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On Oct. 18-19, 2008, the town of Sekigahara held a special festival to commemorate the Battle of Sekigahara. The last time they did this was in 2000 for the 400th anniversary of the battle. The main venue was near the town hall.
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The Sekigahara Town Hall parking lots were used for flea markets, food stalls, and souvenir stands. These photos were taken on the second day of the festival when a samurai procession and mock battle were staged.
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Food stalls
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On Oct. 19 during 10 to 11 am in the Sekigahara Fureai Center Hall, a free lecture about Ishida Mitsunari was given by a Shizuoka Univ. professor. The hall was packed.
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There were two festival venues. One was at the Fureai Hiroba Square (Jinbano) and the other was at Mt. Sasaoyama. A free shuttle bus plied between the two venues, but it was short enough to walk.
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Mt. Sasaoyama, the small hill that was Lord Ishida Mitsunari's base camp. Behind it is Mt. Ibuki.
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Mt. Sasaoyama had a smoke signal rising.
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Festival banner
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Banners with the crest of Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu flank the Monument for the decisive battle, near Mt. Sasaoyama, where the fighting was the fiercest. 決戦地
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Monument for the decisive battle
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Foot of Mt. Sasaoyama was the other festival venue. The parking lot had food and souvenir stalls.
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Foot of Mt. Sasaoyama
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People also climbed up Mt. Sasaoyama.
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Smoke signal on Mt. Sasaoyama. Also notice the bell on the left.
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Smoke signal on Mt. Sasaoyama.
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Climbing to the top of Mt. Sasaoyama.
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Lookout deck on Mt. Sasaoyama
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View of the Sekigahara battlefield from the top of Mt. Sasaoyama.
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Top of Mt. Sasaoyama.
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Stone monument on the top of Sasaoyama marking Ishida Mitsunari's base camp.
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Near the foot of Sasaoyama is this clearing used as a stage.
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At 11 am, the gun battalions arrived.
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A few matchlock gun battalions gathered on the Sasaoyama stage.
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They get ready to fire their matchlock guns. (No bullets)
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They are all dressed in colorful samurai armor.
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Load, get ready, and...
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FIRE!! Those guns make a huge noise.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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BOOM!!!
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There are a number of matchlock gun battalions in Japan, and they often demonstrate the guns at festivals like this.
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A sword demonstration. He's cutting up a straw pole. That's one sharp knife. These people have licenses to carry these guns and swords.
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Matchlock gun warrior
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They fired the gun a few times.
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Sword demo
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The smoke from the guns.
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After the demo, they posed for pictures.
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Matchlock gun warrior posing for pictures.
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This man wore authentic samurai armor, over a century old, made of metal. A family heirloom.
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This man wore newer samurai armor made of plastic.
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Straw pole pieces cut by a sword.
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A few lifesize mascots walked around the foot of Sasaoyama. This is Chacha Hime, the oldest Azai sister who became Yodogimi.
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Shimasako-nyan, a cat based on one of Ishida Mitsunari's retainers. しまさこにゃん
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Ishida Mitsu-nyan, another cat, was the most popular.
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Ishida Mitsu-nyan and his calligraphy brush
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Food and souvenir stalls at the Sasaoyama parking lot.
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Bento box lunches named after Ieyasu and Hideyoshi. 1000 yen.
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Ishida Mitsu-nyan goods
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Mini banners for all the clans who battled at Sekigahara.
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The Sekigahara samurai warriors arrived Sasaoyama at noon.
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Sekigahara samurai warriors gather at Sasaoyama.
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All these samurai were gathering at Sasaoyama for a procession to the Fureai Hiroba Square where a mock battle would be staged. This is Lord Shimazu Yoshihiro.
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Ishida Mitsunari
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Ishida Mitsunari
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Ishida Mitsunari
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Great photo opp.
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And Tokugawa Ieyasu.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu at Sasaoyama.
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Mock combat with a spectator.
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At around 12:30 pm, some of the samurai staged a mock battle at Sasaoyama.
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It was actually kind of humorous.
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Ieyasu retainer
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The matchlock gun battalion arrives as well.
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The foot of Sasaoyama is full of samurai and spectators.
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Most of the forces who took part in the Battle of Sekigahara are represented. Banners with the lord's crest indicate who's who.
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Ishida Mitsunari
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After a brief ceremony, the samurai procession started to leave Sasaoyama at 1:30 pm. They headed for Jinbano (Fureai Hiroba Square).
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Ishida Mitsunari 全軍武者行列
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Ishida Mitsunari
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Tokugawa Ieyasu leaving Sasaoyama.
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At the Monument for the decisive battle, one lord's troops give out a battle cry.
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The procession leaving Sasaoyama.
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With Mt. Sasaoyama and the larger Mt. Ibuki (to which Ishida escaped after the battle) in the background, the Sekigahara samurai procession makes its way to Fureai Hiroba at the town center.
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Ishida Mitsunari
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Ishida Mitsunari spotted me and my camera and posed for me. He's a friendly guy.
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Ishida Mitsunari posing for me. He said, "You got an unusual-looking camera." (Because I was shooting both stills and video.)
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Head of the procession. Mt. Ibuki can be seen in the background.
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A few spectators were on the route.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Tokugawa Ieyasu
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The troops enter town on a perfectly sunny day for a festival.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Soon after the samurai procession arrived at Fureai Hiroba Square at 2 pm, a mock battle was staged in the form of a narrated outdoor play. It opened with a lady walking across the field. 関ヶ原合戦絵巻2008
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Tokugawa Ieyasu was on one side of the field (Mt. Momokubari). The play mainly took the viewpoint of Ishida Mitsunari. 「義の人・三成〜運命の関ヶ原決戦〜」
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While Ishida Mitsunari was on the stage on the other side of the field.
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Ishida Mitsunari acting during the Battle of Sekigahara Festival
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Ishida's forces were on one side (seen here).
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A total of about 130 actors/actresses took part, and 80 of them were recruited from all over Japan. A few were professional actors. The scale was much smaller than the 800 people recruited for the 400th anniversary in 2000.
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Ishida's western forces ready for battle.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu gives commands during the Battle of Sekigahara.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu at Mt. Momokubari, his base camp near the Sekigahara battlefield.
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The battle ensues.
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Samurai lay dead.
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Apparently they had women warriors too. Or maybe they did not have enough male actors to fit into the samurai costumes.
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The entire play was scripted and the speaking parts were prerecorded. The actors/actresses only had to move and didn't speak. They were all prompted by script prompters (seen on lower left).
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Ieyasu's eastern forces.
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The matchlock gun battalions then appeared.
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Ishida's guns fire first.
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Then Ieyasu's guns fired.
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Battle continues.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Mock battle staged during the Battle of Sekigahara Festival.
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Ishida's western forces on the left, and Ieyasu's eastern forces on the right.
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Spear-wielding women warriors (with foxy makeup on).
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Tokugawa Ieyasu never engaged in actual combat.
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Execution of
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Another lord dies in battle.
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My lord!!
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Ishida Mitsunari loses the battle, and is executed.
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Ishida Mitsunari is beheaded and dies.
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An angelic dancer then came to cover Ishida's body with a white cloth.
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Later, Ishida came back to life as he stood up and walked. People giggled.
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A final salute, Ishida's forces.
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Ishida Mitsunari kneeling.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu kneeling.
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Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Ieyasu (left) and Mitsunari then walked toward each other and bowed to everyone together.
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Ieyasu (left) and Mitsunari bowing to everyone.
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After the hour-long play ended, a photo opp for all. Mitsunari and his gang here.
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Ieyasu and his gang.
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Photo opp
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Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara Festival, 2008
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Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Tokugawa Ieyasu retainer at the Battle of Sekigahara Festival, 2008
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Fierce samurai
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A woman samurai
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Plastic samurai armor
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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The Sekigahara Ondo dance was then held. 関ヶ原音頭
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The finale was the throwing of mochi.
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I caught one. Pure mochi (no adzuki bean paste inside). It was a very impressive and enjoyable festival.
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Water tower painted in Sekigahara motif.
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