Showing gratitude for our connection to the gods, the blessings of nature, and people Festival supplies bringing Japanese festivals to life

An archetypical image of a Japanese festival

 There are a number of festivals in a variety of styles all over Japan. They have their origins in prayers to the gods for security and bountiful harvests in the region. The climate in Japan varies significantly by season: it is as hot as the Middle East in summer yet as cold as Northern Europe in winter. In addition, natural disasters, such as floods and typhoons, as well as unexpected earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, often threaten people's daily life. Having developed as an agrarian people growing mainly rice, a crop that is highly vulnerable to weather, Japanese created many gods, "Yao-yorozu-no Kami," whom they pray to for successful harvests. Japanese believed gods live in every natural object and natural phenomenon, including the sun and the moon as well as rivers, mountains, rocks, trees, the earth, fire, wind, and lightning. This brought about many gods and prayers all over Japan. Japanese viewed favourable weather for crops as the "beneficence of the gods", while natural disasters were seen as evidence of "anger of the gods". They prayed for good harvests, as the seasons and required farm work changed, to express gratitude to the gods and show their respect.
 Shrines dedicated to the gods, as well as Buddhist temples built throughout Japan, took on the role of meeting places for local communities. Festivals performed in those places played an important social function by bringing local people together through the entire process of holding the events. In this way, festivals became an important community symbol.
 As the Japanese economy developed over time, the nature of festivals diversified. Nevertheless, even today, every festival needs a mikoshi (portable shrine), musical instruments, happi coats, and other key festival supplies.

The established supplier supporting festivals in Japan

 "Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten" is located in Asakusa, a popular tourist destination in Tokyo. We have made, sold, and repaired festival supplies and Japanese musical instruments, helping to preserve the tradition of festivals, cultural events, and performing arts since the late Edo period. For about a century, we have been supplying musical instruments to the Imperial Family for their ceremonies and special events. And for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, we made a set of eight-meter-high Dadaiko drums.
 Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten is not an organization that revolves around one or two master-hands. Rather, we are a team of highly skilled craftsmen with advanced technical skills dedicated to pursuing the highest standards of quality. In terms of taiko drums, for example, we start our journey by seeking the finest quality materials. Timber sourced from the mountains of Japan is roughly fashioned into rounds (called arado) and then left to dry naturally for three to five years. Skilled artisans plane the dried wood by carefully reading the direction of the grain, then attach the naturally processed skin. It takes years of painstaking work to produce a single drum. The artisans' dedication and uncompromising attention to the detail create drums that produce a deep timbre and inspire audiences.

Japanese instruments connecting to the forests of Tokyo

 As part of our commitment to preserving and promoting Japanese festivals and traditional performing arts, Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten recently launched the Echo-Logical Taiko project to produce taiko drums using locally sourced timber from the forests of Tokyo. As people around the world start to consider the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of the world's most pressing social challenges, we are keen to showcase our own sustainable model of production here in Tokyo, raising people's attention to the environment and craftsmanship. Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten describes the project as "our way of reaffirming our commitment to nature by producing festival supplies that express gratitude for the natural world". We are also closely involved with wadaiko (Japanese drum) schools that introduce people both in Japan and overseas to the delights of wadaiko.
 Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten believes "The power of the festival to connect people and the world-class traditional performing arts are part of the unique culture that characterizes Japan." In this way, Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten is committed to preserving the hopes and aspirations of many, along with traditional Japanese craftsmanship and materials, while finding new ways to create genuine connections with nature in the Tokyo megalopolis.