokyo, but also Hida, and the Itomori Lake itself is inspired by a famous Japanese lake, Lake Suwa.
Only time will tell us what the future of this adaptation will be.

Trailer:


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gion Matsuri

Japanese Tradition: Gion Matsuri

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Gion Matsuri: un'esperienza unica

Photo credit: Daranice

La Festa di Gion o Gion Matsuri (祗園祭), così come viene chiamato a partire dall'epoca Meiji, prende il suo nome dal noto quartiere di Kyōto, Gion appunto, situato nel distretto di Higashiyama. Si tratta di una festa religiosa in onore del dio Susanoo, anche conosciuto come Takehaya Susanoo-no-Mikoto, venerato presso il santuario Yasaka.
Susanoo, dio del mare e delle tempeste, è anche signore del mondo dei morti, oltre ad essere fratello di Amaterasu da cui si dice discenda la stirpe degli imperatori giapponesi.

Insieme allo Aoi Matsuri (15 Maggio) e allo Jidai Matsuri (22 Ottobre), il Gion Matsuri costituisce una delle tre più grandi feste religiose di Kyōto, e del Giappone. Viene celebrato ogni estate per tutto il mese di luglio. Lo scopo è quello di placare gli spiriti dei defunti e invocare la protezione del dio sulla città per tenere lontano malattie e catastrofi naturali.

Come potete immaginare si tratta di un matsuri ricco di eventi. I principali e più spettacolari sono la Yamaboko Junkō ( 山鉾巡行, sfilata dei carri) e il Mikoshi Togyo (神輿渡御, l'uscita dei palanchini divini). Entrambi si svolgono tra il 17 luglio e il 24 luglio, giorni in cui la festa raggiunge il suo apice.
Una delle ragioni maggiori della spettacolarità di questo festival è sicuramente la grandezza dei carri utilizzati, in particolari quelli chiamati Hoko. Questi raggiungono anche i 25 metri di altezza per un peso di più di 10 tonnellate, e vengono trainati grazie a delle ruote alte circa due metri. Ogni carro viene ogni anno costruito dalle fondamenta, e poi smantellato al termine del festival, e tutti i pezzi sono tenuti insieme senza l’utilizzo di viti, come da tradizione.
Ma procediamo con ordine…

Un pò di storia

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyotodeasobo.com

Tradizione vuole che il Gion Matsuri sia nato nell'anno 869. Da circa un secolo la corte imperiale giapponese si era sposta da Nara a Heiya-kyō (la odierna Kyōto) ed era dominata dalla potente famiglia Fujiwara.
Si dice che in seguito alla diffusione di un'epidemia, la Corte Imperiale decise di tenere il primo goryōe (御霊会), un rito purificatore tenuto presso il piccolo tempio Shinsen'en. Bisogna sapere che a quei tempi la città si trovava in una regione piuttosto paludosa dell'entroterra, molto calda ed umida. L'alta concentrazione di popolazione unita alla mancanza di fognature e condotte idriche spesso favoriva la contaminazione delle acque potabili con quelle di scolo. Non è quindi difficile immaginare che malattie come malaria, vaiolo, influenza e dissenteria fossero molto diffuse. Eppure, nell'antico Giappone la causa di tutto questo fu attribuita a ben altro.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: japancheapo.com

Secondo le predizioni di un maestro divinatore i veri responsabili dell'epidemia erano degli spiriti malvagi, ovvero i fantasmi del principe Sawara Shinnō e dei suoi compagni. Questi, accusati dell'omicidio del nobile Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, erano morti professando fino alla fine la loro innocenza.
Nel tentativo di calmare gli spiriti si tenne quindi il primo goryōe con invocazione al dio Susanoo. Inoltre, il nobile Urabe Hiramaru fece erigere 66 lance, una per ogni provincia del Giappone, in modo da rinchiudere al loro interno gli spiriti malvagi e purificare la capitale.
Proprio qui nacque l'usanza di portare in processione tre mikoshi, o palanchini divini, e di tenere un goryōe ogni volta che una epidemia o malattia si diffondeva. Il tutto era contornato da altre celebrazioni e momenti gioviali.
Fino al 970, quando venne stabilito che il Gion Goryōe (祗園御霊会) si dovesse svolgere regolarmente ogni anno.

Successivamente, a partire dal periodo Muromachi, l'evento fu arricchito ulteriormente dalla presenza dei tipici carri, gli yamaboko (山鉾), anche essi fatti sfilare per le vie della città. Questi erano costruiti grazia alla collaborazione del ceto mercantile che proprio in questo periodo vive un momento di forte ascesa dopo secoli di denigrazione. I carri venivano adornati con decorazioni che si fecero nel tempo sempre più ricche e sofisticate.
Insomma, la sfilata divenne anche un modo per esibire la ricchezza del ceto mercantile.

Nonostante brevi interruzioni (durante la guerra Ōnin (1467-1477) e durante la seconda guerra mondiale (1941-1945) ), il festival viene ancora oggi mantenuto vivo e può vantare una storia lunga più di mille anni.

I festeggiamenti

I festeggiamenti che come dicevamo durano per tutto il mese di luglio coinvolgono tutte le varie aree della città.

Si inizia il primo di luglio, quando presso il santuario Yasaka si tiene la cerimonia del Kippuiri (吉符入). Qui, i rappresentanti dei quartieri responsabili dell'organizzazione pregano perché tutto si svolga tranquillamente e senza incidenti.

Il 2 luglio, presso il palazzo comunale di Kyōto, si svolge una estrazione presieduta dal sindaco della città con cui viene scelto l'ordine di processione dei carri. Aprire la processione però spetta sempre al Naginataboko (長刀鉾).

photo credit: heterophyllum

Il 10 luglio vengono preparati i mikoshi (神輿), tre palanchini che ospiteranno tre piccoli tempietti dedicati al dio Susanoo. Contemporaneamente, alcuni secchi vengono calati dal ponte Shijō per raccogliere dal sacro fiume Kamo l'acqua destinata al lavaggio dei mikoshi. Nel tardo pomeriggio si tiene poi una sfilata esibendo lanterne di carta di manifattura tradizionale che serviranno ad accogliere il dio.

Sempre il 10 luglio ha inizio anche la costruzione dei carri e passeggiando per le vie del centro di Kyōto potrete osservarli prendere lentamente forma sotto le mani sapienti dei loro costruttori.

I giorni tra il 14 al 16 luglio sono quelli che precedono la festa vera e propria. Il 14 luglio è conosciuto come yoi-yoi-yoi-yama (宵々々山), il 15 luglio come yoi-yoi-yama (宵々山) mentre il 16 è chiamato yoi-yama (宵山). Lo stesso varrà per il 21,22 e 23 luglio. In questi giorni, a partire dalle ore 6:00 del pomeriggio, le vie del centro chiuse al traffico si riempiono del vociare di passanti e turisti. Si passeggia tra le numerose bancarelle, alla luce delle lanterne tenute sempre accese, ammirando yamaboko.
Sempre in questo periodo, le famiglie più antiche della città aprono le finestre delle loro case permettendo così ai passanti di ammirare i tesori che custodiscono da generazioni.

Il 15 luglio, si tengono lo imitaketate (斎竹建) e lo yoimiya-sai (宵宮祭). Il primo è un rito durante il quale si dispongono a quadrato dei tronchi di bambù intorno all'area in cui si svolgerà la processione per proteggerla da ogni contaminazione. Lo yoimiya-sai si tiene invece presso il santuario di Yasaka, durante il quale lo spirito della divinità viene trasferito nei tre mikoshi purificati.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  Tomomi Onishi

Il 16 luglio i musicanti di ogni carro si recano al tempio per pregare per il bel tempo il giorno successivo e non mancano spettacoli musicali e di danza per le strade.

Il 17 luglio è l'atteso giorno in cui la festa raggiunge il suo culmine. È il momento dello Yamaboko Junkō, la grande sfilata dei carri. Questi vengono divisi in 2 gruppi gli yama 山 (montagna) e gli hoko 鉾 (lancia) appunto. Il primo gruppo è formato dai 9 carri hoko, e simboleggiano le 66 lance utilizzate da Urabe Hiramaru per scacciare gli spiriti maligni. Il secondo gruppo è formato dai 23 carri yama, più piccoli, che trasportano rappresentazioni a grandezza naturale di personaggi importanti e famosi.
Ogni carro hoko trasporta musicanti che ne accompagnano la processione.
Kon-kon chiki-chin, kon-kon chiki-chin… questo è il suono distintivo del Gion Matsuri, una ritmo tradizionale risalente al periodo Edo.
E non mancano per le strade danzatori ed acrobati di vario genere a rendere la parata ancora più allegra e movimentata. Ovviamente tutti sono vestiti con costumi colorati e rigorosamente tradizionali.

Come già detto ad aprire la parata sarà il carro Naginata-boko. Viene così chiamato per via di una naginata (tipica lancia giapponese) che svetta verso l’alto sulla sua cima. Si dice che essa abbia il potere di scacciare spiriti maligni e pestilenze. La naginata originale di epoca Heian era stata forgiata in metallo, mentre quella che oggi possiamo ammirare è fatta in bambù.

Sul Naginataboko viene trasportato anche un chigo, (稚児), un bambino vestito con ricchi abiti tradizionali e un copricapo a forma di fenice dorata. Questo bambino ha il compito di rappresentare il dio durante la festa.
Il prescelto, solitamente selezionato tra le più importanti famiglie di mercanti e commercianti di Kyōto, deve sottoporsi ad un lungo periodo di preparazione prima di poter ricoprire questo ruolo. Settimane di riti purificatori e di completo isolamento, lontano da tutto ciò che potrebbe contaminarlo, e quindi anche dalle donne. Non gli è nemmeno permesso di toccare il suolo comune ma viene portato in spalla da uomini incaricati del suo trasporto
Al bambino spetterà il compito di tagliare con un solo colpo una grossa corda sacra realizzata in paglia. È lo Shimenawa-kiri (しめ縄切り), atto con cui la divinità entra nel mondo terreno recidendo il confine che separa i due mondi, e con questo gesto viene dato ufficialmente inizio alla grande festa.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  picssr.com

Nel tardo pomeriggio, si assiste invece all'uscita dal tempio dei palanchini divini ovvero il mikoshi togyo. È il momento tanto atteso dello Shinkō-sai (神幸祭), ovvero l'uscita della divinità dal tempio con i palanchini portati a spalla per le vie della città.

Il 24 luglio questa doppia sfilata viene ripetuta e alla sera i tre mikoshi vengono riportati al tempio al tempio. È il momento del Kankō-sai (還幸祭), con il quale lo spirito del dio ritorna definitivamente al mondo che gli appartiene.
Al termine della sfilata i carri vengono immediatamente smantellati e conservati per il festival successivo.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  Tomomi Onishi

Lo stesso giorno si svolge la Hanagasa Junkō (花傘巡行), evento che come suggerisce il nome stesso ha come protagonista i fiori. Questo nome viene infatti scritto con i caratteri di hana (花) ovvero fiore, e kasa (傘) ovvero ombrello. Durante questa parata, i carri e le persone che sfilano sono tutti adornati da ombrelli e cappelli abbelliti da fiori.
La parata è aperta da piccoli mikoshi trasportati questa volta da bambini e al loro seguito troviamo un corteo numerosissimo di persone in abiti tradizionali. Ci sono i rappresentanti di associazioni culturali e commerciali, musicisti, danzatori,acrobati e in particolare alcune tra le più note geisha e maiko della città. E sono proprio loro i fiori più belli da mettere in mostra.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: geimei.tumblr.com

Il 28 luglio c’è la cerimonia del mikoshi-arai (神輿洗式), il lavaggio dei mikoshi presso il santuario Yasaka, per purificare i palanchini, fino al prossimo anno.
Se vi trovate nei paraggi non perdevi questo momento. Si dice infatti che porti fortuna essere colpiti dagli schizzi dell'acqua destinata al dio.

A segnare la fine del Gion Matsuri è il festival del nagoshisai (夏越祭), che si tiene ogni anno il 31 di luglio presso il santuario Ekijin.
Legato al torii, il ‘cancello’ che segna l’ingresso dell’area sacra del tempio, si trova una grossa corda di paglia intrecciata a formare un cerchio del diametro di due metri, lo Chinowa (茅の輪).
Passate pure attraverso questo grande cerchio per essere purificati, e ricevere poi un talismano di protezione sul quale troverete scritto “Somin-shorai shison nari(蘇民将来子孫也) che significa “Sono un discendente di Somin Shorai”. Secondo la leggenda Somin Shorai era un uomo umile che un giorno accolse in casa un viandante che era già stato rifiutato da un ricco signore. Il viandante era in realtà una divinità che per ringraziarlo della sua ospitalità gli insegno come costruire questi talismani porta fortuna. Da allora si crede che questi abbiano il potere di allontanare catastrofi e ladri.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyoto-tabiya.com

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyotoiju.com

Quello del Gion Matsuri è un lungo viaggio in cui si intrecciano storia e leggenda, religione e spettacolo. Un evento unico nel suo genere.
E voi? Avete mai avuto occasione di prendervi parte? Aspettiamo i vostri commenti e le vostre esperienze![:en]

Gion Matsuri: an unique experience

photo credit: Daranice

The Gion Festival or Gion Matsuri (祗園祭), as it is known since the Meiji era, takes its name from a famous area in Kyōto; Gion, Higashiyama district. It’s a religious celebration dedicated to the Susanoo God, also known as Takehaya Susanoo-no-Mikoto, who is worshipped in the Yasaka shrine.
Susanoo, God of the sea and storms, is also the God of the dead, as well as Amaterasu’s brother, from whom the Japanese Emperor’s family line is believed to descend from.

Together with the Aoi Matsuri (May 15th) and the Jidai Matsuri (October 22nd), the Gion Matsuri is one of the three biggest religious festivals in Kyōto and Japan as well. It is held every summer for the whole month of July and is meant to calm the spirits of the dead and ask for protection over the city to the God so that he can keep illnesses and natural disasters away.

As you can imagine it’s a matsuri full of events. The most important and the biggest crowd-drawers are the Yamaboko Junkō ( 山鉾巡行, float’s parade) and the Mikoshi Togyo (神輿渡御, the parade of the divine palanquins). Both of these events are held between July 17th and 24th, when the festival reaches its climax.
One of the main reasons for the spectacularity of this festival is the size of the floats, especially the ones called Hoko. They can be up to 25 meters tall with a weight of over 10 tons that moves thanks to wheels the size of around 2 meters in diameter. Every float is rebuilt every year from scratch and then destroyed at the end of every festival. All the pieces are held together without the use of screws, as tradition dictates.

A little bit of history

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyotodeasobo.com

Historically, Gion Matsuri began in 869. Since about century ago, the Imperial court moved from Nara to Heiya-kyō (today’s Kyōto) and it was ruled by the Fujiwara family.
It is said that it was during a plague that the Imperial court decided to hold the first goryōe (御霊会), a purification ritual in the small Shinsen'en shrine. At the time, the city was situated in a swampy area and was thus very hot and humid. High concentrations of people together with the absence of a proper drainage system made it easy for waste water to contaminate clean water. It’s not difficult to imagine that illnesses like malaria, smallpox, flu and dysentery became widespread. However, in ancient Japan the, cause of all this was said to be something else entirely.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: japancheapo.com

According to the divination of a master priest, the real cause of the plagues were devious spirits, identified as the ghosts of prince Sawara Shinnō and his companions. They, accused of the murder of the noble Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, died professing their innocence till their final moments.
The first goryōe was held while trying to calm the spirit by invoking the Susanoo God. Furthermore, the noble Urabe Hiramaru raised 66 spears, one for each Japanese region, so to enclose the evil spirits inside and purify the capital.
It was here that the custom of bringing three mikoshis, or divine palanquins, into procession was born, and it was also decided that a goryōe had to be held every time that a plague or illness was spreading.
Everything was accompanied by other celebrations and joyful moments.
It was in 970 when it was decided that the Gion Goryōe (祗園御霊会) had to be held every year.

From the Muromachi period onwards, the event was enriched with floats, the yamaboko (山鉾) which was paraded along the streets of the city. These were built thanks to the collaboration of the merchant class that in this very period lived a moment of success after centuries of denigration. Floats were adorned with decorations that became richer and more sophisticated year after year.
In other words, the parade also became a way to show off the wealth of the merchant class.

In spite of some small interruptions (during the Ōnin war (1467-1477) and during World War II (1941-1945) ), the festival still lives on today as a proud tradition of more than a thousand years of history.

Celebrations

Celebrations that, as we said, go on for the whole month of July involve all the different areas of the city.

It kicks off on July 1st, where a ceremony called Kippuiri (吉符入) is held at the Yasaka shrine, Here, representatives of all the districts of the city in charge of the organization of the festival pray so that it can proceed smoothly and with no incidents.

On July 2nd, at the Town Hall of Kyōto, a lottery headed by the mayor of the city takes place. It is through this that the order of the floats for the parade is decided. Till now, the opening the procession is always done by the Naginataboko (長刀鉾).

photo credit: heterophyllum

On July 10th, the preparation of the mikoshi (神輿) starts. Three palanquins that will house the three small shrines dedicated to Susanoo is prepared. At the same time, a few buckets are immersed from the Shijō bridge into the sacred waters of the Kamo river to draw the water that will be used to wash the mikoshi. In the late afternoon, there’s also a parade with the exhibition of paper lanterns of traditional manufacturing that will be used to receive the God.

The building of the floats will also begin on this day and if you walk along the central streets of Kyōto, you’ll be able to see them slowly taking shape in the hands of their wise builders.

The days between the 14th and the 16th are those immediately preceding the main celebration. July 14th is known as yoi-yoi-yoi-yama (宵々々山), the 15th as yoi-yoi-yama (宵々山) while the 16th is called yoi-yama (宵山). The same goes for July the 21st, 22nd and 23rd. During these days, the streets closed to traffic from 6:00 p.m and they will be filled with visitors and tourists. Here you can walk around the vending stands, under the light of the paper lanterns always kept alive, while admiring the yamabokos.

And it is also on these days that ancient families of the town open up their window so that people passing by can admire ancient heirlooms that have been kept for generations.

On July 15th, the imitaketate (斎竹建) and the yoimiya-sai (宵宮祭) are held. The first one is a ritual in which bamboo trunks are put together in a square shape to delimit the area of the procession and protect it from contamination. On the other hand, the yoimiya-sai is held at Yasaka shrine, and durig this ritual the spirit of the god is transferred into the 3 portable mikoshi that have already been purified.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  Tomomi Onishi

In July 16th the musicians from all the floats go to the temple to pry for good weather for the next day, and they are all accompanied by music and dancing events along the way.

July 17th is the long awaited climax of the festival. It is the moment for the Yamaboko Junkō, the great floats parade. Floats are divided into 2 groups, yama 山 (mountain) and hoko 鉾 (spear). The opening group carries the 9 hoko floats which symbolize the 66 spears used by Urabe Hiramaru to drive away the evil spirits. The second group brings 23 yama floats, smaller than the hokos, that carry life-size representations of important and famous characters.
Every hoko carries musicians who accompany the procession with their music.
Kon-kon chiki-chin, kon-kon chiki-chin… This is the distinctive sound of the Gion Matsuri, a traditional rhythm dating back to the Edo period.
Along the parade, a profusion of many different dancers and acrobats make it even more joyful and lively. Each and every one of them will be dressed in colorful and rigorously traditional clothes.

It was earlier mentioned that the parade is lead by the Naginata-boko, named after the naginata (traditional Japanese spear) that springs up from its top, and that is said to have the power to drive away evil spirits and plagues. The original Heian naginata had been forged in metal, but the one we can admire today is made of bamboo.

It is on the Naginataboko that a chigo (稚児) is carried. The chigo is a young child dressed up in rich, traditional clothes with a golden phoenix-shaped headgear. This child represents the God during this festival.
The chosen one, usually selected from the most powerful and important merchant and commercial families of the town, has to undergo a long preparation period before he is allowed to take on this role. Weeks of purification rites and complete isolation, away from everything that could contaminate him, including women. He is not even allowed to walk on common ground but he is carried by men in charge of this duty.
He will have the duty to cut a big sacred thatch rope with a single blow. This is the Shimenawa-kiri (しめ縄切り), an act through which the divinity enters the human world by severing the limit that devised the two worlds, and it is with this act that the great celebration officially starts.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  picssr.com

In the late afternoon, the mikoshi togyo takes place where the three mikoshis leave the temple. It is the long awaited Shinkō-sai (神幸祭), or the emerging of the divinity from the temple with its palanquins carried on shoulders around the streets of the city.

On July 24th, this double procession is repeated and in the evening and the three mikoshis are brought back to their temple. This is the Kankō-sai (還幸祭), through which the spirit of the God finally returns to the world he belongs to.
At the end of the parade, the floats are immediately dismantled and all pieces kept until the next festival.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  Tomomi Onishi

On the same day takes also place the Hanagasa Junkō (花傘巡行), an event that, as suggested from the name, has flowers as its main feature. In fact, it is written with the kanjis of hana (花) or flower, and kasa (傘) or umbrella. During the parade, the floats and all participants parading along the streets are all decorated with umbrellas and hats embellished with flowers.
The parade is opened by small mikoshis carried by young children, then follows a large parade of people in traditional clothes. There are representatives of social and cultural associations, musicians, dancers, acrobats and in particular some of the most famous geishas and maikos of the town. And they surely are the loveliest flowers displayed the event.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: geimei.tumblr.com

On July the 28, takes place the ceremony of the mikoshi-arai (神輿洗式), or the ritual of washing the mikoshis at Yasaka shrine, to purify the three palanquins, till next year.
If you are around, don’t miss them. In fact, it is said that being hit by a little splash of the water dedicated to the god brings good luck.

The nagoshisai (夏越祭) festival marks the end of the Gion Matsuri and is held every July 31st at Ekijin shrine.
Tied to the tori, the entrance gate that marks the beginning of the sacred area of the temple, is a big thatch rope in the shape of a circle 2 meters in diameter. This is the Chinowa (茅の輪).
Please do pass through it to be purified. You’ll then receive a protection charm on which “Somin-shorai shison nari(蘇民将来子孫也)" is written. It means “I am a descendant of Somin Shorai”. According to the legend, Somin Shorai was a simple man who one day happened to give hospitality to a traveler that had already been refused by a rich man. The traveler then reveals himself as a God and to thank him for his hospitality teaches him how to make lucky charms. Since then it is believed that these charms can push away catastrophe and thieves.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyoto-tabiya.com

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyotoiju.com

That of the Gion Matsuri in a long trip in which History and legend, religion and entertainment are entwined together. It is real a one-of-a-kind event.
And you? Have you ever been able to take part to it? We are waiting for your comments and experiences![:ja]

Gion Matsuri: an unique experience

photo credit: Daranice

The Gion Festival or Gion Matsuri (祗園祭), this is how it has been called since the Meiji era, takes its name from the famous Kyōto area, Gion, Higashiyama district. It’s a religious celebration dedicated to the Susanoo God, also known as Takehaya Susanoo-no-Mikoto, worshiped in the Yasaka shrine.
Susanoo, God of the sea and storms, it’s also the God of the dead, as well as Amaterasu’s brother, from whom the Japanese Emperor’s family line is believe do descend.

Together with the Aoi Matsuri (May 15th) and the Jidai Matsuri (October 22nd), the Gion Matsuri is one of the three biggest religious festivals in Kyōto, and Japan as well. It is held every summer for the whole month of July. It is meant to calm the spirits of the dead and ask for protection over the city to the God so that he can keep illnesses and natural disasters away.

As you can imagine it’s a matsuri full of events. The most important and attractive are the Yamaboko Junkō ( 山鉾巡行, float’s parade) and the Mikoshi Togyo (神輿渡御, parade of the devine palanquins). Both this events are held between July 17th and 24th, when the festival reaches its climax.
One of the main reasons for the spectacularity of this festival is surely the size of the floats, especially the ones called Hoko. They can even be 25 meters high with a weight of over 10 tons that can move thanks to wheels about 2 meters of diameter. Every float is rebuilt every year from scratch, and then destroyed at the end of every festival. All the pieces are held together without the use of screws, as tradition wants.
But let’s move ahead with order...

A little bit of history

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyotodeasobo.com

Tradition says that Gion Matsuri was born in 869. Since a century or so, the Imperial court had moved from Nara to Heiya-kyō (today’s Kyōto) and it was dominated by the Fujiwara family.
It is said that during a plague, the Imperial court decided to hold the first goryōe (御霊会), a purification ritual in the small Shinsen'en shrine. You need to know that at the time the city was situated in a very swampy area, very hot and humid. High concentration of people together with the absence of a proper drainage system made it easy for waste waters to contaminate clean waters. It’s not difficult to imagine that illnesses like malaria, smallpox, flu and dysentery became widely present. However, in ancient Japan the cause of all this was said to be something else entirely.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: japancheapo.com

According to the prediction of a master priest, the real cause of the plagues were devious spirits, identified in the ghosts of prince Sawara Shinnō and his companions. They, accused of the murder of the noble Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, died professing their innocence till the last moments.
The first goryōe was held while trying to calm the spirit by invoking the Susanoo God. Furthermore, the noble Urabe Hiramaru raised 66 spears, one for each Japanese region, so to enclose the evil spirits inside and purify the capital.
It was here that the custom of bringing three mikoshis, or divine palanquins, into procession was born, and it was also decided that a goryōe had to be head every time that a plague or illness was spreading.
Everything was accompanied by other celebrations and joyful moments.
Until 970, when it was decided that the Gion Goryōe (祗園御霊会) had to be held every year.

Afterward, starting from the Muromachi period, the event was enriched with the typical floats, the yamaboko (山鉾), also parading along the streets of the city. These were built thanks to the collaboration of the merchant class that in this very period lives a moment of success after centuries of denigration. Floats were adorned with decorations that became richer and more sophisticated year after year.
In other words, the parade also became a way to show off the richness of the merchant class.

In spite of some small interruptions (during the Ōnin war (1467-1477) and during World War II (1941-1945) ), the festival still lives today and can be proud of more than a thousand years of history.

Celebrations

Celebrations that,as we said, go on for the whole month of July, involve all the different areas of the city.

It kicks off on July 1st, where a ceremony called Kippuiri (吉符入) is held at the Yasaka shrine, Here, representatives of all the districts of the city in charge of the organization of the festival pray so that the it can proceed smoothly and with no incidents.

On July 2nd, at the Town Hall of Kyōto, takes place a lottery headed by the mayor of the city, through which the order of the floats for the parade is decided. Still, opening the procession is always duty of the Naginataboko (長刀鉾).

photo credit: heterophyllum

On July 10th, starts the preparation of the mikoshi (神輿), three palanquins that will house three small shrines dedicated to Susanoo. At the same time, a few buckets are immersed from the Shijō bridge into the sacred waters of Kamo river to draw the water that will be used to wash the mikoshi. In the late afternoon there’s also a parade with the exhibition of paper lanterns of traditional manufacturing that will be used to receive the God.

Also on the 10th, starts the building of the floats and walking along central streets of Kyōto you’ll be able to see theme slowly taking shape by the hands of their wise builders.

The days between the 14th and the 16th are those immediately preceding the main celebration. July 14th is known as yoi-yoi-yoi-yama (宵々々山), the 15th as yoi-yoi-yama (宵々山) while the 16th is called yoi-yama (宵山). The same goes for July the 21st,22nd e 23rd. During this days, starting from 6:00 p.m, the streets closed to traffic overflow with visitors and tourists voices. Here you can walk around vending stands, under the light of the paper lanterns always kept alive, admiring the yamabokos.
And it is also in this days that ancient families of the town open up their window so that people passing by can admire ancient treasures guarded for generations.

On July 15th, the imitaketate (斎竹建) and the yoimiya-sai (宵宮祭) are held. The first one is a ritual during which bamboo truncks are put together in square shape to delimit the area of the procession and protect it from contamination. On the other hand the yoimiya-sai is held at Yasaka shrine, and durig this ritual the spirit of the god is transferred into the 3 portable mikoshi that have already been purified.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  Tomomi Onishi

In July 16th the musicians from all the floats go to the temple to pry for good weather the following day, and all is accompanied with music and dancing events along the way.

July 17th is the long awaited day in which the festival reaches its climax. It is the moment of the Yamaboko Junkō, the great floats parade. Floats are divided into 2 groups, yama 山 (mountain) and hoko 鉾 (spear). The opening group it that of the 9 hoko floats, and they symbolize the 66 spears used by Urabe Hiramaru to drive away the evil spirits. The second group is that of the 23 yama floats, smaller than the hokos, that carry life-size representations of important and famous personalities.
Every hoko carries musicians that accompanying the procession with their music.
Kon-kon chiki-chin, kon-kon chiki-chin… This is the distinctive sound of the Gion Matsuri, a traditional rhythm dating back to the Edo period.
And along the parade a profusion of many different dancers and acrobats make it even more joyful and lively. Obviously each and every one of them is dressed in colorful and rigorously traditional clothes.

Has said before the parade is lead by the Naginata-boko, called after the naginata (typical Japanese spear) that springs up from its top, and that is said to have the power to drive away evil spirits and plagues. The original Heian naginata had been forged in metal, but the one we can admire today is made of bamboo.

It is on the Naginataboko that a chigo (稚児) is carried, a young child dressed up in rich, traditional clothes with a golden phoenix-shaped headgear. This child has the duty to represent the God during the festival.
The chosen one, usually selected from the most powerful and important merchant and commercial families of the town, has to undergo a long preparation period before he is allowed to take on this role. Weeks of purification rites and complete isolation, away from everything that could contaminate him, including women. He is not even allowed to walk on common ground but he is carried by men in charge of this duty.
He will have the duty to cut with a single blow a big sacred thatch rope. This is the Shimenawa-kiri (しめ縄切り), an act through which the divinity enters the human world severing the limit that devised the two worlds, and with this act the great celebration can officially starts.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  picssr.com

In the late afternoon, takes place the mikoshi togyo, where the three mikoshis leave the temple. It is the long awaited Shinkō-sai (神幸祭), or the emerging of the divinity from the temple with its palanquins carried on shoulders around the streets of the city.

On July 24th this double procession is repeated and in the evening the three mikoshis are brought back to their temple. This is the moment of the Kankō-sai (還幸祭), through which the spirit of the God finally returns to the world he belongs to.
At the end of the parade the floats are immediately dismantled and all pieces kept until the next festival.

gion Matsuri

photo credit:  Tomomi Onishi

On the same day takes also place the Hanagasa Junkō (花傘巡行), an event that, as suggested from the name, has flowers as its protagonist. In fact, it is written with the kanjis of hana (花) or flower, and kasa (傘) or umbrella. During the parade, the floats and all participants parading along the streets are all decorated with umbrellas and hats embellished with flowers.
The parade is opened by small mikoshis carried by young children, then follows a large parade of people in traditional clothes. There are representatives of social and cultural associations, musicians, dancers, acrobats and in particular some of the most famous geishas and maikos of the town. And they surely are the loveliest flowers displayed the event.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: geimei.tumblr.com

On July the 28, takes place the ceremony of the mikoshi-arai (神輿洗式),or the ritual of washing the mikoshis at Yasaka shrine, to purify the three palanquins, till next year.
If you are around don’t miss this moments. In fact, it is said that being hit by little splash of the water dedicated to the god brings good luck..

To mark the end of the Gion Matsuri there is the nagoshisai (夏越祭) festival, that is held every July 31st at Ekijin shrine.
Tied to the tori, the entrance gate that marks the beginning of the sacred area of the temple, there is a big thatch rope in the shape of a circle with 2 meters in diameter. It is the Chinowa (茅の輪).
Please do pass through it to be purified, and then you’ll receive a protection charm on with there’s written “Somin-shorai shison nari(蘇民将来子孫也) that means “I’m Somin Shorai’s descendant”. According to the legend, Somin Shorai was a simple man that one day happened to give hospitality to a traveler that had already been refused by a rich man. The traveler then reveals himself as a God and to thank him for his hospitality teaches him how to make lucky charms. Since then it is believed that this charms can push away catastrophe and thieves.

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyoto-tabiya.com

gion Matsuri

photo credit: kyotoiju.com

That of the Gion Matsuri in a long trip in which History and legend, religion and entertainment are entwined together. It is real a one-of-a-kind event.
And you? Have you ever been able to take part to it? We are waiting for your comments and experiences![:]


Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Japanese Culture: Shingeki no Kyojin

[:it]

SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN – Il manga rivelazione degli ultimi anni

Questa volta parliano di Shingeki no Kyojin (進撃の巨人), meglio conosciuto in italia come "L'attacco dei giganti", vera e propria rivelazione di questi ultimi anni.
Per gli appassionati di anime e manga è diventata una serie shōnen action horror di culto. Ai meno appassionati basti sapere che ha in breve tempo sbaragliato tutte le classifiche giapponesi e mondiali, diventando uno degli anime più visti al mondo. Il manga è secondo per numero di vedite solo a One piece.

Per dare qualche cifra, parliamo di circa 2 milioni di copie vendute per volume, contro i circa 3 milioni di copie di One Piece (vendite giapponesi). La cifra è ancora più sbalorditiva se consideriamo che mentre One piece ha alle spalle anni di pubblicazioni (il primo volume uscì nel lontano agosto 1997). Il primo volume dell'Attacco dei giganti è uscito solo nel settembre 2009. Numeri da far girare la testa insomma che gli sono valsi, tra le altre cose, anche il prestigioso premio Kodansha come miglior manga shōnen, nel 2011.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

La trama

Il manga è pubblicato da una delle maggiori case editrici giapponesi, la Kodansha. Al suo attivo ha 21 volumi fino ad ora e nasce dalla penna di Hajime Isayama, che ha ambientato la sua storia in una sorta di Medioevo alternativo.

Tutto ruota attorno al personaggio di Eren Jaegar che vive in un mondo in cui secoli prima l’umanità aveva rischiato lo sterminio totale. I pochi uomini rimasti sopravvivono in un complesso urbano organizzato all’interno di tre mura concentriche alte 50 metri. L’unica difesa tra l’uomo e il mondo esterno popolato da misteriose creature sono appunto i giganti. Queste creature, incredibilmente simili agli esseri umani ma di altezza compresa tra i 3 e i 15 metri, sembrano privi di intelligenza e di uno scopo reale, se non quello di divorare carne umana.

Ma presto un evento porrà fine alla tranquillità durata solo un secolo. Un gigante, alto al punto da superare le mura stesse, appare dal nulla aprendo una breccia nel muro di protezione più esterno. Questo permetterà ai giganti di penetrare e fare strage di vite umane. Eren, vinto il terrore iniziale e il dolore per la perdita della madre, si riprometterà di eliminare ogni singolo gigante esistente, e in questa sua lotta contro l’ignoto non sarà solo.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

La serie animata e la fama internazionale

La vera fama di questo manga la si deve proprio alla serie anime uscita nel 2013. Prodotto da Wit Studio in collaborazione con la più famosa Production I.G.
La differenza dal punto di vista visivo rispetto alle tavole originali di Isayama è sorprendente. Curati fin nel più piccolo dettaglio e animati da animazione estremamente realistica, i personaggi si muovono su uno sfondo anch’esso curatissimo e realistico. I realizzatori della serie hanno quindi colmato le lacune stilistiche del mangaka. Tuttavia Isayama ha seguito in prima persona l’intera produzione dando indicazioni su quale fosse il modo migliore per dare corpo alle sue idee.

La colonna sonora altrettanto curata accompagna tutta la narrazione. Non tace mai, non lascia punti vuoti, ma sottolinea invece ogni istante della storia e contribuisce a coinvolgere lo spettatore in un action anime pieno di colpi di scena.
Azione, horror, intrighi politi, fanatismo religioso e lotta per la sopravvivenza fanno da trama. Qui si muovono personaggi ben delineati che, in un crescendo di azione e suspance, ci mostrano tanto la forza quando la fragilità degli esseri umani.

Niente viene lasciato al caso, e anche i personaggi che in apparenza potrebbero sembrare insignificanti svolgeranno invece un ruolo fondamentale. E proprio l’elemento horror sapientemente dosato senza mai scadere nella violenza nuda e cruda alla ricerca del dettaglio più scabroso, rende l’adattamento anime ancora più pregevole e adatto anche a chi non ama particolarmente questo genere.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Le interpretazioni

L’opera si presta a numerose interpretazioni. Qualcuno ci ha voluto vedere anche una sorta di propaganda politica. Ma è l’autore stesso ha darci qualche piccola chiave di lettura svelandoci la genesi dell’opera.

Ad esempio, le 3 mura entro le quali gli esseri umani vivono, sono viste sia come una barriera protettiva che come una prigione soffocante. Questa è stessa sensazione che l’autore ha raccontato di aver provato nascendo in una piccola città della prefettura di Ōita circondata dalle montagne. Non sfugge qui il parallelismo con la società giapponese, da sempre isolazionista e protezionista. O ancora, i giganti stessi rappresentano la paura dello sconosciuto, uno sconosciuto che non solo temiamo ma con il quale è impossibile comunicare.

E’ una storia che a tratti si fa angosciante, quella stessa angoscia e paura così comune anche nella società moderna. Niente è come sembra, ma non per questo i personaggi si fermeranno nella loro ricerca della verità e della libertà.

深い闇を俺は抜け出した。疾風(はやて)みたいに逃げ出した。
Fukai yami wo ore wo nukedashita. Hayate mitai ni nigedashita.
Siamo fuggiti da una spessa oscurità. Siamo sopravvissuti a quello sembrava un uragano.
生きた屍みたいだった俺達は、壁の外へ。
Ikita shikabane mitai datta oretachi wa, kabe no soto e.
Noi, che non sembriamo altro che zombie, andremo oltre queste mura.
また会おうぜ、地図にない場所で。
Mata aou ze, chizu ni nai basho de.
Ci incontreremo di nuovo, in un mondo che non esiste su mappa alcuna.

The grate escape dei Cinema staff – Seconda ending

La storia continua

La storia nasconde un segreto che tutt’ora non è stato svelato. Tuttavia, vi interesserà sapere che il manga è entrato ormai nel suo arco finale quindi presto potrebbero venire svelate molte verità interessanti.

In un momento che alcuni definirebbero di stagniazione per l'animazione giapponese, Shingeki no Kyojin ha saputo distinguersi come opera originale e senza precedenti. Isayama ha saputo imporre il suo tratto distintivo e perfettamente riconoscibile. Originalità premiata dal grande successo di pubblico che ha avuto e sta avendo tutt'ora.
Inoltre, un'altra buona notizia per tutti i fan che attendono ormai dal 2013. Dopo numerose smentite, 3 ova, e tanta pazienza, qualche settimana fa è stato confermato che la seconda serie sarà finalmente in onda a partire dal 1 aprile. L'attesa è dunque finita.

Fonti: Atpress; google
[:en]

SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN – The revelation of the past few years

This time we will talk about Shingeki no Kyoujin (進撃の巨人), translated in English as Attack on Titans, the revelation of this past few years.
It's an action horror shōnen manga series already recognised as a cult among anime and manga fans. For those who don't know it, it is enough to know that in just a short period of time it was able to climb up all charts, Japanese ones and worldwide too. It became one of the most viewed anime around the world, and its original manga ranks second in numbers of sold copies, second only to One Piece.

To give you some numbers, we talk about around 2 million copies per volume (Japanese sales), while One Piece sales are around 3 million copies.
This results are even more incredible if we consider that One Piece has many years of releases already (the first volume was released back in August 1997). On the contrary, the first volume of Shingeki no Kyojin was release only in September 2009. This numbers are enough to make your head spin, and contributed to let this manga gain the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011, to say the least.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Plot

The original manga is published by one of the largest publishing companies in Japan, the Kodansha Publishing. It counts 21 volumes up to today. It was created by Hajime Isayama and the story, and it takes place in an alternative Midldle Age era. The plot revolves around the character of Eren Jaegar. He lives in a world that many centuries before had been on the verge of destruction. The few humans that survived now live in a urban complex built inside three concentric walls, 50 meters each. The only protection between mankind and the outside world overrun by mysterious creatures are the titans.

This titans resemble human beings but they can be from 3 to 15 meters tall, apparently thoughtless and with the sole objective of devouring human flesh. However, an unexpected event will bring this period of peace to an end. A titan so tall that he could even surpass the walls, appears from nowhere opening a hole in the most external wall. This allowed other titans to break into the city and leading to the massacre of many human lives.
Eren, after regaining his senses because of the loss of his mother by the hands of a titan, swears to eliminate every single titan in the world, and he will not be alone in this fight against the unknown.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Anime adaptation and international recognition

This series gained its worldwide success thanks to its anime adaptation, produced by Wit Studio in collaboration with the famous Production I.G, that was release in 2013.
The difference with the original panels of Isayama in terms of visual impact is astonishing: with an incredible attention to even the smallest detail, and animated by an extremely realistic animation, all the characters take their actions on a background equally elaborated and realistic. The producers of the animated series filled the holes in terms of style left by the mangaka. He also followed the whole production, giving advice on which was the best way to give shape to his ideas.

The original soundtrack skillfully created follows the whole narration. It never fall silent, it never leaves open spots. Instead, it contributes to underline every instant of the story and envelopes the viewer in an action anime full of twists and turns.
Action, horror elements, political intrigues, religious fanaticism and the fight for survival create the background. Here well delineated characters take their action, in a crescendo of action and suspense, showing us both the strength and fragility of human beings.

Nothing has been left to chance. Even characters that apparently look not so important will be proven to have a fundamental role to play.
The horror element is skillfully balanced, it doesn't exceed into pure violence, searching for the smallest gory detail. All this makes the animated version even more enjoyable and appropriate even for people who don't really like this genre.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Interpretations

This series is open to many interpretations, someone even wanted to read into it a sort of political propaganda. However, the author himself gave us some keys to understanding the genesis of the story.

For examples, the 3 walls in which mankind survives, can be seen as both a protection and a suffocating prison. This is the exact same feeling that the Isayama experienced living in his hometown in Ōita prefecture surrounded by mountains. And it is clearly visible here a parallelism with Japanese society, generally known to be isolationist and enclosed.

Furthermore, the titans represent the fear of the unknown, an unknown that you can't even communicate with.
At times the story makes you experience a feeling of overwhelming anguish and fear. The same feeling that is so common in our modern society where nothing is what it seems, but all the characters never stop fighting in their quest for truth and freedom.

深い闇を俺は抜け出した。疾風(はやて)みたいに逃げ出した。
Fukai yami wo ore wo nukedashita. Hayate mitai ni nigedashita.
We broke out of the thick darkness. We escaped from what seemed like a hurricane.
生きた屍みたいだった俺達は、壁の外へ。
Ikita shikabane mitai datta oretachi wa, kabe no soto e.
We, who look like living corpses, are going outside the walls.
また会おうぜ、地図にない場所で。
Mata aou ze, chizu ni nai basho de.
Let's meet again, in the unmapped place.

The grate escape by Cinema staff – Second ending

What's next?

The plot hides a secret that is still unknown but you might want to know that the original manga has now entered the final arch so, important truths might be unveiled very soon.
In a moment that some would call of stagnation for the Japanese animation, Shingeki no Kyojin was able to impose its originality, and Isayama created a distinctive style of his own. And this originality was rewarded with the great success in terms of fans that it had and that are still increasing.

Moreover, another good news for all affectionate fans that were kept waiting since 2013: after many denial ad postponements, 3 ova, and a lot of patience of the fans, it was finally announced that the first episode of the second season of the anime will be aired on April 1st (April's fool? Doesn't seem to be the case). The wait is over.

Fonti: Atpressgoogle

 

 [:ja]

SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN – The revelation of the past few years

This time we will talk about Shingeki no Kyoujin (進撃の巨人), translated in English as Attack on Titans, the revelation of this past few years.
It's an action horror shōnen manga series already recognised as a cult among anime and manga fans. For those who don't know it, it is enough to know that in just a short period of time it was able to climb up all charts, Japanese ones and worldwide too. It became one of the most viewed anime around the world, and its original manga ranks second in numbers of sold copies, second only to One Piece.

To give you some numbers, we talk about around 2 million copies per volume (Japanese sales), while One Piece sales are around 3 million copies.
This results are even more incredible if we consider that One Piece has many years of releases already (the first volume was released back in August 1997). On the contrary, the first volume of Shingeki no Kyojin was release only in September 2009. This numbers are enough to make your head spin, and contributed to let this manga gain the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011, to say the least.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Plot

The original manga is published by one of the largest publishing companies in Japan, the Kodansha Publishing. It counts 21 volumes up to today. It was created by Hajime Isayama and the story, and it takes place in an alternative Midldle Age era. The plot revolves around the character of Eren Jaegar. He lives in a world that many centuries before had been on the verge of destruction. The few humans that survived now live in a urban complex built inside three concentric walls, 50 meters each. The only protection between mankind and the outside world overrun by mysterious creatures are the titans.

This titans resemble human beings but they can be from 3 to 15 meters tall, apparently thoughtless and with the sole objective of devouring human flesh. However, an unexpected event will bring this period of peace to an end. A titan so tall that he could even surpass the walls, appears from nowhere opening a hole in the most external wall. This allowed other titans to break into the city and leading to the massacre of many human lives.
Eren, after regaining his senses because of the loss of his mother by the hands of a titan, swears to eliminate every single titan in the world, and he will not be alone in this fight against the unknown.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Anime adaptation and international recognition

This series gained its worldwide success thanks to its anime adaptation, produced by Wit Studio in collaboration with the famous Production I.G, that was release in 2013.
The difference with the original panels of Isayama in terms of visual impact is astonishing: with an incredible attention to even the smallest detail, and animated by an extremely realistic animation, all the characters take their actions on a background equally elaborated and realistic. The producers of the animated series filled the holes in terms of style left by the mangaka. He also followed the whole production, giving advice on which was the best way to give shape to his ideas.

The original soundtrack skillfully created follows the whole narration. It never fall silent, it never leaves open spots. Instead, it contributes to underline every instant of the story and envelopes the viewer in an action anime full of twists and turns.
Action, horror elements, political intrigues, religious fanaticism and the fight for survival create the background. Here well delineated characters take their action, in a crescendo of action and suspense, showing us both the strength and fragility of human beings.

Nothing has been left to chance. Even characters that apparently look not so important will be proven to have a fundamental role to play.
The horror element is skillfully balanced, it doesn't exceed into pure violence, searching for the smallest gory detail. All this makes the animated version even more enjoyable and appropriate even for people who don't really like this genre.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Interpretations

This series is open to many interpretations, someone even wanted to read into it a sort of political propaganda. However, the author himself gave us some keys to understanding the genesis of the story.

For examples, the 3 walls in which mankind survives, can be seen as both a protection and a suffocating prison. This is the exact same feeling that the Isayama experienced living in his hometown in Ōita prefecture surrounded by mountains. And it is clearly visible here a parallelism with Japanese society, generally known to be isolationist and enclosed.

Furthermore, the titans represent the fear of the unknown, an unknown that you can't even communicate with.
At times the story makes you experience a feeling of overwhelming anguish and fear. The same feeling that is so common in our modern society where nothing is what it seems, but all the characters never stop fighting in their quest for truth and freedom.

深い闇を俺は抜け出した。疾風(はやて)みたいに逃げ出した。
Fukai yami wo ore wo nukedashita. Hayate mitai ni nigedashita.
We broke out of the thick darkness. We escaped from what seemed like a hurricane.
生きた屍みたいだった俺達は、壁の外へ。
Ikita shikabane mitai datta oretachi wa, kabe no soto e.
We, who look like living corpses, are going outside the walls.
また会おうぜ、地図にない場所で。
Mata aou ze, chizu ni nai basho de.
Let's meet again, in the unmapped place.

The grate escape by Cinema staff – Second ending

What's next?

The plot hides a secret that is still unknown but you might want to know that the original manga has now entered the final arch so, important truths might be unveiled very soon.
In a moment that some would call of stagnation for the Japanese animation, Shingeki no Kyojin was able to impose its originality, and Isayama created a distinctive style of his own. And this originality was rewarded with the great success in terms of fans that it had and that are still increasing.

Moreover, another good news for all affectionate fans that were kept waiting since 2013: after many denial ad postponements, 3 ova, and a lot of patience of the fans, it was finally announced that the first episode of the second season of the anime will be aired on April 1st (April's fool? Doesn't seem to be the case). The wait is over.

Fonti: Atpressgoogle

 

 

[:]