Irrigation Ceremony (minakuchi matsuri)


Field Irrigation Ceremony (minakuchi matsuri)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Late Spring
***** Category: Observance


A festival of letting the first water of the year into the fields. Farmers pray for a rich harvest to the God of the Fields (ta no kami).
At the entrance of the waterway ("water mouth" minaguchi) into the field, the earth is first heaved into a mound, which is decoraded with poles or bamboo sticks and flowers of the season. Sometimes even paper-dolls are added.
Most farming families do this on their own fields in a family tradition, but some of these ceremonies are performed at the local shrines, see below.

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Irrigation Ceremony, minakuchi matsuri
水口祭り (みなくちまつり)

Ceremony of the rice plant nursery
..... mito matsuri みと祭(みとまつり), naejiroshi 苗じるし(なえじるし)、

"rice seedlings pole" 苗棒(なえぼう)、naejaku 苗尺(なえじゃく), naemidake 苗みだけ(なえみだけ), tananboo たなん棒(たなんぼう)
A pole planted in the empty field of the seeldings, representing the God of the Rice Plants and Fields.

Seat for the God of the Fields, ta no kami no koshikake

rice seedlings festival, tane matsuri 種祭(たねまつり)
mizoguchi mizuguchi mizukuchi

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Minakuchi Festival
at the Minakuchi Shrine in Minakuchi Town, Shiga pref.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Minakuchi Matsuri in Oda City
by Mogi Sakae

On July 19 and 20, a rice-field planting festival and an irrigation festival occur at Mononobe Shrine (Mononobe jinja) in Ōda city, Shimane prefecture. After the ceremonies, horses decorated with sacred batons are led before the Ceremonial Hall (haiden). They are then led through the Ceremonial Hall where they act out field preparation work. This is called going to the sacred rice fields (mi-toshiro-kayo). There are then rice planting rites at the five related eastern shrines (massha). Irises (shōbu) representing rice seedlings are offered before the deities and rice grains are scattered.

After the chanting of ritual prayers (norito), there is a procession of musicians and shrine officials (shinshoku) and girls in the role of rice-planting maidens with their hair down wearing flower-umbrella hats and riding on the shoulders of others. The irises are thrown as the procession walks along. The worshippers scramble for the irises and then thrust them into their irrigation ditches for protection against pestilence. Formerly, local parishioners (ujiko) undertook strict fasts (monoimi).
© Kokugakuin University . Encyclopedia of Shinto

This festival would be a kigo for summer.


kinuito-no ame-ni minakuchi matsuri-keri  

OHMINE Akira 大峯あきら(1929~)

Beim Regen wie der Seidenfaden
feiert man den Wasserlauf des Reisfeldes.

(übersetzt: SATOH Kihakusoh)

Ein Fest des Reisfelds; am Eingang des Wassers betet man die gute Reisernte.

rain like silk threads
as the irrigation festival
is celebrated now

Tr. Gabi Greve


29 water inlet minaguchi

Water entrance way (behind the white pipe) of the irrigation system in the terraced rice fields of my valley
Spring 2008 in Ohaga, Japan

Gabi Greve


Here is a scene from the water irrigation entrance
at harvest time:

yoosha-naku minakuchi kitte otoshi-mizu

I ruthlessly shut
the weir for rice field
and drain the field's water

© Watanabe Harumine, 2006

* Before harvesting, small weirs are shut not to supply water to the rice field anymore. And the water that had filled the rice fields is drained from there.

Related words

***** God of the Rice Paddies (ta no kami) Japan

***** Fields, rice paddies (ta, hatake) Japan

. Japan - Shrines and Temples .


1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

norito 神詞 のりと Shinto chants, incantations and prayers
kamigoto, kamugoto 神言 / 神語 / norito 祝詞
shinpaishi, shinpaiji 神拝詞. かむおろがみのことば 神歌詞