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Celebrate Ooka in Chigasaki

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Stories of Ooka Tadasuke (1677-1751) have been passed down through generations.

He was also known as Ooka Echizen, the governor of the province of Echizen, which was located in present-day Fukui Prefecture. At that time, he served under the eighth Tokugawa shogun, Yoshimune.

A lot of what’s known about Ooka comes from his role as a highly respected judge, who had a reputation for being fair and incorruptible. One story has him faced with a poor student who was accused of stealing the smell of food from an innkeeper, to which Ooka ordered the student to jingle money between his hands — to pay with the sound of money.

This weekend, residents and visitors to Chigasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, will be able to celebrate the wise judge at the Ooka Echizen Festival, which will be held near the city’s main train station.

The festival will start with a Japanese archery competition at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and feature performances by local orchestras, bands, dancers and more.

Visitors will also be treated to the first gifts of spring, with ikebana (flower arrangements), bonsai trees and market stalls serving local delicacies.

The main attraction of the event, however, will be a grand costume parade on the second day that will feature people dressed as Ooka and other historical figures marching through the streets near Chigasaki Station.

Those wishing to take a more active role in the weekend can participate in futsal and other games.

The Ooka Echizen Fesetival takes place at several locations near JR Chigasaki Station in Chigasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, on April 19 and 20 (9 a.m. and 10 a.m. start respectively). For more information, call 0467-84-0377 or visit www.chigasaki-kankou.org/event/festival01/index.html (in Japanese).