As each new year rings in, top on my list of to-do’s is sort, collate, and archive the thousands of boxes of slides my father left for me. Today is Day One.
One tray of slides was marked Gidat Festival and the Kodak stamped date says November 1967.
I didn’t find any reference to the word Gidat but there is a famous Gion Festival every July in Kyoto but I eliminated that festival, based on how the spectators were dressed.
There’s another festival in October, the Jidai Matsuri which fits with the clothing and also the time stamp on the slides. I am going to presume the slides are indeed from the Jidai Festival, as described in Wikipedia:
The Jidai Matsuri, Festival of the Ages is a traditional Japanese festival (also called the matsuri) held on October 22 annually in Kyoto, Japan. It is one of Kyoto’s renowned three great festivals, with the other two being the Aoi Matsuri, held annually on May 15, and the Gion Matsuri, which is held annually from 17 to July 24. It is a festival enjoyed by people of all ages, participating in its historical reenactment parade dressed in authentic costumes representing various periods, and characters in Japanese feudal history.
Jidai Matsuri traces its roots with the relocation of the Japanese capital to Tokyo in 1868. This involved the relocation of the Emperor of Japan and his imperial family, the Imperial Palace and thousands of government officials and subjects to the city. Fearing for Kyoto’s loss in glory and interest by her people, the city government and the Kyoto Prefectural Government commemorated the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Heian-kyō (平安京) which was the former name of Kyoto, in 794 by Emperor Kammu (桓武天皇 Kanmu-tennō) (737 – 806). To inaugurate the first Jidai celebration in 1895, the city government built the Heian Shrine (平安神宮 Heian jingū) to enshrine the spirit of Emperor Kanmu. To add meaning to the festival, it staged a costume procession representing people of each era in Kyoto history. In 1940, the local government decided that on top of honouring Emperor Kammu, the Jidai festival was also to be held in honour of Emperor Kōmei (孝明天皇 Kōmei-tennō) (July 22, 1831 – January 30, 1867) for his work in unifying the country, the power of the imperial court and the affirmation of Kyoto as the center of Japan at the decline of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Edo Era.
The photos are quite extraordinary, not just the vibrant and historical costumes, but from the perspective of the traditions of Japan and the respect they show their elders. Good eye, Dad! And even more impressive is the Kodachrome color that still jumps off the page on slides so old.
Click the first image to open a slideshow in which each photo is enlarged.