- 東南アジア研究 (ISSN:05638682)
- vol.18, no.2, pp.315-332, 1980 (Released:2018-06-02)
Every seven years the Onbashira Matsuri (pillar festival) is held at Suwa shrine. The main event is the dragging of the Onbashira , a great log weighing 11 tons, from a mountain some 15 kilometres away to the shrine. The dragging of the Onbashira by thousands of people is a powerful attraction both to tourists and local people alike. The festival is divided into two parts, first, called Maebiki , being the procession from the mountain to the village, and the second, Satobiki , the journey from the village to the shrine. Between the two parts there is a month's intermission, Maebiki taking place in April and Satobiki in May. The former is characterized by its masculinity, as young men proudly ride the Onbashira as it is dragged through the crowd. Satobiki , on the other hand, involves gay processions, with groups of masked people and a feudal lord's procession adding to the cheerful atmosphere. During Satobiki people are freed from their everyday activities and jobs, so that they may enjoy along with visitors all there is to see. The social norm is reversed at this time as economy gives way to extravagance. With the planting of the Onbashira in a ritual performed by priests, the festival ends and everyone returns home and resumes normal life. They have, however, been vitalized by the excitement of the festival. In consequence, the Onbashira Matsuri can be interpreted as a renovation of life through a pillar which is believed to be the symbol of a supernatural power.