JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Most viewed - Battle of Sekigahara Festival 2008 関ヶ原合戦祭り
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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.542 views
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Plastic samurai armor240 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.237 views
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Water tower painted in Sekigahara motif.234 views
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A woman samurai222 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara Festival, 2008205 views
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I caught one. Pure mochi (no adzuki bean paste inside). It was a very impressive and enjoyable festival.205 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu retainer at the Battle of Sekigahara Festival, 2008193 views
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Fierce samurai174 views
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The finale was the throwing of mochi.163 views
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Ishida Mitsunari157 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu at Sasaoyama.152 views
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A few matchlock gun battalions gathered on the Sasaoyama stage.145 views
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Load, get ready, and...135 views
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Ieyasu retainer125 views
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This man wore authentic samurai armor, over a century old, made of metal. A family heirloom.124 views
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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.121 views
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Ishida Mitsunari loses the battle, and is executed.120 views
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And Tokugawa Ieyasu.119 views
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At 11 am, the gun battalions arrived.116 views
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There are a number of matchlock gun battalions in Japan, and they often demonstrate the guns at festivals like this.116 views
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Mock combat with a spectator.115 views
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They are all dressed in colorful samurai armor.112 views
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This man wore newer samurai armor made of plastic.112 views
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Ishida Mitsunari111 views
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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.105 views
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Shimasako-nyan, a cat based on one of Ishida Mitsunari's retainers. しまさこにゃん105 views
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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.103 views
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Spear-wielding women warriors (with foxy makeup on).103 views
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Smoke signal on Mt. Sasaoyama. Also notice the bell on the left.102 views
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They get ready to fire their matchlock guns. (No bullets)102 views
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FIRE!! Those guns make a huge noise.102 views
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Ishida Mitsu-nyan, another cat, was the most popular.102 views
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Matchlock gun warrior101 views
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Mini banners for all the clans who battled at Sekigahara.101 views
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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.100 views
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Sword demo98 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.97 views
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Matchlock gun warrior posing for pictures.97 views
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Ishida Mitsu-nyan and his calligraphy brush97 views
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The Sekigahara samurai warriors arrived Sasaoyama at noon.97 views
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Ishida Mitsunari95 views
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The Sekigahara Ondo dance was then held. 関ヶ原音頭95 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu leaving Sasaoyama.94 views
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They fired the gun a few times.93 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu gives commands during the Battle of Sekigahara.93 views
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Ishida Mitsunari92 views
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Another lord dies in battle.92 views
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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91 views
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It was actually kind of humorous.91 views
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The battle ensues.91 views
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Ishida Mitsunari is beheaded and dies.91 views
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Monument for the decisive battle90 views
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BOOM!!!90 views
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Ishida Mitsu-nyan goods90 views
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Ishida Mitsunari90 views
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An angelic dancer then came to cover Ishida's body with a white cloth.89 views
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Great photo opp.88 views
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At around 12:30 pm, some of the samurai staged a mock battle at Sasaoyama.88 views
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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.)88 views
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Mt. Sasaoyama, the small hill that was Lord Ishida Mitsunari's base camp. Behind it is Mt. Ibuki.87 views
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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.87 views
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Execution of 87 views
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Ishida Mitsunari 全軍武者行列86 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu at Mt. Momokubari, his base camp near the Sekigahara battlefield.86 views
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Samurai lay dead.86 views
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Battle continues.86 views
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Ieyasu (left) and Mitsunari then walked toward each other and bowed to everyone together.86 views
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After the demo, they posed for pictures.85 views
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Bento box lunches named after Ieyasu and Hideyoshi. 1000 yen.85 views
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Ishida Mitsunari spotted me and my camera and posed for me. He's a friendly guy. 85 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.85 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu85 views
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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〜」85 views
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Sekigahara samurai warriors gather at Sasaoyama.84 views
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Ishida's western forces ready for battle.84 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu84 views
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View of the Sekigahara battlefield from the top of Mt. Sasaoyama.83 views
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Straw pole pieces cut by a sword.83 views
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My lord!!83 views
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Ishida Mitsunari kneeling.83 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu83 views
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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.82 views
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Ishida Mitsunari82 views
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The matchlock gun battalion arrives as well.81 views
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Food stalls80 views
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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. 80 views
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At the Monument for the decisive battle, one lord's troops give out a battle cry.80 views
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Mock battle staged during the Battle of Sekigahara Festival.80 views
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After the hour-long play ended, a photo opp for all. Mitsunari and his gang here.80 views
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Ieyasu and his gang.80 views
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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).79 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu79 views
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The troops enter town on a perfectly sunny day for a festival.79 views
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The foot of Sasaoyama is full of samurai and spectators.78 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.78 views
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Ieyasu (left) and Mitsunari bowing to everyone.78 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu kneeling.78 views
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Stone monument on the top of Sasaoyama marking Ishida Mitsunari's base camp.77 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu77 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu 77 views
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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.76 views
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Top of Mt. Sasaoyama.76 views
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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 2000.76 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu75 views
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The procession leaving Sasaoyama.75 views
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While Ishida Mitsunari was on the stage on the other side of the field.75 views
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Then Ieyasu's guns fired.75 views
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People also climbed up Mt. Sasaoyama.74 views
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Lookout deck on Mt. Sasaoyama74 views
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Ishida's guns fire first.74 views
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Tokugawa Ieyasu never engaged in actual combat.74 views
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Ishida's western forces on the left, and Ieyasu's eastern forces on the right.74 views
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The smoke from the guns.73 views
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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200873 views
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A final salute, Ishida's forces.73 views
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Head of the procession. Mt. Ibuki can be seen in the background.72 views
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Ishida's forces were on one side (seen here).72 views
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Later, Ishida came back to life as he stood up and walked. People giggled.72 views
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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.71 views
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Photo opp71 views
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Mt. Sasaoyama had a smoke signal rising.70 views
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Food and souvenir stalls at the Sasaoyama parking lot.70 views
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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).70 views
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Smoke signal on Mt. Sasaoyama.69 views
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A few spectators were on the route.69 views
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Ieyasu's eastern forces.69 views
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The matchlock gun battalions then appeared.69 views
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Foot of Mt. Sasaoyama68 views
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Climbing to the top of Mt. Sasaoyama.68 views
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Festival banner66 views
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Ishida Mitsunari acting during the Battle of Sekigahara Festival66 views
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Near the foot of Sasaoyama is this clearing used as a stage.65 views
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Foot of Mt. Sasaoyama was the other festival venue. The parking lot had food and souvenir stalls.64 views
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