Bosatsu Matsuri


Bodhisattva Festival (Bosatsu Matsuri)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Mid-Spring
***** Category: Observance


Bodhisattva Festival, Bosa Matsuri, Bosatsu Matsuri
菩薩祭 (ぼさつまつり)
Dance at the Bosa Festival, Bosatsu odori 菩薩踊 (ぼさつをどり)

Festival of the Ship's Treasures, funadama matsuri
船玉祭 (ふなだままつり)

Maso Festival 媽祖祭 (まそまつり)
..... Maso-e 媽祖會 (まそえ)


The Bosa Festival at temple Soofuku-Ji in Nagasaki

On the 23rd of March a lantern procession leads from the temple Soofuji-Ji.
Its history dates back to about 400 years, it started in 1629.
It is a lantern festival of Nagasaki 長崎ランタンフェスティバル.

This festival dates back to the Edo period, when the merchants from China were permitted to stay in Nagasaki for trade and business. The deity Maso sama 媽祖様 is venerated as a god who brings good luck for travelling ships. This day is thought to be his birthday.

A lot of food is presented to the deity, including the head of a pig and a goat.

© Mogumi PHOTO tour


Maso-do (Mazu Hall, also known as "Bosa-do 媽祖堂")
Prefecturally Designated Cultural Property

Maso, also known as the "Heavenly Empress Mother",
the Chinese protector goddess of the sea, is a syncretic deity who was originally the object of popular worship in Fujian Province in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Worship of Maso spread throughout China during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), when she was enshrined on ships carrying rice from southern China north to Beijing. During the Ming Dynasty, veneration of Maso spread through international trade to Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.

Portable shrines to Maso were also kept on Chinese ships that traded with Nagasaki, and were transferred to worship halls in the Chinese temples in Nagasaki while the ships were in port.

This ritual transfer was called the "Bosatsu age" ("raising of the bodhisattva"), and provided the occasion for a lively parade and other festivities. The original Maso Hall at Kofukuji was destroyed in the Great Nagasaki Fire of 1663 (Kanbun 3), but is thought to have been rebuilt in 1670 (Kanbun 10).

The hall's ceiling is shaped like the inverted hull of a ship, in another reference to the enshrined deity's identity as the protectress of seafarers. Maso is seated in the center of the rear of the hall, and is accompanied by numerous other deities, including the red and blue demons who stand before her. These demons, tamed by Maso, are actually the benevolent beings Senrigan and Junpuji, whose very names--literally "eyes that see a thousand leagues" and "ears that hear through the winds"--convey their powers.

The hall was built in a fundamentally Japanese architectural style, painted vermilion on the interior and exterior. Elements of "Obaku-style" architecture grace the structure, however, and are especially evident in the vaulted Obaku ceiling of the front gallery, the half-length doors, and the interior ceiling.
© www31.ocn.ne.jp/~koufukuji/

This temple Koofuku-Ji is now one of the oldest of the Obaku sect.
興福寺, 黄檗宗

© 2004 I.HATADA
Look at many more beautiful photos HERE !




Mosa Bosatsu

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Chinpun kanpun 珍紛漢紛 / 珍糞漢糞 / 陳奮翰奮
chinpunkan pun for more rhythm in the Japanses language.

陳分漢 Chinpun Kan was a common of Chinese merchants, it seems, to be heared in Nagasaki during the Edo period. It was difficult for the Japanese to pronounce, so they made it "gibberish", chinpun kanpun.
In China it is also used in this meaning, as chinputon kanputon チンプトン、カンプトン. chinputon was something you did not understand when you heared it spoken, kanputon was something you did not understand when you saw it.

Japanese also used it when making fun of the scholars of Confucianism reciting the books in Chinese. Sometimes this is written like this: チンプン漢文.

There is also the expression: tonchinkan とんちんかん, but that only reflects the sound of the smiths of old when hammering the iron in a certain rythm.

ちんぷんかんぷん の原語由来


uchikane mo chinpunkan ya Bosa matsuri

Bosa Festival -
even the prayer gongs
ring gibberish

(Tr. Gabi Greve)

the Chinese gong ringing
all Greek to me...
Bosa Festival

Tr. Keiko Izawa

chinpunkan, chinpun kanpun is a play of words with the sound of the prayer gong and the meaning of gibberish, something is all Greek to me, as explained above.
Issa has more haiku with this expression.

tsuji dangi chinpunkan mo nodoka kana

a crossroads sermon
spring peace

Issa, Tr. David Lanoue


Daruma ki ya chinpunkan o naku chidori

on Dharma's Death Day
spouting gibberish...
a plover

Issa, With a haiga by Nakamura Sakuo.

.. ... ... ... ... ..

tarai kara tarai ni utsuru chimpunkan

From washing bowl
to washing bowl my journey--
and just rigmarole!

Tr. Henderson

tarai kara tarai ni utsuru chimpunkan

from tub to tub . .
empty babble

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue, Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

ashibi taku tarai no naka mo chidori kana

. tarai 盥 - たらい tub, basin, washing bowl, wash tub .


kuko sagete kibune o yobu ya Bosa Matsuri

the matrimony vine carried away,
let us call the boat to go back home -
Bosa Festival

Matsuse Seisei 松瀬青々
(Tr. Gabi Greve)

Kuko plant, Chinese matrimony vine
The red little berries are used in Chinese Traditional Medicine.


Issa spent some time in Nagasaki in 1793, age 31.

Here is a haiga by  © Nakamura Sakuo.

kimi ga yo ya karabito mo kite toshi-gomori

Great Japan--
a foreigner also attends
the year's end service!

. . . . . . . . .......................... Renku by Sakuo

ijintachi to joya no kane kiku

with many foreigners
listen to the watch-night bell

Related words

***** Chinese Medicine (kanpo), medicine (kusuri)



sakuo said...

ちんぷんかん と鉦の音が聞こえるのは
有難う、thank you with Issa.


Gabi Greve said...

Here is Henderson's word-for-word literal translation:

tarai | kara | tarai | ni | utsuru | chimpunkan

basin | from | basin | to | shifting | jargon

And here are some other translations:

From one bath-tub
To another bath-tub,--
All stuff and nonsense.

trans. Blyth ("A History of Haiku, Volume 2")

Tub to tub
The whole journey--
Just Hub-bub!

trans. Lewis Mackenzie ("The Autumn Wind: A Selection From the Poems of Issa")

From one basin
to another--
stuff and nonsense.

trans. Yoel Hoffman ("Japanese Death Poems")

A bath when you're born,
a bath when you die,
how stupid!

trans. Robert Hass (The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, &

From infant bathtub
to burial tub changing
This utter nonsense!

trans. Earle Joshua Stone


According to Hoffman, "accounts of Issa's death do not indicate that
he wrote a death poem..." Hoffman gives the following two "held to be his death poems by popular tradition."

aa mama yo ikite mo kame no hyaku-bu ichi

What matter if I live on--
a tortoise lives
a hundred times as long.

and then "tarai kara..."

Both Lewis Mackenzie and Lanoue cite yet another haiku by Issa as
being his death poem, because it is inscribed on his gravestone in
the family burial plot:

kore ga maa tsui no sumika ka yuki go shaku

well here it is,
my final home?
five feet of snow

trans. Lanoue

Is this it, then,
My last resting place--
Five feet of snow!

trans. Mackenzie

Larry Bole