ブログ02082015

Festival ≪ OBAKE at Setsubun night??≫

* OBAKE… rather comical ghost and spook.

Hello this is Myako.

According to Japanese traditional calendar,there is another new year at 4th of February which is called ‘Risshun’.
Since that reason, some people have Japanese Soba around the date of ‘Risshun’.( Generally we have Japanese Soba at 31st of December night, right before new year.)
Actually there are some Japanese Soba street stall in Kyoto around Setsubun.

Today I would like to share interesting legend about ‘Setsubun’.
Since New Year,it is saying that the direction of Gods stay has changed and so Gods are moving at Setubun day. Then Gods are so busy that they cannot pay attention well so devils begin to act violently in town.

To protect themselves from these Devils, all female in town wear costume to pretend someone else on Setsubun period…
When Devis try to get closer to beautiful girls, they all wear something different from usual then Devils are confused and go away..
And all people who wear costumes are called ‘OBAKE’.
But why ‘OBAKE’(Ghost)??

Well, nowdays ‘OBAKE’of Hanamachi wear various costumes and entertain tourist but in old days many girls in town were so poor. They did not have enough cloths, all they could do is changing their hair style.
Young girls changed their hair to married status hair style and married changed to young girl’s hair style…

So people call this custom ‘OBAKE’ it is because there is a Chinese character which means’change hair style’ and are pronounced ‘OBAKE’.

Now days in Hanamachi, only Geiko is allowed to go to Ozashiki with ‘OBAKE’(different hair style). however there are some Maiko who do ‘OBAKE’ as well. please take a look of the photo below.
Her normal hair style,’OFUKU’, is in little box left down. Can you see the differences?

Even though there are many various views of ‘OBAKE’tradition, people in Hanamachi keep following it for long time.
Hope they will inherit the traditional event ‘OBAKE of Hanamachi’..


Thank you,

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  • 月刊京の舞妓さん
  • 舞妓倶楽部 はんなりだより