Japanese Culture to Appreciate Full-Moon (Otsukimi) & Kagoshima’s Unique Custom

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※地元・鹿児島県民の筆者がこの記事を書いています。

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Japanese Appreciate Full-Moon

In Japan, people have a custom to appreciate the full-moon at night.

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This custom Otsukimi, which literally means “moon viewing appreciation” is celebrated on 15 August of lunar calendar. The day is called “Jugoya” in Japanese. In 2015, the day is celebrated on 27 September. Generally speaking, Japanese people decorate Japanese pampas grass and rice dumplings at their house.

 

Main decoration – Japanese pampas grass and rice dumplings –

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According to the Shinto (Japanese indiginious reliciou), Japanese pampas grass is said to have the sacred power to keep away evil spirits.

 

 

Otsukimi at my Home

My old home is located at Ibusuki City, Kagoshima, Japan. Please have a look at our offerings of Otsukimi.^

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Our rice dumplings have 2 different tastes, soy-flavore (left) and red beans (right). We could not find  Japanese pampas grass this year, so we put dragon fruits, maron and persimmon which were harvested at my house. Japanese persimmon is very delicious in autumn.

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Every Japanese house has different styles of offerings.

 

Kagoshima’s Culture of Otsukimi

In my childhood, I enjoyed playing Sumo wrestling and tug-of-war with neighboring children, while appreciating the beauty of full moon.

In some parts of Kagoshima Prefecture, unique Otsukimi customs have remained.

The culture is called “OTTOI”. The word is the dialect of Kagoshima and meants “stealing”. In this culture, children visit neighbors and steal offerings. Nobody scolds children for the act. My old house prepare small bags of snacks for children at the special night every year.

Recently the number of young children decreased in Japanese rural areas and only 5 children visited our home this year. I feel a bit lonely.

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