Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday In Japan...

My Wednesday post about my life in Japan...
Last year when I was visiting my family, I saw this poster for the Nakizumo Festival.
Ok, Sumo wrestlers holding babies dressed up as Sumos ? I found it is called Natizumo or The Crying Baby Festival. A Japanese proverb is "a crying baby grows fast" or "a crying baby is a healthy baby".
Younger Sumo in training or sometimes father dressed up in Sumo outfits hold the babies in a face-off and the first baby who cries is the winner. When the babies don't cry the judges will cry Naki Naki Naki which means cry cry cry or bring out an ogre mask, which usually does the trick. The baby is held up high so the cries are closer to heaven so the Gods will bless the baby.
All over Japan these Nakizumo Festival are held to help drive Evil Spirits away. As a Mum I am not sure how to view making your baby cry but as it is just for a one time only and babies seem to cry a lot in the early months of their life, who am I to say an over 400 year old Japanese tradition is wrong. Everyone seems to have fun, smiles and laughter everywhere, food stalls, people cooing over all the babies in the match or not, it seems just another way to for the neighborhood to go to the Temple and celebrate.

Oops... all photos from last Wednesday post and today's have been taken by fabulous Daughter mollybot.
tears. . . parsnip
music. . . On A Clear Day, Kiki's Delivery Service, OST
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  1. very interesting. i've never seen sumo before. just on tv.

    smiles, bee

  2. One of those festivals was featured in a recent documentary on Japan over here. Brilliant bit where a mother confessed to pinching her baby to 'help' him! He was the most placid child ever.

  3. Empress Bee...
    I rally like Sumo wrestling. So interesting and the robes the judges wear are so beautiful.

    I have seen photos of the crying babies and I must say even though it tugs at my heart, they are so cute. Many of the babies don't cry and laugh instead.

  4. Hello:
    Like you, we find it rather strange that anyone, for whatever reason, should be encouraging a baby to cry other than, of course, at the point of birth. But this tradition belongs to another country and culture and to know of it, if not necessarily to understand it, makes us all the richer.

  5. Oh, though not precisely what you were writing about, you hit one of my triggers. We tried to make a child for 20 years. Literally. Maybe about $100K of our own money added to what Blue Cross threw at fertility treatment. We gave up, with regret, when I was in my late 30s. She materialized when I neared 40 years of age. I have always claimed, out loud: "I waited the longest, I got the best one." She never had to cry very long for very much. It is my pleasure to have participated in giving life to this extraordinary human. A little different spin on "mommy-ism". Though I can do that, just a little, too. god love you, 'snip. You made me sentimental.

  6. I had a crying baby for the first four months and so far - touch wood - he has been very healthy, with grown up children of his own:)

  7. I'd have a problem with making babies cry, too.

    But I love your posts. I learn so much about Japan that I didn't know. Thank you!

  8. I agree with you Parsnip - every country has its traditions and who are we, as outsiders, to say that they are wrong unless cruelty is involved (I believe somewhere in Spain they used to throw a live goat off a roof for some festival).

  9. Not sure I feel about this "sport". Is it cruel to make babies cry? Anybody who's ever been around a baby know that they cry anyway. I sometimes wonder if they don't actually enjoy it.

    Interesting that the baby who cries first wins. You'd think it'd be the other way around. I'm always reading that the Japanese frown upon open displays of emotion. This contest would seem to prove that wrong.