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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: News and Current Events in Japan, Season 1 - Lesson 11, The Chichibu Night Festival and Other Aspects of Japanese Intangible Cultural Properties.
Festivals are a big part of Japan’s cultural heritage, and UNESCO has designated various festivals and crafts as intangible cultural properties.
In this lesson, we'll learn about this news story.

Lesson focus

The Saitama prefecture’s Chichibu festival is held every three years on December 2nd at the Chichibu Shrine.
Four festival floats, decorated with luxurious sculptures and two Kasaboko (ritual ornamental umbrellas carried on floats) were designated important tangible cultural assets of national folklore. Also, the Kagura (ancient Shinto dance) and the Kabuki performed on the festival floats were designated important intangible cultural properties; when considering Japanese culture, they are very valuable.
The Mountain, Sword, and Float festivals (also known as the “Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals”) consist of 33 festivals in 18 prefectures, such as the Chichibu Festival Float Festival and Kagura and the Kawagoe Hikawa Festival's Float Event; it was registered as part of UNESCO's intangible cultural properties in December, 2016.
Including the Noh plays, Kabuki, Japanese food, and Japanese paper, Japan now boasts 21 intangible cultural heritage properties.
In addition, the parade floats, called “Mountain, Sword, and Float,” are characterized by gorgeous decorations. The “Mountain, Sword and Float” represent a divine spirit at the festival and is built to welcome and take care of a “God.”
Traditional Japanese techniques that have been handed down over the years have been used to make these crafts.
Along with the high level of technical skill required, these traditional technologies also include knowledge of how to use the region’s natural environment in a sustainable manner. These points are also considered part of their value.
In festival events that have been handed down for generations, the unity of the community is indispensable, and festivals function as a place to further encourage a sense of community.
It can be said that these festivals have been able to remain until today due to the wisdom and technology inherited from previous generations and the fact that regional ties are strengthened by festivals.
These points were evaluated and led to their official designation as intangible cultural properties.


Those are the key facts about the the Chichibu Night Festival and other aspects of Japanese intangible cultural properties.
If you want to find the related keywords, make sure to check out the lesson notes.
Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening everyone, and keep listening for more of the most talked about news stories in Japan!