AIUEO Japanese Learning Blog Ha
This week Nezu San will teach us about Japanese Haniwa Pottery
A-I-U-E-O Blog 「は」
The time since the previous 「な」 has passed in a blur, and it is now time for the 「は」 post. (Being in charge of this blog, I am surprised at how fast one month goes by, haha.) Now then, everyone, can you predict what word I am going to choose? …「はじめまして」―Hajimemashite (Nice to meet you)? No, no, that’s too normal! 「はなみ」 ーHanami (flower viewing)? No, no, that doesn’t fit the season!
「は」－Ha (tooth)? No, no, I am currently suffering from a cavity, so I don’t want to think about teeth! …So the word that I have chosen for this post is, yes, 「はにわ」― Haniwa. Those who guessed correctly, well done!! Actually, they must be a little weird!! Hahaha.
「はにわ」－ Haniwa is unglazed pottery made in Japan’s Kofun period, from the later half of the 3rd centruy to the later half of the 6th century. They were lined in front of or around the burial mounds of the graves of influential people, and used in festivals and ceremonies. They come in various forms such as people, animals, houses, and boats, and are valuable resources for learning the lifestyle and culture of that period. For example, Haniwa in the shape of a human resemble people such as aristocrats, warriors, farmers, shrine maidens, and so on, and we can learn about each one’s occupational clothing and accessories, and possessions, etc. Also, for Haniwa in the form of a horse, as those with a higher status own more horses, more of them were created than any other animal to show the owner’s scale of influence, and displayed around around the burial mound.
Hmm, I have no interest in earthen dolls made long ago…I know you’re thinking that! No, no, Haniwa are definitely not things of the past. Actually, Haniwa’s somewhat relaxed appearances and expressions have garnered popularity, and they have stealthily become a fad as the pioneer of “mascot characters”!!
This summer, Japan’s first Haniwa popularity vote “Gunma HANI-1 (hani-wan) Grand Prix” was held in Gunma Prefecture, and voting was conducted to decide the winner out of about 100 haniwa. During the one month from July 18th, a total of 24,222 votes were made! The tentative top place as of August 17th is “the laughing haniwa,” in second place is “Gunma-chan haniwa,” in third place is “the horse rider,” and so on.
(↓This is “the laughing haniwa,” in first place)
Now then, presenting what you’ve all been waiting for, our regular quiz. Haniwa who won one of the top ten places in the popularity vote will be celebrated. Now then, what kind of celebration is that?
Now then, let me announce the answer!
The answer is “A video with singing and dancing to an original song will be made for them!”.
Ten singing and dancing haniwa…Hohoho, it will definitely be a popular video on YouTube!
Le’ts all vote for our favorite haniwa and enjoy watching them sing and dance~
About the Author: Ayana Nezu has a long history in education and training. In 2017, she joined Coto Language Academy – her first time in a Japanese Language School. She currently is based at our Azabu Japanese Club location and is recently obsessed with Rakugo.