120-year-old Japanese Children's Shrine gifted to Hamilton
5 June 2012
A 120-year-old Japanese Children’s Shrine, or Mikoshi, was gifted to Hamilton by its sister city Saitama during a civic ceremony in Hamilton on Saturday, 2 June and accepted by Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker on behalf of the city.
The gifting came about after Hamilton resident Takashi Shinohara, formally of Saitama, built a Children’s Shrine for the city’s Indigo Festival last year. While that shrine fulfilled its purpose Mr Shinohara wanted a better shrine that could be used for any of Hamilton’s festivals or events. During a visit to Japan, Mr Shinohara mentioned this to friends and word spread. When a Children’s Shrine was uncovered in storage in Saitama, where it had been for more than 30 years, it was decided it should be gifted to Hamilton for this purpose.
Mayor Hardaker says it is an honour to accept the gift on behalf of Hamilton.
“This Children's Shrine is a very special gift from our sister city Saitama. It will enable our Japanese community to celebrate their culture right here in Hamilton and for all of us to share in those festivities. I feel very honoured to be receiving this gift on behalf of the city and it further strengthens the special relationship between Hamilton and Saitama city.”
Mr Shinohara says “The gifting is the result of good heartedness between the people of Saitama and Hamilton. Now Hamilton has its own Mikoshi that carries the symbol of world peace. Thank you to all the people who supported this dream.”
Children’s Shrines are typically carried and used in festivals in Japan. They are believed to elevate spirits of gods and used to wish for things such as a good harvest or catch of fish, a good birth or happiness. Every festival in Japan has a theme to celebrate or wish for, and every Mikoshi has its representative meaning.
The Children’s Shrine gifted to Hamilton is a small version of a Shinto Shrine and symbolises world peace and happiness. It was built in 1892 by one of the most famous Mikoshi companies, Miyamoto Unosuke Co. in Tokyo.
The sister city relationship between Hamilton and Saitama was formalised on 14 May 1984, with the primary focus of fostering and enhancing economic development and education opportunities, cultural ties and sporting contacts and exchanges.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
NAME: Julie Hardaker
DESIGNATION: Hamilton Mayor
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Name: Kylee Boswell
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