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Remnants of the Past

The history of Tsushima’s ancient fortress

Events | Kabuki | Driving in Japan | Glover nagazasshi │ March/April 2012


nagazasshi Volume 5 Issue 6 May/June 2013

Editor-in-chief Audrey Akcasu

Deputy Editor Qi Yang

Assistant Editors Raymond Arcega Katelyn Schwartz

Copy Editor Rosario Paz

Magazine Manager Kim Durinick

Layout and Design Douglas Bonham


Jon Arnouts Hannah Conklin Matther Jones Keith Lauher Carter Scott Genevieve Seah Tsushima City Board of Education


Andrew Morris Matthew Nelson www.nagazasshi.com


Cover photo: Kaneda Fortress, Carter Scott


ast month we focused on cherry blossoms, ephemerality, and April signifying the beginning of new life. With the new fiscal year in full swing, the Nagazasshi staff will have a change of our own. As summer approaches, we must say goodbye to some of our staff members and contributors who have graciously volunteered their time. Although we’ll miss them, we share their excitement as they head off to pursue new adventures. If you’re looking for a lower-key adventure of your own, Nagasaki has some great and easily accessible islands that are home to beautiful nature. In this issue we feature the least visited, but perhaps the most underrated island, Tsushima (pg 12). The other islands also have early-summer events you don’t want to miss (pg 4). Understandably, you may not feel like going outside in June for fear of getting drenched by rain. Why not pass the time by watching some traditional theater (pg 6)? If that’s not enough and the rain clouds are making you feel too gloomy, read some haiku poems about the rainy season (pg 18) and realize that you’re not alone. Try to remember the good things the rain will bring, not just the mold and humidity. Think of the green trees, beautiful flowers and gushing waterfalls. Soon enough the rain will pass and you can enjoy all of the splendors of summer.

Audrey Akcasu, Editor-in-chief I want to give a special thanks to Kim, Ray, Rosario, Katelyn and Hannah. お疲れ様でした。 March/April 2012 │ nagazasshi

Contents Events




Taking the Gloves off


Remnants of the Past


Get Your Motor Running


Nagazasshi Poetry Contest


Kanji of the Month



Third in the series on Japan’s traditional theater photo flickr.com/jfchenier/

A primer on Thomas Glover

Tsushima’s ancient Kaneda Fortress Tips and tricks for passing the Japanese driver’s license test

Our contest winners revealed!

10 photo Jon Arnouts

photo Carter Scott


nagazasshi | May/June 2013


Event of the Month

Iki Cycling Festival June 9, Iki City Want to see the beautiful scenery and beaches on Iki? Need some exercise? Kill two birds with one stone with this bike challenge. Adults can choose from a 50 km or 30 km course, while kids have an 8 km course.

Events Hasami Pottery Festival April 29-May 5, Hasami Head to Hasami for the prefecture’s biggest porcelain market. You can get the famous pottery for once-a-year low prices and also try out a pottery wheel or pottery painting. Most stores offer a discount if you bring old pottery to exchange. Don’t miss the Hasami-themed photo contest either! Melon Festival May 5-6, Matsuura Have you ever had Matsuura’s famous Kinsho melon? Now’s your chance. At this two-day festival you can not only buy melons and get them delivered to your home, but you can even buy seeds to grow your own. Haiki Tea Market May 7-9, 17-19, 27-29, June 7-9 Four hundred years ago a tea market was started in Haiki. Growing popular through the years, it attracted over 600 merchant ships at a time. This market is said to have set the price for tea for all of Kyushu. Tsuyoshi Chaichi Market May 24-26, Tsuyoshi, Hirado If you’re looking for a nice weekend event, take this great chance to enjoy local Hirado products and festivities. Miyama Kirishima Mid May-Late May, Unzen Spring is the season of flowers. Head to Unzen to see the famous Azalea that frost the mountain-sides with pinks and purples. nagazasshi | May/June 2013

Nagasaki Hydrangea Festival May 25-June 16, Nagasaki City Head to Siebold University, Glover Garden, Dejima and a variety of other areas throughout Nagasaki City to view over 5,000 hydrangea plants with an array of colors. The 11th Goto Firefly Festival May 25-June 16, Shinkamigoto Experience one of the most enchanting night events with food stalls, friends and, of course, thousands of dazzling fireflies--a summertime must-see. Omura Iris Festival June 3, Omura At the tail-end of the Omura flower festival, which runs through June 20, Omura Park presents traditional folk dances and over 300,000 Japanese irises. Goto International Triathlon June 23, Fukue, Goto One of Nagasaki’s biggest events, this triathlon attracts athletes and fans from all over the world. If you’re not a sportsman yourself, it’s still a great event to check out.


Japan’s Traditional Performance Arts

photo flickr.com/ggladman/

Genevieve Seah’s third entry on Japan’s longstanding theatrical history


abuki is one of Japan’s three major classical theaters, along with Noh and Bunraku. As the origin of the term Kabuki (meaning to “be eccentric or extraordinary”), and its modern interpretation (ka signifying “song”; bu, “dance”; and ki “skill”) suggest, it is a stylized form of theater involving music, dance and drama, all performed with extravagant showmanship. The elaborate costumes, striking make-up, outlandish wigs and, most importantly, the


exaggerated actions performed by the actors, are what capture the imagination of the audience. It has been kept alive through five centuries, making it arguably the most popular form of Japanese traditional theater. Despite the one significant characteristic of Kabuki being the lack of female actresses, the theater was created by a woman. In 1603, a woman by the name of Izumo no Okuni began performing a new style of dance-infused drama in Kyoto. The unconventional dances became extremely popular and evolved into a form of erotic entertainment popular in red-light districts, with the May/June 2013 | nagazasshi

歌舞伎 Kabuki performers themselves often available for prostitution.

mainly on actors, Bunraku’s creativity and dramatic stories appealed to the audiences. To regain popularity, Kabuki began to borrow from Bunraku and many of the puppet theater’s popular works were adapted and performed on the Kabuki stage. Today, almost all traditional Kabuki plays can trace their origins from Bunraku.

舞 台 芸 術

Fearing social demoralization, the government banned women from performing, making way for young male dancers to take their place. The young boys were typically effeminate and beautiful, and were just as available for prostitution as their female predecessors. In 1652, the government banned young men from dancing as well - it became very common for brawls to break out at performances over the favors of a dancer. Although the prohibitions were rescinded in 1652, the all-male form became one of the defining characteristics of modern Kabuki.

Despite its disreputable past, Kabuki came into its own during its “Golden Age,” which lasted from 1673 to 1841. The structure of the dances and plays were formalized, as were many defining elements, such as conventional character archetypes, significant poses and the theater’s unique make-up, which covers actors’ faces like a mask. Kabuki also began to portray itself as a form of accumulative theater during this time. It incorporated elements from other preceding theater forms, such as the comical interludes (kyogen) from Noh drama. Kabuki was also heavily influenced by the puppet theater, Bunraku, which overtook it in popularity in the 17th century. Unlike Kabuki, which focuses nagazasshi | May/June 2013

Kabuki is a performance art heavily centered on personality, as demonstrated by the audience’s infatuation with performers in the theater’s nascent days and the focus on the performer rather than the drama. During the Edo period, the masses were attracted to Kabuki theaters because they provided entertainment with new music, the latest fashion trends and famous actors. The teahouses located around the theaters profited by providing meals and refreshments to theater-goers and shops sold Kabuki souvenirs, such as portraits and cloth face prints of actors. The cult of personality continues into modern Kabuki, which has flourished in the past 20 years thanks to talented performers who have experienced immense popularity with the public. However, it is also a double-edged sword. The recent deaths of two celebrated Kabuki actors, Ichikawa Danjuro XII and Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, dealt a heavy blow to the art and left many questioning the


Minami-za in Kyoto, believed to be the birthplace of Kabuki theater

photo flickr.com/jpellgen/

future of Kabuki. With the departure of these two actors and the foreseeable passing of other influential actors who are already in their 60s and 70s, the pressing concern is whether the younger generation of actors can rise to the occasion and take over the reins from their predecessors. Even though there are a few talented performers, many of these young actors are not well-known to the public. In light of recent affairs, the opening of the newly renovated Kabuki-za theater in Tokyo could provide the best opportunity for younger actors to showcase their skills and prove their worth. As part of a year-long event to celebrate its reopening, Kabuki-za will feature younger actors in three months of performances from July to September. Other theaters will also hold performances featuring Kabuki stars in their 20s and 30s playing lead roles.


Though Kabuki is considered a traditional art form, it survives through the centuries by being an accumulative art. It holds on to traditions while experimenting with new ideas. For many years, Kabuki actors had injected life into the centuries-old art by fusing it with other genres, such as opera, taiko and other modern theaters. Many Kabuki actors, such as Ichikawa Ebizo, have starred in successful films, helping bring Kabuki to a wider and younger audience. Generations of Kabuki actors have come and gone, but the art has managed to survive to present day. Kabuki is now once more at a generational crossroad, and it is up to the younger actors to build upon what their predecessors have left them and pass it to the next generation. n

May/June 2013 | nagazasshi


Let’s study


the most effective way!

nagazasshi | | March/April January/February nagazasshi 2013 2013

Instructor Kiyoko Hayashi

2-19-22 Haiki Sasebo City Nagasaki


kuumons@ mtf.biglobe.ne.jp


Taking the

Gloves off

Ever wonder who’s behind Glover Garden? Matthew Jones reveals the man behind the scene


ears ago, we did not have science; the world of intellectuals was dominated by alchemists. Every alchemist would always keep everything they learned to themselves. This meant that no other alchemist could benefit from what their peers had learned, and that alchemists had to discover for themselves, usually the hard way, that drinking mercury is a bad idea. That is, until The Enlightenment, when information began to be shared freely.

After the re-opening of Japan in 1853, there was a surge in the number of western intellectuals who flocked to Japan with the intention of sharing and obtaining information. One of these intellectuals made his presence known in Japan via Nagasaki. This figure is credited with a wealth of accomplishments. These range from founding companies, to bringing Japan into the modern industrial era and even assisting in the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate. This man is not only well-known across Japan, but his legacy still resonates


amongst the industrial movers and shakers here. He is particularly famous in Nagasaki, memorialized through having his residence turned into a historical museum. We are, of course, talking about Thomas Blake Glover, born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1838. As the son of a coast-guard officer, Glover progressed through school and began working with a trading company early in his life. Glover began working with the Jardine Matheson Trading Company and in 1859 he arrived in Nagasaki to continue his employment. Glover’s business acumen quickly revealed itself and within three years he founded his own firm, Glover Trading Company in Nagasaki. During the 1860s, he sold guns and military supplies to the rebellious Chōshū, Satsuma and Tosa clans. These clans later became powerful forces during the Meiji Restoration. As Glover had provided them with assistance, he received favorable treatment under their rule. Later, in 1869, he commissioned the first modern warship for the Japanese Navy. He was also responsible for the development of Japan’s first dry dock, which allowed May/June 2013 | nagazasshi

photo Jon Arnouts

for large-scale naval development for both military and civil use. As Japan is not only an island nation, but a collection of islands, these modern ships helped to spread industrialization, as well as the fruits of this industrialization, to all corners of Japan. Glover also brought the first steam locomotive to Japan. He installed the locomotive in the ĹŒura district in Nagasaki. The impressiveness of these modern technologies won over many Japanese traditionalists and began a chain reaction of modernization in Japan. His other accomplishments are varied in the extreme: he founded a shipbuilding company that later became the Mitsubishi Corporation, a corporation that today is nagazasshi | May/June 2013

synonymous with Japanese industry. He even had a hand in establishing the Kirin Brewery Company. Glover married a Japanese woman named Awajiya Tsuru. Together, they had a daughter, whom they named Hana. The couple also adopted a BritishJapanese boy, whom they named Guraba Tomisaburo. Glover was a man who came from very little and rose to become perhaps the most important figure in creating a modern, industrial Japan. In recognition of his industrial accomplishments, as well as his earlier assistance with the rebellion, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun at his death in 1911. n


Remnants of the Past Carter Scott explains the centuries-old history of an ancient fortress on Tsushima A young soldier stands on top of a mountain. He looks out to the north across Tsushima’s Aso Bay, searching for smoke from a signal fire warning of a possible invasion from the continent. As the cold wind blows in his face, he clutches his onjaku, a warming stone that served as the ancient version of today’s kairo. He is a sakimori (防人) – a soldier garrisoned at strategic points in and around Kyushu starting in the 7th century. Sakimori were often stationed in mountain castles, and the front-line defense against an invasion from the continent was Tsushima’s Kaneda Fortress. In the year 660, Yamato Japan’s Korean ally, the kingdom of Baekje, was conquered by their rival Korean kingdom, Silla, with the help of Tang


China. Not yet ready to admit defeat, Baekje supporters embarked on an effort to regain their kingdom and called on Yamato to provide military aid. Yamato’s rulers answered the call and sent a sizable force of around 40,000 men. In August of 663, the Yamato forces clashed with a much smaller Tang Dynasty army at the Battle of Baekgang. The battle proved disastrous for the Japanese. Despite much smaller numbers, the Tang forces used superior weapons, tactics, and training to rout the Yamato army and ended Japanese military involvement overseas for nearly a millennium. Scholars still debate exactly why the Yamato kingdom chose to reinforce Baekje and fight in a battle with seemingly no implication on its own territory, but some evidence suggests that the ruling families of each kingdom may have been related to each other. Regardless of why Yamato chose to participate in the battle, the young May/June 2013 | nagazasshi

photo Carter Scott

Kaneda Fortress’s first gate towers over the trail below

Tsushima’s proximity to the continent made it a key lynchpin for Yamato’s national defense.

kingdom’s defeat triggered grave fears of an invasion by Tang and Silla. Thus the Yamato kingdom commissioned the construction of Kaneda and other mountain castles around western Japan. According to the Nihon Shoki (“Chronicles of Japan”), construction on Kaneda Fortress (金田城) began in 667. The stone walls that are the main remnant of the fortress are Korean in style, suggesting the direct involvement of Baekje refugees who fled to nagazasshi | May/June 2013

Japan. Tsushima’s proximity to the continent made it a key lynchpin for Yamato’s national defense. In his book, Japanese Castles AD 250-1540, historian Stephen Turnbull writes that Kaneda “was clearly intended to provide Japan’s ‘early warning system’.” Over 13 centuries after they were built, sites like Kaneda still attract considerable interest from academics. The Ancient Mountain Castle Summit (古代山城サミット) gathers scholars and others interested to raise awareness and discuss how to best preserve and restore these important relics. Tsushima hosted the third such summit last year, which featured a Kane-


photo Carter Scott

The impressive view from the top of the aptly named Castle Mountain (城山) is a gratifying reward for the hike da-themed performance by a local elementary school, a panel discussion with expert scholars, and an organized tour of the ruins. In preparation for the event, Tsushima city created a mascot for Kaneda and published a new brochure available to visitors to the ruins. The mascot character, Onjya-kun (オンジャくん), is based on the onjaku. The hand-warming stones were likely used by sakimori in many places, but those found at Kaneda are believed to be the oldest yet discovered. By car, Kaneda Fortress is located about 15 minutes from Tsushima


Yamaneko Airport and 25 minutes from Izuhara port. The ruins are easy to find thanks to a new bilingual sign installed last year, but the road leading to them is narrow enough in some spots to cause quite the predicament if two cars approach from opposite directions. Though none of the original buildings remain, significant portions of the original stone walls and three gates remain and form the basis for the hiking trails. At certain points, including the supposed locations of watchtowers and living quarters, structures have been built to replicate the original dimensions May/June 2013 | nagazasshi

Onjaku and Onjya-kun Do you have a kairo in your pocket in the wintertime? The ancient onjaku stones (above) were like that. A string was run through the hole and the stone warmed in water over a fire. Sakimori then wore the onjaku around their necks. Based on the onjaku, Onjyakun (below) was created by designer Maya Murata in 2012 to promote the Ancient Mountain Castle Summit. Photos courtesy Tsushima City Board of Education

based on archaeological evidence. Plaques with Japanese, Korean, and English explanations mark these sites and others along the trail. The hike up the 276-meter high mountain is fairly straightforward and not overly strenuous. Near the summit are the remains of a gun battery built by the Japanese military around 1900, one of many built on Tsushima during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Another portion of the path continues along the stone wall and eventually reaches a seemingly ancient port and shrine at the bottom of the northern slope. A series of stunning views of nagazasshi | May/June 2013

the bays that wrap around the peninsula where Kaneda is located also await visitors. There is no cost to explore the fortress area, and a leisurely hike around the stone wall perimeter takes approximately two and a half hours. For the more aquatically inclined visitor, sea kayak tours of the area are available if somewhat expensive, running around 6500 yen. n For more information about Tsushima, visit the city’s official English facebook page: www.facebook.com/TsushimaIsland


Get your motor Keith Lauher takes us through the twists and turns of the Japanese Driver’s License exam


ith your international Driving Permit about to expire and faced with the imminent reality of being shipwrecked, marooned, alone and abandoned in the obscure and remote wilderness of Nagasaki, training for the “behind-the-wheel” portion of the Japanese driver’s license exam can be a daunting task. Combined with the excessive cost of the exam and the need to use precious vacation

Training for the behind-the-wheel portion of the Japanese driver’s license exam can be a daunting task

days, it’s of paramount importance to pass within the first few attempts. And don’t forget to plan ahead -- get a translation of your license from the JAF, and schedule your first test at the Omura License Center ahead of time. Ready? Here are some tips to maximize your passing potential: 1. Go to 太陽自動車教習所 (taiyou jidousha kyoushuu sho) in Omura

For only 4400 yen, you will get a 50-minute private driving lesson with an experienced instructor on a course that mirrors the actual one. They will also provide a map of the actual driving course with each turn and section labeled. This experience alone, which specifies each little detail, is worth the money, but the school will also provide a certificate of completion that is meant for the actual exam proctor. Besides instant “brownie points,” if you fail the exam the proctor will write specific mistakes on the certificate so you can go back and practice with the instructor again. Pure gold. (http://www.taiyo-ds.com)


photo flickr.com/thomashawk/

May/June 2013 | nagazasshi

running 2. Get there early You have to take a day of vacation anyway, so get there at least an hour early. Being early shows that you are serious about passing the test and respect the process, something extremely important in Japanese culture. 3. Dress nicely and smile a lot Wearing a suit may be excessive, but please do look nice. Again, this test is all about showing you respect the institution, the culture behind it, and, most of all, their time. 4. Remember to say “Please” and “Thank you” The more polite you are the easier the test will be. The more Japanese you use (even if it’s horrible) the more comfortable the proctor will be and the more likely you will be to pass the exam. (DO say yoroshiku onegaishimasu when getting into the car). In all honesty, the behind-the-wheel test is less about your actual ability to drive and more about your ability to follow directions and pay attention to details. If you approach taking the test in this manner your chances of passing the exam will greatly increase, your ego will appropriately be inversely affected, and the horror of an immobile future in Japan will expire along with your International Driving Permit. n

nagazasshi | May/June 2013

Nagazasshi Haiku Contest 2013


ast month, Nagazasshi hosted our first poetry contest. The theme was haiku about rainy season. We got some really great entries, but we could only choose three winners in each category. Thank you to all the participants. Now, onto the winners…



On top of my umbrella I can hear drums The sound of rainy season

On a rainy day Under one small umbrella I’m in love with you

傘の上 太鼓が聞こえる 梅雨の音

-Keigo Miyaji, 17 Sasebo Minami High School

-Sarah Kniss

Look out the window Frog has a green umbrella It is a small leaf

In this downpour Wonder if that hydrangea also Needs an umbrella

-Mizuki Hashimoto, 15 Sasebo Minami High School

大雨に あじさいも傘が ほしいかな

This dark cloudy day I caught a glimpse of the sun that is your smile there

-Michael Palmer

-Taihei Miyazaki, 17 Kunimi High School

South winds, moist air: rain Wet shoes, damp floors, misery Insects, flowers, life. -洋


Thank you again to all participants! If you didn’t get a chance to partake this time, keep your eyes open for the next contest, we’d love to see what you’ve got! n May/June 2013 | nagazasshi

nagazasshi | March/April 2013


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International beers and specialty margaritas


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Nagazasshi 5.6  

In this issue, we have a feature on the history of an ancient castle on Tsushima and on Thomas Glover (seperately!), tips and tricks for pas...

Nagazasshi 5.6  

In this issue, we have a feature on the history of an ancient castle on Tsushima and on Thomas Glover (seperately!), tips and tricks for pas...